In the home Test series victory against Pakistan in July and August 2006, several promising new players emerged. Most notable were the left-arm orthodox spin bowler Monty Panesar, the first Sikh to play Test cricket for England, and left-handed opening batsman Alastair Cook. The 2006–07 Ashes series was keenly anticipated and was expected to provide a level of competition comparable to the 2005 series. In the event, England, captained by Flintoff who was deputising for the injured Vaughan, lost all five Tests to concede the first Ashes whitewash in 86 years.
The Pakistan national cricket team (Urdu: پاکستان قومی کرکٹ ٹیم), popularly referred to as the Shaheens (Urdu: شاہین, lit. Falcons), Green Shirts and Men in Green, is administered by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The team is a Full Member of the International Cricket Council, and participates in Test, One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International cricket matches.
ICC regulations also allow cricketers who represent associate (i.e. non-Test-playing) nations to switch to a Test-playing nation, provided nationality requirements are fulfilled. In recent years, this has seen Irish internationals Ed Joyce, Boyd Rankin and Eoin Morgan switch to represent England, whilst Gavin Hamilton previously played for Scotland – though Joyce, Rankin and Hamilton were later able to re-qualify for and represent the countries of their birth.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is the governing body of English cricket and the England cricket team. The Board has been operating since 1 January 1997 and represents England on the International Cricket Council. The ECB is also responsible for the generation of income from the sale of tickets, sponsorship and broadcasting rights, primarily in relation to the England team. The ECB's income in the 2006 calendar year was £77 million.