Blame Bob Woolmer if England do not win their first series out of four since last year's Ashes victory against Australia.
Pakistan last lost a Test match in Barbados 14 months ago with Woolmer, the former coach of South Africa and Warwickshire, squaring the impossible circle of the innate erratic trait that has blighted all previous Pakistan sides  even those under the inspirational captaincy of Imran Khan and with great players such as Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Abdul Qadir et al.
No longer do they blow hot and cold so frequently and England have a real problem to win the four-match series, as shown by their squad for the first Test at Lords, start-ing on Thursday.
The selectors are trying to face every which way in the face of injuries, not least with the dogs' dinner they have made concerning Michael Vaughan and the captaincy.
Once they knew he was out of the Ashes tour, that should have been that. "Thank you for everything, now we hope and believe you will regain full fitness and challenge again for a place."
Instead, they have intimated he is still the appointed captain and have given Andrew Strauss another carefully-rationed sip of the poisoned chalice, by saying that he is only tossing a borrowed coin until Andrew Flintoff takes over.
There is so much spin spewing out of Lord's and Team England that it will be interesting to monitor their volte-face if Flintoff does not play in the second Test at Old Trafford in 17 days time.
If he doesn't and Strauss does a capable job in the first two or three Tests, then what?
All that is in the melting pot, but what is not is the fact that, true to form, coach Duncan Fletcher and the selectors have headed for the trenches by confirming, as indicated in this column on Saturday, that Ian Bell will bat at No 6 and share the fifth bowler's duties with Paul Collingwood.
Chairman David Graveney says "that you cannot replace the irreplaceable with Flint-off, so either you weaken the batting or the bowling." No prizes for guessing which strategy has been adopted, even against a Pakistan attack shorn of three fast bowlers in Shoaib Akhtar, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Mohammed Asif.
The 13-man squad includes Jonathan Lewis, but only as cover for Matthew Hoggard and not as a possibility in a four-man attack  and that means Liam Plunkett or Sajid Mahmood will play.
Assuming Hoggard plays, the other three all start the game with question marks hanging over them.
Steve Harmison plays in his first Test match since March and is apparently unworried about his recent wayward form. For such a home-grown no-nonsense northerner, he also is quite a spinner for his Sunday newspaper column. "I've never taken too much notice of criticism. Iam happy with the way the ball is coming out of my hand, " he claimed yesterday.
If he is, then he is the only one. As for his last figures of 10-0-97-0, he says: "I left the field smiling because when you come up against someone like Sanath Jayasuriya in that mood and on that pitch, things can get out of hand."
They can if you give the left-hander a force-fed diet of wide short stuff. Bowl straight - which never happened - and he could be in trouble.
The back-up trio contains a suspect Hoggard, Monty Panesar and either Plunkett or Mahmood. The Durham man has developed early signs of sore shins, but has a much more repetitive action than Mahmood. At best, it is an attack comprising four-and-abit man attack, of which Panesar and a fit Hoggard are the only ones to whom control comes easily,
Strauss is like a general sent out to fight tanks with air-guns and this against a Pakistan side that has batting in depth, such as wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and the destructive Abdur Razzak coming in at Nos 7 and eight.
The squad is a hope-for-the-best pick, with the biggest job for Fletcher and his management staff to rediscover some of the almost indomitable spirit developed under t h e m a n d Vaughan in the months leading up to The Oval last year.
That is now 10 months away and gone with it are Vaughan, Ashley Giles, Simon Jones and, for the Lord's Test at least, Flintoff.
It is time, in Fletcher-speak, for Marcus Trescothick, Kevin Pietersen, Geraint Jones, Harmison and, yes, Strauss himself "to put their hands up and come to the party."
Those are worn cliches, but the above centrallycontracted players need to do just that.