As Misbah-ul-Haq reeled off a Lord’s hundred at the scarcely believable age of forty-two, I had a quick glance at the records for “Oldest player to score a Test hundred“. Not surprisingly, he was reasonably high on the list – sixth oldest – but he was leapfrogged by players from the 1920s/1930s era; their careers were often extended by years of inactivity during the First World War and the absence of the cut-throat professionalism of modern times. The noteworthy thing, however, is not his position on the list, but it is the fact that he is on the list at all, given the circumstances of his career.
When England last played Pakistan away from home in 2012, Andrew Strauss was the English captain and Kevin Pietersen was an integral member of a Test side that was ranked number one in the world. Such has been the turbulence of English cricket that Strauss is now the Director of Cricket for England who has effectively blacklisted Pietersen from ever playing Test cricket again. Even more remarkable, given the tumult of English cricket over the past three years, is that the English Test side is now one of the most exciting teams in Test cricket and that this Test series against Pakistan will be a genuine contest.