Pride of Pakistan – Wasim Hasan Raja
Born in Multan on 3rd July 1952, Raja had a Master’s Degree in political science. Cricket was a family affair as his father and his brother Zaeem Raja were first class cricketers. His younger brother Rameez Raja now a commentator was also a part of the Pakistan cricket team.
Wasim Raja captained the Pakistan under-19side during his college days. Raja was a fearless left handed middle order batsman and was never intimidated by any bowler. If a bouncer was thrown at him, it was hit for a boundary. Runs came freely to this stylish stroke player. He was also leg spinner and some of his victims were great names of his time.
Though Raja has delivered match winning performance both with the bat and the ball, his career best innings came against the West Indies. West Indies at that time (1976-77) totally dominated the cricket scene and often made a quick job of their opponents. Raja scored a century in both innings of the first test which ended in a draw. Raja was the top scorer for Pakistan with 517 runs at an average of 57.4. He also took 7 wickets and hit 14 sixes; a record though equaled but not broken to date. Wasim’s record against West Indies is one of the best in the world.
Wasim Raja was unfortunately the victim of dressing room politics and was often left out of the team. After retiring from cricket, Wasim Raja obtained a certificate in education from Durham University and pursued a career in teaching at the Caterham School. He settled in England after marrying an English lady. Wasim Raja remained involved with cricket one way or the other. He coached the Pakistan’s Under 19 team, served as ICC match referee from 2002 to 2004 and played for the English county Surrey. It was during a match over-50 side that he suffered a fatal heart attack and died in 2006. Overall Raja played 57 tests and 54 ODIs for Pakistan.
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