Former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie believes that the upcoming Test series between Pakistan and England will have a totally different outcome to the Three Lions whitewash in 2012.
England faced an embarrassing 3-0 whitewash by Pakistan in 2012 which knocked them off their top spot in the ICC Test rankings, courtesy Saeed Ajmal’s magic with the ball.
According to Gillespie Pakistan had ‘just the right squad’ for the series but England were a transformed side under Alastair Cook.
“Taking on Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates is a tough assignment but after seeing the squad England have selected for the tour, a repeat of the 3-0 Test series defeat suffered last time does not look on the cards for me,” Gillespie wrote in his column for a British newspaper.
“I wouldn’t rule out an away win, either,” said the Yorkshire County head-coach.
Gillespie, who played 71 Test and 97 ODIs for Australia, said Cook’s team had the advantage of not carrying any ‘scars from 2012’ and would not be afraid of losing to Pakistan.
“Alastair Cook’s side may be less experienced than the one three years ago but there are good players of spin in that batting line-up and the collective mindset is strong; they will not carry scars from 2012, only a youthful positivity,” added the 40-year-old.
England announced a strong 16-man Test squad for its series in the UAE, with dashing opener Alex Hales the surprise pick for the five-day format.
The tourists will play three Tests, four ODIs and three T20s on its tour.
UAE the toughest battleground
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum also weighed in on the upcoming clash and warned England of their ‘biggest challenge’ yet.
“It is one of the toughest places to tour in world cricket,” the hard-hitting Kiwi captain was quoted as saying by a British newspaper.
“We hold that Test win in Sharjah as one of our biggest successes. To beat a strong Pakistan side in those conditions, in my mind, is one of the biggest challenges in the world right now. Some very good teams have gone there and not come away with the spoils.”
However, McCullum, under whom New Zealand have added a brave new approach to their game, said he was impressed by England’s fresh methods.
“I’ve enjoyed England’s new cut and thrust approach. Even if it not the finished product it is a shift in the right direction. In the past they have been fearful, regimented and disciplined. It worked on occasion but what we are seeing at the moment is different; they are freeing young players up and if you have the support of people and you back guys through rough days you will come good.”
McCullum stressed on playing “uninhibited cricket”.
While Pakistan whitewashed England 3-0 in 2012, New Zealand’s managed to draw series by their series against Pakistan last year.
The highlight of that tour was McCullum’s fearless batting, which won New Zealand the third Test and levelled the series 1-1.