Saqlain Mushtaq the Pakistani off spin bowler will be remembered in the history of cricket as one of the greatest off spinners of his time. A gifted bowler, Saqlain pioneered the mystery ball “doosra”. Saqlain Mushtaq produced many variations in the spin bowling technique
Saqlain Mushtaq began his career with a test and ODI career against Sri Lanka in 1995. He finished with 4 wickets in his first test series. Saqlain’s career best remains his performance against India in 1999 when he made a clean sweep and took 10 wickets in the Chennai test. Saqlain Mushtaq was the quickest to reach the 100, 150,200 and 250 wicket mark in ODIs. Saqlain also holds the distinction of being the only spin bowler to achieve a hat-trick in an ODI and one of the three bowlers to have taken two hat-tricks in ODIs; compatriot Wasim Akram and Sri Lankan Chaminda Vaas being the other two. The Wisden statistical analysis of 2003 declared Saqlain the greatest ODI spinner and the sixth greatest ODI bowler. He was the Wisden Cricketer of the year in 2000.
Saqlain had a successful association with the English County Surrey and Sussex. Saqlain Mushtaq till today is considered as one of the best in his field not only in Pakistan cricket but among other players too, coming from other cricket playing nations.
Tauseef Ahmed was a former right arm off spin bowler from Pakistan. He made his debut against Australia in Karachi and in the very first test took seven wickets thus playing a crucial role in Pakistan’s victory. His career best innings was that against Sri Lanka when he took 6 wickets while giving away only 42 runs. Another memorable innings from Tauseef Ahmed is his match winning performance against India in 1986-87. Tauseef Ahmed took 9 wickets including the prized wicket of Sunil Gavaskar whom he trapped at 96.
Tauseef Ahmed played 34 test matches and took 93 wickets including 5 wickets in an innings thrice. His ODI record shows 70 matches and 55 wickets. This crafty off spinner was called the Lionel Richie of Pakistani team because of his close resemblance to the singer. Although Tauseef Ahmed is remembered as a great off spinner, his most fond memory in Pakistan for the Pakistani cricket fan is the fact that he was at the other end of the crease when Miandad hit his famous smashing six off Chetan Sharma to defeat India in Sharjah Cup final of 1986. It was such a marvelous victory for Pakistan that still a lot of people share the details of that victory, giving due attention to the one single Tauseef took to hand over the strike to legendary Javed Miandad who struck a sixer off the last ball.
Waqar Hassan was a stylish stroke maker of Pakistan and the backbone of the Pakistan cricket team during its early days. Cricket is a passion in South Asia, and Pakistan has produced some of the finest cricketers of all time. Waqar Hassan is one of the legends of this sport in Pakistan.
Waqar Hassan made his debut at the age of 17 against India in 1952-53. Though the rest of Pakistan’s batting line up failed miserably in the third test against India, Waqar Hassan stood out with 81 runs and 65 runs respectively. He again played a match saving innings at Calcutta.
His brilliant form continued and against the New Zealand, Waqar Hassan put up a 308 run partnership with Imtiaz Ahmed when Pakistan was 6 wickets down for 111 runs. Pakistan won the match in a close finish.
being a reliable batsman, Waqar Hassan was also an agile fielder at the cover area. Waqar Hassan played 21 test matches for Pakistan and scored 1071 runs including one century. In first class cricket, he played 99 matches with 4741 runs with 8 centuries.
Waqar Hassan made an early exit from the cricket scene to concentrate on his business. He however remained associated with cricket as a member of the advisory council, selector and manager of the national team to tournaments played in Sharjah.
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.
Imtiaz Ahmed was also a member of the first ever cricket team of Pakistan. Born and educated in Lahore, Imtiaz showed interest in cricket from a very early age. In those days there was no concept of coaching; natural talent, lots of practice, tough competition at school and college level and guidance from seniors nurtured the young talent.
Imtiaz Ahmed was the first wicketkeeper of Pakistan. He was also a hard hitter of the ball with hook shots his forte. Imtiaz was a compulsive striker of the ball; a habit which cost him his wicket many times when his score was in 90s.
World records and Imtiaz Ahmed go hand in hand. He was the first wicketkeeper ever to score a double century, he holds the record of 7 catches in the match against England at the Oval in 1954, and he was also the first Asian cricketer to score a triple century against an international team. The double century against New Zealand set many records, the first wicketkeeper to score a test double, the highest eighth wicket partnership and the highest number of runs scored by a no. 8 batsman. His triple century came against the Commonwealth side which was touring India in 1951. Imtiaz was then a part of the Indian Prime Minister XI.
Imtiaz Ahmed could bat at any position from opener to number 8. He played 41 test matches for Pakistan and scored a total of 2079 runs averaging at 29.28. He took 77 catches behind the wickets and stumped 16 players.
After retiring from cricket, Imtiaz served as an administrator in the PAF School of Physical Fitness in Peshawar. He also coached the women’s cricket team which defeated West Indies and Sri Lanka. Imtiaz Ahmed was bestowed the prestigious Pride of Performance award in 1966.
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.
Zaheer Abbas is perhaps the greatest batsman Pakistan has produced. Nicknamed as the “Run Machine”, there was simply no stopping him when he settled on the crease and struck boundary after boundary watched by helpless bowlers and equally helpless fielders. He played with ease off both back foot and front foot and his stylish footwork combined with powerful wrists; perfect timing and precision made him the great run getter.
Zaheer Abbas’s career is punctuated by many records. He made his debut in test cricket in 1969 against New Zealand and his ODI debut in 1974 against England. In his second test played at Edgbaston, against England in 1971, he scored double century (274 runs); the fourth highest score by a Pakistani cricketer. The double century marked the beginning of an illustrious career in which he scored a total of 5062 runs in 78 test matches with an average of 44.79 runs. His career best include 4 double centuries two of them against England. Zaheer Abbas was associated with the English county Gloucestershire for 13 years. During this long span, he scored almost thirty five thousand runs at an impressive average of 51.54. Zaheer Abbas is also the first and only Asian cricketer so far to have score a century of centuries in first class cricket. His ODI average is 48 and he stands second on the list of All Time ICC ODI rankings.
His ability to get runs against any opposition earned him the title of Asian Bradman. Zaheer Abbas was named the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1972. The government of Pakistan in acknowledgement of his brilliance awarded him the Pride of Performance award.
Pakistan has produced some finest cricketers this sport has ever witnessed. Many records in Cricket are held by Pakistani cricketers. Some of the old cricketers are more famous than the others. Here I would like to mention two of our cricketing heroes.
Wazir Mohammad was the eldest of the four Mohammad brothers who have made numerous contributions to cricket in Pakistan.
Wazir Mohammad was one of the members of the first Pakistani cricket team. He played 20 test matches and scored 801 runs including 2 centuries; his top score being 189. The number of first class matches played by Wazir Mohammad is 105 with 4931 being the total score. He scored 11 first class centuries.
Alimuddin was an opener who played for Pakistan from 1954 till 1962. Alimuddin was an attacking opening batsman who formed a perfect opening pair with Hanif Mohammad. Alimuddin scored 103 runs in the 1954-55 series against India in Karachi. In 1962, he thrilled the audience with a 109 runs innings against England.
Alimuddin was a genius with the bat. He is the youngest person to make a debut in first class cricket. Alimuddin played his first test for Rajasthan at the age of 12 years and 73 days. Alimuddin was a powerful player but managed to make only 1091 runs in 25 test matches. His first class record shows a total of 140 matches played with 7275 runs scored.
Alimuddin later became the national coach.
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.