Prior to December 2022, England had won only two tests in 61 years in Pakistan, but in the last twenty days, the nation has already won three more to whitewash a series and become the first touring nation ever to win 3-0 in Pakistan, a momentous achievement especially greatened by it being the first time England have played in the country for seventeen years.
And what is better than England doing all of the above in style, under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum who since taking over their roles as Captain and Head Coach in charge of the test team, have won nine out of ten matches with a two match series against New Zealand and the Ashes, next year to come, well England have done it with a couple of our own, Nottinghamshire’s Ben Duckett has revelled in his chance to open the bat whilst eighteen year old locally born Rehan Ahmed has announced himself well and truly on the global cricketing scene.
In the final test in Karachi, in only his fourth ever first-class match, 18-year-old Ahmed, a Bluecoat school graduate who plays currently for Leicestershire and who recently helped England U19’s reach the final of the ICC U19 World Cup, became the youngest player ever to take five wickets on test debut, having taken 2 for 89 in the first innings as the hosts reached 304 all out, he spun his way through the middle order in the Pakistan second innings, taking the wickets of Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Saud Shakeel (who was also his first of the match in the first innings) before dispensing of the tail to take Mohammad Wasim and last man Agha Salman to leave England needing just 167 for victory.
Enter Ben Duckett, the Notts batsman playing in his sixth test match and third of the series after being recalled for the first time since 2016, well the Kent born 28 year-old confidently struck his way to 82 not out from just 78 balls, to lead England’s charge to easy victory in what lasted less than an hour of the final day.
Duckett helped by his skipper Ben Stokes 35 not out, led England to eight wicket victory and increased his chances to open the bat alongside Zak Crawley in the summer series against Australia, he finished second highest run scorer of the series behind Harry Brook with 357 in three matches and six innings at an average of 71.40 which included a highest score 107 in the first test. A score which set England on their way to a famous first victory in Rawalpindi, before ending the series to hit the winning runs and book his place on the plane to New Zealand as a certain England starter, one who’ll be relishing the chance now next summer against the Australians as the Ashes return to England, where Ben Stokes fully confident young blooded team will be looking to return the urn for the first time since 2015.
*Main image @englandcricket Rehan Ahmed took 5/48 in Pakistan’s second innings.