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 Post subject: paying a lot for tickets and they have a right to
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:16 pm 
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It may lack the history - and hype - of the Ashes or the revenue potential of a tour by India, but rarely has a Test series promised as much as this encounter between England and Pakistan.These are two fine if slightly flawed sides who could, by years end, be rated No. 1 in the Test rankings. And, as well as arguably the two best swing bowlers in the world, this series will also feature (again, arguably) the worlds best spinner, one of the worlds most exciting allrounders and the two highest run-scorers in the history of either Test team. Evenly matched teams who play, on the whole, attractive cricket and will be watched by good-sized crowds with over 100,000 tickets sold for the first four days of the series. It really could be a classic.If England win, they will hold the trophies in every bilateral series against other Test nations. While not a unique achievement, it would be an impressive one and reflects well upon a side that may well still be a year or two away from its peak. It is, after all, barely 18 months since the disappointing tour of the Caribbean and only just over two years since they were defeated at home by Sri Lanka. These remain relatively early days in the England recovery.Pakistan, by contrast, are reaping the rewards for sticking with many of the same players for half-a-dozen years and appear to have an excellent opportunity to secure a rare away victory. It is not just that they have prepared more thoroughly than at any time in recent history, with training camps stretching six weeks ahead of the first game of the tour, or that they are boosted by the return of a left-arm bowler of rare skill. It is that they will play England on the least typically English surfaces - Lords, Old Trafford and The Oval - that may negate some of Englands seam threat and bring into play the one area where Pakistan are indisputably stronger: spin bowling. Home advantage, while not surrendered, has not been exploited as it was against Australia.In this first Test especially, where they are without Ben Stokes and James Anderson, England look just a little vulnerable. On a Lords surface that rarely favours Englands traditional skills - it may well turn out to be the last Test wicket prepared by Lords groundsman Mick Hunt, who is contemplating retirement after spending his entire career at the ground - Pakistans batsman have an opportunity to build the type of total that their legspinner, Yasir Shah, can exploit. Jake Ball is a fine, skilful bowler with an exciting future. But he has only been a first-choice player in Nottinghamshires Championship side for a few months and clearly cannot hope to replicate the experience of Anderson.England do have some significant advantages, though. Once Stokes returns, they have a lower-middle-order that can dig them out of trouble - with Moeen Ali back to No. 8 and Chris Woakes at No. 9 - compared to the likes of Mohammad Amir (who has a Test batting average of 12.63) and Yasir Shah (who has a Test batting of 10.46). The partnerships between Moeen and Stuart Broad were crucial in helping England win the 2015 Ashes; they could prove just as crucial this summer.England also have more depth with the ball. Pakistan are, at present, committed to a four-man attack. On the flat pitches anticipated, that leaves their three seamers and one spinner with a heavy workload in a four-Test series that features two sets of back-to-back Tests. Yes, England went to No. 1 in the world with their four-man attack. But it took a heavy toll on some of the participants. Equally, for all the worries about Englands middle-order - and Gary Ballances Test average of 47 might assuage some of them - the Pakistan opening pair look every bit as fragile. And, for all the experience and skill of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, their combined age is now 80. They will not want to be exposed too early to the new ball. Pakistans fitness and fielding, while improved and improving, is still not the standard they would like. In a tight series, such factors could be crucial.It is no secret that previous series between these sides - at least, previous series played in England - have been bedevilled by controversy and ill-feeling. So awful was the relationship between the teams after the Tests of 2010, that Englands players held a vote over whether they wanted to complete the limited-over series. In previous years, we had seen arguments over ball tampering, reverse swing, allegations of umpiring bias and match-fixing. There were, no doubt, faults on both sides with the 2010 spot-fixers bringing shame on their sport and Englands concerns over reverse swing evaporating once they themselves learned how to do it.But those days are gone. Misbah inherited a fearful mess when he was appointed captain, but he has built a strong team in desperately testing circumstances and ensured corruption has been eradicated. Few figures in modern cricket history - not even Brendon McCullum - have done so much to shape the spirit with which their side play. Few figures in modern cricket history warrant as much respect.Meanwhile, an England side that regularly includes two Muslim players - most notably Moeen who has embraced the position of role-model and bridge builder - has become a little more respectful, a little more mature and a little more worldly in their outlook. The relationship between the sides is vastly improved.There is no reason the relationship between the supporters should not be equally harmonious. While the Barmy Army trumpeter, Billy Cooper, has been researching prison-themed songs to play when Amir is in action, the organisation hope such gestures are taken in good humour and staged a match against the National Asian Cricket Council on Wednesday evening with a view towards recruiting more Asian members.While the term Barmy Army is often applied loosely to cover most England supporters, the actual Barmy Army have distanced themselves from the booing of Ricky Ponting in previous years and the chants aimed at Mitchell Johnson. Were not about booing great players, their founder, Paul Burnham, told ESPNcricinfo. We want England to win but we want to see good cricket and we respect our opponents. Burnham insists - pretty much without smiling - that the original rhyme was his bowlings not right.There is a wider context, too. Recent weeks have suggested that the roots of multiculturalism in England and Wales are not as deep as many of us believed. It would be na?ve to ignore the rise in hate-crime - some of it Islamaphobic - and not be on our guard against it at these games. It would be sickening if legitimate reservations over the return of Amir were exploited by those with agendas against the beliefs of the team or, more pertinently, its supporters. And it would be sickening if it occurred and the authorities took the same look the other way approach they have sometimes adopted in the past.But we have seen, be it in Afghanistan, Ireland, Rwanda or Englands inner-cities, crickets ability to unite. This Test series is an opportunity to witness not just top-class cricket but to remind ourselves that England at its best, is a tolerant, multi-cultural nation that celebrates its sporting successes while respecting its opponents. On and off the pitch, the next few weeks have the potential to restore spirits. Youth Blue Jackets Jerseys . PAUL, Minn. Wholesale Blue Jackets Jerseys .C. -- Rodney Hood connected from all over the court while freshman Jabari Parker was busy swatting shots and scoring in transition. http://www.cheapbluejacketsjerseyschina.com/ .Y. - General manager Billy King says the Brooklyn Nets are looking to add a big man and confirmed the team worked out centre Jason Collins, who would become the first openly gay active NBA player if signed. Blue Jackets Jerseys From China . Brett Kulak and Jackson Houck of the Vancouver Giants were each charged with assault causing bodily harm on Aug. 18, according to the B.C. court services. Cheap Blue Jackets Jerseys . Gather a group of friends, or find a league to join online, draft your team, set your lineup and compete in a number of different formats.Alan Smith says Arsenal should consider Arsene Wengers position this summer if the Gunners fail to win the Premier League. Arsenal were knocked out of the FA Cup on Sunday, losing 2-1 at home to Watford, and are on the verge of Champions League elimination ahead of Wednesdays second leg in Barcelona.They must turn around a 2-0 deficit in the Nou Camp and if they do not, the league championship offers their only chance of silverware this season. After seeing his side dumped out of the FA Cup to Watford, Arsene Wenger denied that there is a lack of confidence in the Arsenal team But they are eight points adrift of leaders Leicester with just nine games left to play, and Smith feels their recent run of just one win in four league games makes landing the Premier League trophy unlikely.Its not over yet, there are still eight games to go, but I have to say its doubtful they will peg back Leicester and Spurs, the former Arsenal striker told Sky Sports Now. Ex-Arsenal striker Alan Smith does not believe his former club will win the Premier League this season Especially with the way they're playing - the performances speak for themselves. It was the old failings they showed against a Watford side who have struggled foor goals.dddddddddddd.All of a sudden they looked potent on the counter-attack and that was down to Arsenals lack of shape. They don't look like theyve got the belief but you can never say never.If they get a win at Everton - and that's a really difficult game - then you just don't know but I can't see it unfortunately. Its not over yet, there are still eight games to go, but I have to say its doubtful they will peg back Leicester and Spurs. Alan Smith Wenger came in for renewed criticism following Arsenals loss to Watford, and although he dismissed it as a farce, Smith feels the managers position at the club should be reviewed if they fail to win a trophy this season.The argument is that the board are happy because they're finishing in the top four and getting the Champions League money which comes with that, he said.We can no longer talk about the financial gap between Arsenal and teams like Manchester City and Chelsea because Leicester and Spurs have spent half as much as they have. A banner calling for Arsene Wenger to go was held up during Arsenals FA Cup win at Hull So that would be an indictment of Wenger. If they fall away, then the board have got to seriously look at the managers position and I think Arsene Wenger will have to look at his position too.Its been 12 years since they won the title and its a long time to go without that. People are paying a lot for tickets and they have a right to complain. 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