England to be on end of another series whitewash from Pakistan
Pakistan have already white-washed England in the Test arena and another mauling could now take place in the one-day series with 5/1 in the cricket odds looking great value that Pakistan romp to a 4-0 victory.
England’s recent record in one-day clashes overseas does not offer a great deal of encouragement that they will present a major challenge to Pakistan.
They firstly were dominated 6-1 in Australia, while their last visit to the sub-continent ended in a 5-0 reverse in India.
Although over half of England’s one-day team also played in the Test meetings with Pakistan, this is unlikely to make them any better prepared for another onslaught of spin bowling.
The pitches in the UAE are almost guaranteed to turn and there is very real possibility that Umar Gul will be the only fast bowler selected by Pakistan.
This would mean that not only will England have to again attempt to overcome the problems posed by Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez, but also now Shahid Afridi.
Afridi starred in the warm-up success over Afghanistan and across 2011 he took wickets at an average of less than 21.
Meanwhile, Pakistan were given a useful test under a small amount of pressure of Afghanistan, which is not something that can be said of England’s preparations with the English Lions.
This lack of a proper warm up could at least leave England up against it in the opening one-day fixture and Pakistan have to be backed at 8/13 in the cricket odds to triumph, while they are 11/10 to simply prevail in the series.
One of the harder markets to predict is who will be the top Pakistan wicket-taker in the first Test, with Ajmal and Afridi available at 7/2.
Although Ajmal is liable to finish with a better economy rate from his ten overs, Afridi is perhaps the better bet to take wickets.