Too many stingers in tale of the unexpected

Won one, lost one, one to play. And that is barely the half of it. This tour to Pakistan always promised to be one of life's most peculiar and enriching experiences. It is not letting us down in either regard.

Won one, lost one, one to play. And that is barely the half of it. This tour to Pakistan always promised to be one of life's most peculiar and enriching experiences. It is not letting us down in either regard.

One-dayers being what they are, the series could, truly, go either way in Rawalpindi tomorrow. These are two well-matched sides. They have an abundance of quality spin, we have more accomplished seamers. Both sides have high-scoring batsmen who may differ in method.

If those of England are more inexperienced, they showed in that wonderful match in Karachi on Tuesday night, when they chased 305 to win the game, that they are learning quickly. Four players made half-centuries of contrasting nature, all of them set perfectly in the context of the game.

There was not to be a repeat in Lahore when, batting first, we fell 30 or 40 runs short of setting what we would have liked. It was not a pitch conducive to another score of 300, but 240 would have made it a more intriguing contest.

The ball turned in Lahore, as everybody will have noticed. We have to get accustomed to that. We expected it. It may also have been noticed that in four innings so far there has not been a single lbw appeal upheld. Now, as a bowler I don't exactly go along with this interpretation. I was as sure as sure can be that a shout against Inzamam in Karachi was on the right side of worthwhile.

Similarly, I suppose Pakistan may have felt hard done by when they had one turned down against Nasser Hussain. But that is even-handed umpiring. That apart, only one decision has raised the flicker of an eyebrow, when Alec Stewart was adjudged to have hit his first ball from Wasim Akram in Karachi.

None of this has eroded my view that all international games should have neutral umpires. At the moment Tests have one neutral with one provided by the home board, one-dayers have both provided by the home board.

My view is that home players are likely to put home umpires under pressure, to be more insistent in their appeals. At the very least I would eventually like to see two neutral umpires for all Tests - and Pakistan, incidentally, advocated this long ago - and at least one neutral for one-dayers.

That way you would get round the sadness of an English umpire, say, not being able to stand in an international at Lord's or a Pakistani official not being able to adjudicate at Lahore. This is not a question of bias, it is a matter of leaving, if not nothing, then as little as possible to chance.

It was not the umpires in the middle who have been the focus of much of the attention, however. No, that was reserved for the third umpire, the TV umpire, that is, in Lahore.

He was called on to make two adjudications early in England's innings. The first one, a stumping appeal against Stewart he upheld, probably rightly. But it took two minutes of replays - without a directly square-on camera, incidentally. That was absolutely on the limit of what should surely be the permissible time.

But it was soon to be outdone when Marcus Trescothick hit one to mid-wicket, and there was an immediate doubt about whether the ball had been taken cleanly or on the half-volley. A bowler I may be but "if in doubt, not out" has been around a long time and will do for me.

It took four minutes before the green light, for stay, went on. That was too long - it extends the game and it is unnecessary. Television umpires should have all the equipment necessary to aid them. Surely, the longer it goes on the greater the doubt.

Talking of things to get accustomed to or to have expected, dew and flies never fell into that category. But they are here all right. The dew has been around in both matches and is likely to form significantly again tomorrow. It makes bowling second extremely difficult and negates swing. That is why the second two matches have been brought forward by two hours. Apparently, it is a phenomenon which exists only in November and early December because of the heat allied to the recent monsoon season.

And midges, well they hit the big time at Lahore. Going into bowl was like having somebody throw sand in your face. Mark Ealham and I bowled in dark glasses. The Blues Brothers of England. They flew in your mouth, your ears, your eyes. Most unpleasant.

I am back to No 11 in the batting order again. Darren Gough has moved above me because he has more unconventional attacking shots and will hit it to more unlikely areas. Having said which, I was pleased with my sweep for four the other night, and look forward to moving up above the Dazzler again in the Test matches.


Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
peopleLynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance moves audience to tears
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon


Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London