Sarfraz Nawaz is a fast bowler from Pakistan. He is considered one of the pioneers of “reverse swing” bowling.
The Lahore born Sarfraz Nawaz began his career at the age of 20. His dismal performance in the first test against England played at Karachi saw him out of the national team for the next four years. He then made a remarkable come back when he performed brilliantly with both bat and ball against Australia in the 1972-73 series. As a matter of fact his best performances have been against Australia. In the Melbourne Test in 1978-79, Australia needed only 77 runs to win and had 7 wickets in hand. Sarfraz Nawaz claimed those seven wickets conceding only one run in 33 balls to give Pakistan a memorable and almost impossible victory. Overall he took 9 wickets for 86 runs; the best performance by a Pakistani bowler against Australia and the fifth best performance in test cricket.
Sarfraz Nawaz mastered the reverse swing and passed it on to his peer (Imran Khan) and his successors. Sarfraz Nawaz saved Pakistan many times with both ball and bat. A bowling genius, he could seam the ball in both directions but he was also a temperamental person who was often in trouble due to his reckless behavior.
After retiring from cricket, he entered politics and served as an MPA (Member of Provincial Assembly) for three years. He later became a cricket commentator.
Majid Khan; a brilliant batsman from Pakistan made his debut against Australia in Karachi in 1964. His father Jahangir Khan used to play cricket for India .Majid’s cousins Imran Khan and Javed Burki were also cricketers.
Majid Khan began his career as a pace bowler but back injury and a dubious bowling technique turned him into an occasional off-spinner and a batsman. Now more focused on batting, Majid Khan soon became brilliant with the bat. He came into limelight when he hit 5 sixes in an over off the bowling of Roger Davis of Glamorgon. He faced the fast bowlers comfortably and one of his career best performances is against the West Indies (1976-77). Majid Khan scored 530 runs in 5 tests in that particular series against an intimidating West Indies team. His highest score in that series was 167 runs in the Georgetown test and he also managed to take 4 wickets for 45 runs in that particular test. Majid Khan played for a couple of English counties, Queensland Australia and domestic teams like PIA, Rawalpindi and Punjab. His best ODI performance was 109 runs against England at Oval in 1974.
Majid Khan used to open the innings for Pakistan along with Sadiq Mohammad; together the couple gave a stable start to the team. Majid Khan played a total of 63 tests for Pakistan and scored 3931 runs (8 centuries) at an average of 38.92. Hid ODI figures are 786 runs in 23 matches with an average of 37.42. Majid Khan has an impressive first class record of more than 27,000 runs with 73 centuries and 128 fifties.
The Khan family became the second after the Headleys (from West Indies) to have three generations of test cricketers when Majid’s son Bazid Khan made his test debut in 2005. Although retired Majid is still actively involved in cricket.
Fazal Mahmood was one of the finest cricketers Pakistan had produced. Born in 1927, Fazal Mahmood showed interest in cricket from a very early age and encouraged by his father Fazal Mahmood grew up to become a bowling wizard. Before the creation of Pakistan, Fazal played for North India. His outstanding performance in matches earned him a place in the Indian squad which was to tour Australia; however the partition of India was announced and Fazal Mahmood opted for Pakistan.
Fazal Mahmood helped in popularizing cricket in Pakistan. His bowling spell against the visiting MCC convinced the kingmakers at Lords to grant test status to Pakistan. Fazal Mahmood thus made his test debut in 1952 against India. The highlight of his career remains the test at Oval England in 1954 when Fazal took 12 wickets for just 99 runs. Beating the kings at their own game was a big achievement for the newcomers (Pakistanis).
In his career, Fazal Mahmood captured a total of 139 wickets in the 34 test matches he played averaging 24.7 runs. Fazal was a medium fast bowler who specialized in leg cutters and break backs. He is also the only bowler to take 12 wickets in a series 4 times. Fazal Mahmood was chosen as the Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1955 for his outstanding performance at the Oval making him the first Pakistani to receive the honor.
He reached the 100 wicket mark in 22 tests. He also led Pakistan in 10 test matches. After retirement Fazal Mahmood served as a National Selector.
Asif Iqbal is a former Pakistani cricketer. Soft spoken, gentle yet compelling, graceful and elegant are some phrases which describe his personality and his batting style.
A great batsman, Asif saved the blushes of Pakistan many a times with his aggressive yet sensible batting. He often came at moments when half of Pakistan’s team was back in the dressing room with a poor score on the scoreboard. Asif batted with tactic and saved the team from a humiliating innings defeat. Although he scored many centuries in his career, his score of 146 not out in the ninth wicket paternership with Intikhab Alam remains the highlight of his career. Playing against England, Pakistan was 68 for 8 and needed 159 runs. The pair scored 190 runs; a world record for ninth wicket partnership.
Asif was a useful bowler too; he was a right armed medium pacer who took wickets at crucial moments. His career best bowling remains 5 wickets for 48 runs. Asif Iqbal played first class cricket for the English county; Kent where he made useful contributions with both bat and ball. Asif Iqbal was a dedicated player who always kept his team above his personal records. Asif Iqbal played 58 test matches and made 3575 runs (11 centuries included) with an average of 38.85 runs.
Charming and polite, Asif Iqbal belonged to the rare breed of “gentlemen cricketers” who have now become extinct. Asif was named the “Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968” and was the recipient of the Pride of Performance award from the government of Pakistan.
Maqsood Ahmed was a useful all rounder in the first ever cricket team of Pakistan. Before the creation of Pakistan, he played for Southern Punjab in India. He scored a century in his very first match. An aggressive hitter of the ball, Maqsood played a vital role in the recognition of Pakistan as test playing nation when he remained unbeaten on 137 against the visiting MCC.
Maqsood was a hard hitter of the ball and is one of the cricketers who got out on 99 runs. Though a brilliant batsman, his performance in test matches was rather irregular because of his carefree attitude. The English press dubbed him Merry Max. As a test player he only played 16 matches scoring a total of 507 runs. He was also a right arm medium bowler with 3 wickets in test matches to his credit. His first class record is better with 3815 runs in 85 matches including 6 centuries. He took 124 wickets with 7 for 39 being his best bowling figures.
After retiring from cricket, Maqsood Ahmed worked as a commentator and sports journalist. Although his playing time has ended many decads back, he is still respected for his talent. He was also one of the selectors of Pakistan Board in 1981-82. Maqsood Ahmed passed away on 4th January 1999 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Wasim Hasan Raja was a Pakistani cricketer known for his stylish batting and bowling.
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.
Mudassar Nazar was the opening batsman of the Pakistani cricket team. Mudassar is the son of Nazar Mohammad also an opener who also has the honor of being the first centurion of Pakistan. Following his father’s footsteps, Mudassar also carried the bat against India.
Being the son of a first class cricketer, cricket was in Mudassar’s veins. Since childhood he was interested in cricket. His interest turned into obsession fueled by the company of cricket greats like Fazal Mahmood, Hanif Mohammad, and A. H Kardar; all ex colleagues of his father. At the age of 10 he was sure that he would someday be a test player.
Mudassar Nazar made his cricket debut against Australia at Adelaide in 1976-77. Mudassar along with his partner gave a solid start to the Pakistani team. He was also a useful bowler and took crucial wickets when the main bowlers failed. Mudassar has a number of records to his credit; he scored the slowest century ever in Test and First Class cricket. He took 557 minutes to reach the triple score against England at Lahore. He along with Javed Miandad scored a 451 third wicket partnership against India in Hyderabad. His career best performance with the bat and the ball came against England in 1982. He made a record by scoring 4 centuries in that series and his brilliant bowling earned him the nickname of “Man with Golden Arm”. The English press also dubbed him as the secret weapon of Pakistan. Like his father, Mudassar also carried the bat; another record in cricket history.
Mudassar retired from test cricket in 1989. Since then he has served as a coach to Pakistani, Kenyan and other teams. The government of Pakistan honored the brilliant player with Pride of Performance award in 1989.
Imran Khan is one of the finest cricketers of Pakistan. He has the honor of bringing the World Cup home in 1992 as he was the captain of the victorious team.
Imran Khan was basically a fast bowler; his association with the Australian Kerry Packers honed his bowling skills and speed. Imran later perfected his batting and in the later stage of his career emerged as an all-rounder; deadly with the ball, lethal with the bat. He could effectively swing the ball and deliver deadly bouncers to scare his opponents. With Imran on one end and fellow fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz at the other, Pakistan always stood a chance of a comprehensive victory.
Although Imran has bowled well throughout his career but captaincy brought out the best in him. He is one of the most successful captains of Pakistan. Under his captaincy, Pakistan won the series against England on the English soil with Imran Khan excelling with 10 wickets for 77 runs in the decisive Healingley match. Pakistan managed to draw series against West Indies who at that time annihilated their opponents completely. His team was also victorious against arch rivals India on many occasions. The climax of Imran’s career remains the victory in the 1992 World Cup Tournament. Pakistan emerged as underdogs to clinch the crystal trophy. Imran Khan announced his retirement from cricket after the World Cup and concentrated on the building of a cancer charity hospital; the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital named after his mother who lost her life battling against the deadly disease.
Imran Khan was always in the news for some reason or the other. His charismatic personality won him many female fans. Imran married an English girl half his age in 1995. The couple had two sons but sadly could not live happily ever after mostly due to the yawning cultural gap between the two.
Imran has received Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Pakistani civilian award), the President’s Pride of Performance Award and many other awards and honors. He has been inducted in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and stands 8th on the list of all time greats of the ESPN Legends of Cricket. Imran is one of the eight all-rounders of the world to have achieved the Triple in Tests matches with 3807 runs and 362wickets.
Imran Khan later turned to politics and launched Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, a political party with the aim of redressing the grievances of the Pakistani people.