Two months after Pakistan's stormy tour of England during which their players were implicated in a spot-fixing scandal, coach Waqar Younis' lasting memory from the trip is of the seaming pitches produced for the Test series which his side lost.
"The seaming pitches in England were the main cause for our team being defeated in the Test series by England. I have played a lot of county cricket and also toured England with the Pakistan team several times but never in my life have I seen such seaming pitches prepared for Tests in English conditions," Waqar said.
Pakistan drew the two-Test series with Australia 1-1 and were beaten 3-1 by England in the four-match series that followed. Pakistani batsmen struggled in at least five Tests with the exception of the Oval where they beat England in the third Test.
"The pitches prepared for the Tests at Lords, Headingly, Edgbaston and Trent Bridge were tailormade for seam bowlers and our batsmen really faced a lot of problems adjusting to them. And don't forget we had a batting line up with new players and sans Younis Khan and even Muhammad Yousuf who joined us for the last two tests," Waqar said.
The former Test captain said the nature of the pitches had left him surprised because he had played a lot of cricket in England and never witnessed such imbalance between bat and ball.
"It was excellent for the bowlers but a nightmare for the batsmen. James Anderson caused us lot of problems because he had pitches to his liking but I don't think it will be the same in the Ashes series in Australia for him," Waqar said.
He also said Australia will have an edge in the Ashes series as they had a stronger bowling line up. "I think Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and Doug Bollinger will be a handful for England in the tests in Australian conditions," he said.
"I don't think the type of pitches they had against us at home will have helped England prepare for the Ashes," he stated. The Pakistani coach said there was a lot of significance and history attached to the Ashes.
"It is just like Indo-Pak matches. Even if Pakistan has a weak and limping side if it plays against India the passion and spirit is of another level," he said.