Surrey and Pakistan: Rawalpindi Test preview - Kia Oval Skip to main content

When England launch their bid to beat Pakistan, they will start by making a maiden appearance at Rawalpindi.

The Surrey contingent in the squad – Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks and Jamie Overton – have the opportunity to emulate the achievements of county players of the past at a ground established three decades ago.

It first hosted Tests in December 1993, a 52-run victory over Zimbabwe owing much to nine wickets in the match from Waqar Younis, who was Surrey’s much-feared spearhead at the time.

He claimed 5-88 from 19 overs in the first innings, Zimbabwe being bowled out for 245 to trail by nine runs, adding 4-50 from 21 in the second as the visitors were dismissed for 187 as they chased 240.

It’s a ground with especially happy memories for Azhar Mahmood, given he made his Test debut there in spectacular style against South Africa in 1997.

The all-rounder, who would shine for Surrey as a player and has since returned as fast bowling coach, was pitted against a South African attack featuring Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock and Brian McMillan and cracked 128no out of 456.

That total helped Saqlain Mushtaq – who had just played his first season at The Oval – to work his way through the tourists in a marathon spell of 62 overs, finishing with 5-129, Mahmood then hitting 50no as the match was drawn.

Waqar’s 4-103 in the first innings – and a century from Younis Khan, who would join Surrey for a short spell in 2010 – could not prevent Sri Lanka winning by two wickets there in 2000. Also in vain was Shoaib Akhtar, who had a brief stay at The Oval in 2008, taking 3-47 against India in 2004. The visitors still amassed 600 to win by an innings and 131 runs in one of the rare bilateral clashes between the countries.

There have been four Tests at the ground since Pakistan began hosting tours again in 2019, following the long break after terrorists attacked the Sri Lanka squad in 2005, with the hosts winning two and drawing two.