After the recently concluded England versus West Indies series, the resumption of cricket in the post-COVID-19 era will take one step further when Pakistan begins their three-match Test series against England from August 5.
Whether it’s the infamous feud between Mike Gatting and Shakoor Rana in 1987, or Inzamam ul Haq refusing to take the field after an umpiring ignominy in 2006, or the spot-fixing scandal that rocked the cricketing world in 2010, the England-Pakistan rivalry has never failed to shock, surprise and amaze cricket fans.
Pakistan has always been a team heavily reliant on their speedsters. Not that there’s a dearth of batting talent, but their masterful bowlers have always overshadowed the batting unit.
Pakistani batsmen, like any other batsmen from the subcontinent, struggle to get going at bowler-friendly pitches in England. They have never been able to nullify the threat English bowlers pose with sheer pace and moving the ball both ways.
English bowlers, especially in their home conditions, often lay bare the fragility of Pakistan’s batting unit.
No wonder, it’s going to be another action-packed affair this time when both nations, brimming with young talents, will lock horns in white flannel.
In a build-up to the upcoming Test series, let’s have a look at the five of the most successful English bowlers, with the most number of Test wickets against Pakistan.
5. Graeme Swann – 35 wickets
Graeme Swann is undoubtedly one of the most premier spinners to come out from England in the 21st century. Making his ODI debut in 2000, Swann failed to be an instant hit. Instead, it took him another eight years to shot to prominence. A Test debut against India in 2008 marked the beginning of a purple patch for the off-spinner.
When it comes to facing Pakistan, Swann upped the ante. Swann’s tally against Pakistan reads 35 wickets in seven matches at an astounding average of 17.00. Overall, he has 255 wickets to his name in 60 Tests.
Swann is a man who wears many hats. Apart from cricket, he takes a great interest in rock music. He is a lead vocalist of the rock band Dr Comfort and the Lurid Revelations.
4. Derek Underwood – 36 wickets
With 36 wickets in 11 matches that he played against Pakistan, Derek Underwood is another spinner who makes it to the list. Because of an impeccable accuracy and consistency with which he bowled, his teammates lovingly called him ‘Deadly’.
A magnificent career came to an agonising end after Underwood was banned for participating in the rebel tour against South Africa.
3. Ian Botham – 40 wickets
A charismatic personality who was equally dominant with both bat and ball, Ian Bothan is one of the finest all-rounders the game has ever seen. Botham was a clutch player who single-handedly led England to gazillions of improbable triumphs, most notably the 1981 Ashes clash at Headingley.
Botham, with 40 wickets in 14 matches, ranks third in the list. His most memorable performance against Pakistan came at Lord’s in 1978. The Somerset all-rounder ripped apart the tourists’ batting line-up, taking eight wickets in the second innings and drove England to a massive victory.
2. Stuart Broad – 54 wickets
Born in Nottingham to ICC match referee Chris Broad, Stuart Broad always wanted to be an opening batsman, but for some reasons, it didn’t work out.
In retrospect, his failure as an opening batsman was a blessing in disguise for England cricket. With 501 wickets to his name, Broad is the second-most leading wicket-taker for England in Test cricket.
Against Pakistan, Broad accumulated 54 wickets in 16 matches at a commendable average of 24.00.
1. James Anderson – 63 wickets
A real craftsman who has reached the pinnacle of virtuosity, James Anderson is the highest wicket-taker for England in the traditional format of the game. And unsurprisingly, his ranking doesn’t change even if one narrows it down to a single opponent, Pakistan.
Even at the dusk of his illustrious career, Anderson remains as lethal in favourable conditions as he ever was.
Against Pakistan, Anderson took 63 wickets in 15 matches at an impressive average of 18.58. Facing the imperious duo of Broad and Anderson will be a major worry for Pakistan in the upcoming series.