On the evidence of the first two days of the first Test match in Multan, the Pakistan side is such a shapeless shambles under the leadership of coach Bob Woolmer and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq that, in horse racing terms, there would be an immediate stewards inquiry concerning a non-trier.
A boxing referee would disqualify them for not landing a punch.
England have done nothing but apply a disciplined use of basic principles with ball and bat so successfully that they start the third day with the match so firmly in their grasp that virtually every escape route is already blocked.
The blame lies at the top where Woolmer and his captain made at least two inexplicable bowling selections. They were fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami who must be the worst pair of new-ball flatterers in world cricket.
This column offered the view a month ago that, after Shoaib's awful performance on and off the field in the socalled Super series in Australia last month, England's winning prospects would only be enhanced if he was picked.
Similarly with Sami whose recovery from a groin injury convinced coach and captain that he must be picked ahead of any of a clutch of more reliable pace bowlers who did for England in the first two warm-up games, despite his appalling Test return of 50 wickets in 20 Tests at a cost of 47 apiece.
"Inzy" is well aware of the pair's fitness shortcomings which have produced 12 appearances in the last 28 Tests since Sami's debut four years ago, with seven losses out of the dozen and two of the five victories against Zimbabwe.
After they combined to to take 14 wickets last year against India in three Tests at 52 apiece - Indian new ball bowlers Irfan Pathan and Lakshmipathy Balaji took 24 at 29 apiece - their captain said that they were wrong to think they could just blast away with no regard for orthodox or reverse swing.
Former great swing bowler Sarfraz Nawaz was typically forthright, saying: "They have no idea how to swing the new ball. That's why they got clobbered so easily in the opening overs because they only use pace to put the batsman under pressure."
Sami seems quite proud of such criticism, saying: "I attack to buy wickets and I don't mind if they cost a few runs because pace is my primary weapon." Surely 47 runs per wicket is more than "a few."
He disappeared for five an over yesterday while Shoaib's more economic return of three runs per over was because the batsmen were in grave danger of pulling a muscle in trying to reach two or three deliveries an over. For "Inzy" to give them 25 out of 68 overs was far from his only tactical error. When Paul Collingwood's anonymous ten in 13 overs ended with a 'nothing' stroke to a 'nothing' ball, Matthew Hoggard was sent in as nightwatchman.
The Yorkshireman has played several dogged innings as keeper of the flame but is prefers straightforward pace to playing the twirlies - remember that, by design, Ashley Giles ensured that Hoggard never faced a ball from Shane Warne in their eighth-wicket match-winning partnership at Trent Bridge.
Yet the home captain decided that, with the light failing in Multan and ten overs still to be bowled and spin his best chance of staying in the middle, he brought back Shoaib who promptly bounced Hoggard and off they came. It was as though Inzamam wanted to get off, rather than try for a fourth wicket by bringing on wrist- spinner Danish Kaneria.
The slow Pakistan overrate was perhaps because Inzy had already decided that his best chance of avoiding defeat was to take overs out of the match but surely not Woolmer who has been seen throughout the first two days sitting thoughtfully behind his laptop.
The former coach of South Africa and Warwickshire has been in the job for two years but nothing has changed.
Batsmen either block or slog; seemingly safe match situations are frittered away and bowlers do their own thing with no apparent game plan.
Woolmer was the first national coach with South Africa to pre-plan homework aimed at exploiting any possible weakness in the opposition. The truth is that either he cannot instil in his captain and players the need to think on their feet or, more probably, they cannot because of a concentration span equivalent to a litter of playful puppies.
Their cricket is all spur-ofthe-moment stuff with a surfeit of natural talent remaining infuriatingly unharnessed. 'Twas ever thus, but every underperformance with ball and bat in the first two days was simply compounding the original crime of selection.
How could Woolmer's shrewd brain convince him that wrist-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed was not worth a place, especially as the pitch is already taking sharp spin, and a final-day target of 150 is the last thing England want after losing what should have been a crucial toss.
"Inzy" is a local, known as the Sultan of Multan, so why did he lumber himself with an erratic and impoverished pace attack instead of pairing two of the best wrist-spinners in world cricket?
He paid for such a howler by being denied any sort of control yesterday in the field.
Hence England's 253 coming off only 68 overs - at least 50 runs too many considering that Marcus Trescothick and Ian Bell never had to take a risk in their secondwicket partnership of 180 in 50 overs. Both played well but only had to take what was on offer and were never put under pressure.
Bell's 71 will have done him good and he has also put a marker down regarding Collingwood as and when Michael Vaughan returns.
Unless Woolmer and Inzamam come to their senses, all the talk about England being made to change their approach against Australia and having to struggle under local conditions will remain just that - talk and pretty meaningless verbiage at that.