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:
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From 1970 to 1979, Pakistan played over 13 Test series, which they won 3, lost 5 and drew 5. In total of 41 Test matches, Pakistan won 6, lost 12 and drew 23. They had a below par performance. But from 1980 to 1989, they did better. Out of 21 Test series they have played from that period, they won 9, lost 5 and drew 7. In terms of matches, they played total of 72 matches, winning 20 and losing 12 with 40 draws. In 1987, Pakistan went to India for five match series. It was Sunil Gavaskar's last test series. The first four test went draw but the final match was thriller. Pakistan scored 116 before India scored 145. Pakistan came back with 249 on board, giving the host a target of 220. India fell 16 runs short and the series was considered as one of the best India-Pakistan series. In 1988, after West Indies tour where they drew 1-1 (3), Pakistan were rated as No.1 Test team. It was one of greatest moments in their history.
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