England urgently need to arrest a sequence of nine defeats in their last 10 international matches against in-form Pakistan tomorrow.
Alastair Cook’s second away series as permanent one-day international captain will be a major test of his and his team’s credentials, in alien conditions - and he makes no apology for spelling out exactly what he expects of them.
England’s first subcontinental attempt in the era of Cook’s leadership could scarcely have gone any worse, ending in an unexpected 5-0 whitewash in India four months ago.
He does not condemn them for that alone, but makes it clear there will be no such tolerance if it appears lessons have not been learned from those failures in this four-match series.
“One of the things we said at the time was we tried as hard as we could and we came up quite a long way short again against India,” he said.
“There’s no shame in that, but there will be a shame if we don’t learn individually from that and where we need to take our game. I hope people have done that.
“The Tests didn’t go to plan, and we didn’t play very well,” said Cook.
“But it’s a new format, and the squad has introduced six new faces. It’s brought a freshness and enthusiasm to the squad.”
Another area of optimism for Cook is his new opening partnership with Kevin Pietersen, following the latter’s return to the top of the order.