The 2007 Cricket World Cup was one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history when Pakistan was knocked out of the competition in a shock defeat to Ireland, who were playing in their first competition. Pakistan, needing to win to qualify for the next stage after losing to the West Indies in their opening match, were put into bat by Ireland. They lost wickets regularly and only 4 batsmen scored double figures. In the end they were bowled out by the Irish for 132 runs. The Irish went on to win the match, after Niall O'Brien scored 72 runs. This meant that Pakistan had been knocked out during the first round for the second consecutive World Cup. Tragedy struck the team when coach Bob Woolmer died one day later on 18 March 2007 in a hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. Jamaican police spokesman Karl Angell reported on 23 March 2007 that, "Mr Woolmer's death was due to asphyxiation as a result of manual strangulation" and that, "Mr Woolmer's death is now being treated by the Jamaica police as a case of murder." Assistant coach Mushtaq Ahmed acted as temporary coach for the team's final group game of the tournament. Subsequent to his team's defeat and the death of Woolmer, Inzamam-ul-Haq announced his resignation as captain of the team and his retirement from one-day cricket, stating that he would continue to take part in Test cricket but not as captain. Shoaib Malik was announced as his successor. Following his return to the squad, Salman Butt was appointed as vice-captain until December 2007.
More selectorial problems abounded during Atherton's reign as new chairman of selectors and coach Ray Illingworth (then into his 60s) assumed almost sole responsibility for the team off the field. The youth policy which had seen England emerge from the West Indies tour of 1993–94 with some credit (though losing to a seasoned Windies team) was abandoned and players such as Gatting and Gooch were persisted with when well into their 30s and 40s. England continued to do well at home against weaker opponents such as India, New Zealand and a West Indies side beginning to fade but struggled badly against improving sides like Pakistan and South Africa. Atherton had offered his resignation after losing the 1997 Ashes series 3–2 having been 1–0 up after two matches – eventually to resign one series later in early 1998. England, looking for talent, went through a whole raft of new players during this period, such as Ronnie Irani, Adam Hollioake, Craig White, Graeme Hick and Mark Ramprakash. At this time, there were two main problems:
As well as responsibility for Australian international sides, Cricket Australia organises domestic inter-state cricket in Australia, including the three premier competitions in each of the major forms of the game. These are the Sheffield Shield in first-class cricket, the JLT One-Day Cup, which is the domestic one-day competition, and the KFC Big Bash League, which is the domestic Twenty20 competition.
Cricket in Pakistan has a history predating the creation of the country in 1947. The first ever international cricket match in Karachi was held on 22 November 1935 between Sindh and Australian cricket teams. The match was seen by 5,000 Karachiites. Following the independence of Pakistan in 1947, cricket in the country developed rapidly and Pakistan was given Test match status at a meeting of the Imperial Cricket Conference at Lord's in England on 28 July 1952 following recommendation by India, which, being the successor state of the British Raj, did not have to go through such a process. The first captain of the Pakistan national cricket team was Abdul Hafeez Kardar.
If the 1980s were a low point for English Test cricket, then the 1990s were only a slight improvement. The arrival of Gooch as captain in 1990 forced a move toward more professionalism and especially fitness though it took some time for old habits to die. Even in 2011, one or two successful county players have been shown up as physically unfit for international cricket. Creditable performances against India and New Zealand in 1990 were followed by a hard-fought draw against the 1991 West Indies and a strong performance in the 1992 Cricket World Cup in which the England team finished as runners-up for the second consecutive World Cup, but landmark losses against Australia in 1990–91 and especially Pakistan in 1992 showed England up badly in terms of bowling. So bad was England's bowling in 1993 that Rod Marsh described England's pace attack at one point as "pie throwers". Having lost three of the first four Tests played in England in 1993, Gooch resigned to be replaced by Michael Atherton.
The team is considered a strong but unpredictable team. Traditionally Pakistani cricket has been composed of talented players but is alleged to display limited discipline on occasion, making their performance inconsistent at times. In particular, the India-Pakistan cricket rivalry is usually emotionally charged and can provide for intriguing contests, as talented teams and players from both sides of the border seek to elevate their game to new levels. Pakistan team contests with India in the Cricket World Cup have resulted in packed stadiums and highly charged atmospheres. The team is well supported at home and abroad, especially in the United Kingdom where British Pakistanis have formed a fan-club called the "Stani Army". Members of the club show up to matches across the country and are known to provide raucous support. The Stani Army also takes part in charity initiatives for underprivileged Pakistanis, including annual friendly cricket matches against British Indian members of the similar "Bharat Army".