The Unpredictables – Part IV: 1970s

Featured Image

Pakistan as a country has been through a number of highs and lows since traumatic partition in 1947 and its cricket has followed the similar pattern, showing how this sport is embedded in social, political and cultural facets of the country. Initially dispersed, unrecognised, underfunded and weak, Pakistan’s cricket team grew to become a major force in world cricket. If cricket is known for its glorious uncertainties, our team is even more notorious for its unpredictability. In this series of blogs we shall dig into social, political, cultural and sporting history of cricket in Pakistan.

Read previous parts here:

 Part I – 1940s: Partition and Founding Stones of Cricket in Pakistan (1947 – 1950)

 Part II – 1950s: Pakistan announces itself to cricket world (1951 – 1960) 

Part III – 1960s: The Lost Decade (1961 – 1970)


Part IV – 1970s: Revival of Pakistan cricket (1971 – 1980)

Pakistan a nation was at its lowest ebb since gaining independence. The political turmoil continued to worsen after the general elections of 1970. All the prospects of political compromise remained poor as Sheikh Mujib remain adamant on his demand for near-total independence: East Pakistan would run all its affairs, including trade and defence, with the sole exception of foreign policy. Bhutto rejected these demands and Six-Point Charted of Awami League. General Yahya suspended the National Assembly in March 1971 with no dates for its restoration. Sheikh Mujib called for civil disobedience and Yahya announced him traitor and ordered Pakistan army to reconquer East Pakistan. East Pakistan fell into civil war.

Sheikh Mujib and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

Sheikh Mujib and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

General Yahya Khan

General Yahya Khan

Pakistan’s tour of England and disappearance of East from Pakistan

Pakistan’s tour of England in 1971, in doubt until the last moment because of the threat of demonstrations and the political situation in Pakistan, was an undoubted success from the playing point of view, even if the Test series was lost by a bare defeat with two matches drawn.

19-year-old Imran Khan being introduced to the Queen of England by skipper Intikhab Alam, 1971

19-year-old Imran Khan being introduced to the Queen of England by skipper Intikhab Alam, 1971

The tour saw the launching of a new batting star who would dominate the Pakistan cricket scene for many years. Zaheer Abbas was then a bespectacled gangly young man who resembled an absent-minded professor. In the first test match at Edgbaston he scored 274, an innings that had experts in rapture. Pakistan scored 608-7 in first innings and made England follow on for the first time against Pakistan. Pakistan ware on the edge of a famous victory, but rain and bad light interfered heavily with the last two days and match was abandoned with England five wickets down and 26 behind.

Zaheer Abbas

Zaheer Abbas

Pakistan lost the series narrowly losing at Leeds, after many twists and turns, by 24 runs but Pakistan had done enough to earn the respect of the cricket world. One other player made his test debut on this tour. A schoolboy called Imran Khan. He bowled fast with a slinging action, with control on neither length nor line. The potential was evident but no one could have foretold that he would one-day become the world’s most charismatic cricketer and who would turn around Pakistan cricket and make them world champions.

Pakistan team returned to a nation confronting mortal threat. As Indian forces gave first covert and then open support to Mukti Bahini guerrillas, Yahya Khan’s army began to lose control of East Pakistan. India declared war and its army marched into East Pakistan, where it overwhelmed the already exhausted Pakistan army in barely two weeks. On December 17, 1971, East Pakistan got separated from West Pakistan.

East Pakistan got separated from West Pakistan in 1971.

East Pakistan got separated from West Pakistan in 1971.

For the next 6 years the country and its cricket were to be run by men with powerful minds, strong personalities and a reform agenda at home and overseas, but also with a gift for making enemies: ZA Bhutto and his old friend and new political follower AH Kardar.

AH Kardar and ZA Bhutto discussing matters of state at Gaddafi stadium. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne

AH Kardar and ZA Bhutto discussing matters of state at Gaddafi stadium. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne)

Kardar in power, Crash-bang ODI cricket and re-birth of Pakistan cricket

Pakistan became cricket’s pariah nation in 1960s. Just as Bhutto rebuilt the country’s international reputation in the 1970s, so Kardar restored Pakistan as a major Test-playing nation. Kardar used his period in charge of Pakistan cricket to galvanise decisive change. He was the first serious cricketer, the first to bring energy and vision to the post, the one of the few with irreproachable personal integrity.

The musical chairs of captaincy continued. In 1972-73 Pakistan toured Australia and New Zealand, losing to Ian Chappell’s Australia by the extravagant margins of 3 – 0 but winning the series against New Zealand. For his efforts, Inthikab Alam, the captain was removed and Majid Khan appointed in his place when Tony Lewis brought an England team. But when Pakistan toured England in 1974, Inthikab Alam was restored as captain. Although the test series was drawn, the team went through the tour undefeated and winning the prudential one-day series 2-0. No other team since Donald Bradman’s all conquering Australians in 1948 had achieved this.

Majid Khan caught Marsh bowled Walker 158. Melbourne 1972. The not-out batsman is Mushtaq Muhammad. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

Majid Khan caught Marsh bowled Walker 158. Melbourne 1972. The not-out batsman is Mushtaq Muhammad. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

Sadiq Mohammad, Wasim Bari, Aftab Baloch, Zaheer Abbas, Asif Masood and Majid Khan on the 1974 tour of England. Masood, wearing the check trousers, has a bowling run-up that was compared by John Arlott to ‘Groucho Marx chasing a pretty waitress’. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

Sadiq Mohammad, Wasim Bari, Aftab Baloch, Zaheer Abbas, Asif Masood and Majid Khan on the 1974 tour of England. Masood, wearing the check trousers, has a bowling run-up that was compared by John Arlott to ‘Groucho Marx chasing a pretty waitress’. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

Cricket was changing. The one-day or limited overs cricket that had started as a sideshow was getting to be attractive but was still regarded as crash-bang cricket, a bit of a slog but it was beginning to attract crowds. The first World Cup was played in England in 1975 and Pakistan was captained by Asif Iqbal. The tournament turned out to be a disaster for Pakistan and it exited the tournament in anguish. The West Indies won the tournament in a canter.

The world cup teams pose with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and Prince Charles – Getty Images

The world cup teams pose with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and Prince Charles – Getty Images

Pakistan may have struggled on international stage but there was plenty of domestic cricket to console fans. Moreover, under Kardar the administrative structure of BCCP improved as well. His first priority was to give the Board a permanent headquarters and a well-staff secretariat, so the BCCP was moved to the newly built stadium in Lahore.

Kardar turned to Pakistan’s major banks and companies to finance Pakistan domestic cricket, built new stadium and facilities. He created new first-class and later one-day competitions. In 1974-75 Pakistan saw its first one-day competition, the Servis Cup, with 6 matches.

Kardar was the first Pakistani to play an active role at the International Cricket Conference (renamed from Imperial Cricket Conference in 1965).He brought a difference style as the time for snoring had ended and roaring had to start. He took bold steps. Idea of neutral umpires was first floated by him. Limiting bouncers in an over was also his idea. He was the first one to tackle issue of veto power of England and Australia, although it was removed in 1993. He also pushed for full membership of Sri Lanka.

Mushtaq the new captain, players’ revolt, emergence of Pakistan’s greatest batsman and end of Kardar’s era

Kardar’s ambitions suffered a blow after 1975 World Cup setback. He tried to resume cricketing relations with India but it came too soon after 1971 war, and Pakistan was left with an empty international timetable.

Gap was filled by tour of Sri Lanka which proved disastrous. Pakistan, led by Intikhab Alam, lost both ODIs where 2 test series was drawn 1-1. When New Zealand arrived in Pakistan in the autumn of 1976, he was replaced by Mushtaq Muhammad. This moved would be heavy with consequence.

Mushtaq immediately established himself as a more assertive kind of captain. He insisted on getting players he wanted and stood up for them in unimaginable ways. He has been many a time overlooked due to Pakistan’s subsequent achievements but he is one of greatest captains right along with Kardar and Imran.

When New Zealand came to Pakistan and a young Karachi lad made his test debut. His name was Javed Miandad. He announced his arrival by making 163 at Lahore on debut. He followed it up by making 206 at Karachi, the youngest player at age 19 years and 141 days to make the test double hundred. He was described as the batting find of the decade.

A young Javed Miandad on his way to notch his first Test century.

A young Javed Miandad on his way to notch his first Test century.

However, the series was overshadowed by the revolt of players led by Mushtaq Muhammad. The key demands of the players were the rise in allowances and match fee which had actually been reduced as compared to last home series against West Indies in 1974-75. Pakistan won the series but no bonus was announced by BCCP. During this period Kardar had also fallen out with Bhutto. His role in Pakistan cricket was nearly over. He was a man out of time. As a player and as an administrator, he had brought the national game he loved with such passion to hitherto unimaginable heights.

Pakistan takes on mighty Australians and West Indians

In controversial circumstances Mushtaq Muhamamd led Pakistani side to Australia in 1976-77. The most striking point was the balance between youth and age. Team had outstanding players of 60s – Majid Khan, Asif Iqbal, Wasim Bari, Zaheer Abbas and Sarfraz Nawaz who were joined by a new generation, of whom Javed Miandad and Imran Khan were soon to turn into giants.

The Pakistanis arrived with possibly the best batting combination in Test cricket, but by the time of their departure the team had in Imran Khan a fast bowler who had established himself as undoubtedly one of the finest in the world. Pakistan drew first test and lost second test badly. However the third test was a turning point.

As Sydney test, Imran unleashed a legendary spell of fast bowling. He had remodelled his action into something classical and fearless. He shot out 6 Australians supported by 3 wickets from Sarfraz. Pakistan were 111-4 when Asif Iqbal played an innings of his life making 120 runs, supported by debutant Haroon Rashid’s 57 and Miandad’s 64. With a lead of 140 Imran took a further 6 wickets to win the match.

A 19-year-old Javed Miandad gives a 23-year-old Imran Khan a shoulder massage during Pakistan's Test match against Australia in Sydney in December 1976.

A 19-year-old Javed Miandad gives a 23-year-old Imran Khan a shoulder massage during Pakistan’s Test match against Australia in Sydney in December 1976.

After proving themselves equal to challenge in Australia, Pakistan want to West Indies after 18 years which proved to an interesting series between two evenly matched teams. Each of the five Tests had its particular merit, the West Indies comfortably winning the last to secure a narrow two-one advantage in the rubber. Pakistan’s outstanding performers were the batsmen Majid Khan and Wasim Raja and the fast-medium bowlers, Imran Khan and Sarfraz Nawaz.

A WI feature on Pakistan team’s visit to a WI nightclub during the 1977 Pak-WI tour. Seen from left: Reserve wicketkeeper, Taslim Arif, Stylish Pakistani opener, Majid Khan and Pakistan fast bowler, Sikandar Bakht.

A WI feature on Pakistan team’s visit to a WI nightclub during the 1977 Pak-WI tour. Seen from left: Reserve wicketkeeper, Taslim Arif, Stylish Pakistani opener, Majid Khan and Pakistan fast bowler, Sikandar Bakht.

Pakistan cricket team in WI in 1977

Pakistan cricket team in WI in 1977

Of huge imprortance for the future, their overseas victories in Australia and West Indies were watched by viewers in Pakistan for the first time, through state television. Although most of this team had been at odds with Kardar, and ultimately driven him from office, the status they had earned for Pakistan cricket must have given him satisfaction. It was left to his successor to deal with Kerry Packer.

Coup d’etat, The Packer revolution and cricket resumes with India

Two grave crises faced Pakistan cricket. On July 5, 1977 General Zia, Chief of general staff, declared martial law, ordering arrest of Bhutto and his cabinet and promised election in 90 days. This resulted in drastic changes in management of Pakistan cricket.

The coup was accompanied by Packer revolution in cricket. In May 1977, news broke that the Australian businessman Kerry packer was to stage a breakaway competition in defiance of the national authorities. Although his initiatives were short lived, it changed cricket forever. Day-night matches, white balls, coloured kits, floodlights – the brilliance of the Packer packages permanently changed the way the game has been shown on TV and sold to public.

Source: ESPNCricinfo

Source: ESPNCricinfo

Key players went to play Kerry Packer series which included Asif Iqbal, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Haroon Rahid, Majid Khan, Mushtaq Mohammad, Sarfraz Nawaz, Taslim Arif and Zaheer Abbas. Packer players were banned. England toured Pakistan in 1977. The three test match series ended 0-0 whereas England won three match ODI series 2-1.

15

Kerry Packer

Kerry Packer

After the series lesson was learnt and ban was lifted in order to restore a strong national team. Arif Abbasi was asked to handle negotiations. He would later transform PCB and country’s cricket.

After a gap of 17 years, India led by Bishen Bedi toured Pakistan. Mushtaq Mohammad was Pakistan’s captain; the tradition of changing captains was being maintained. Pakistan won the series 2-0, a series that was dominated by Zaheer Abbas but saw two fantastic run chases at Lahore and at Karachi in which, apart from Zaheer Abbas – Asif Iqbal, Javed Miandad, and Imran were also involved. Bishen Bedi, a great left arm spin bowler is remembered in Pakistan as the bowler who was hit for two consecutive sixes by Imran Khan at Karachi and which enabled Pakistan to win the match. Sadly, Bishen Bedi lost his job as captain of India.

The Ladies stand at the Gaddafi Stadium, Pakistan v India, second Test, Lahore, October 1978-79.(Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

The Ladies stand at the Gaddafi Stadium, Pakistan v India, second Test, Lahore, October 1978-79.(Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

After the triumph over India, Mushtaq led his team to New Zealand and Australia. Pakistan won the series against New Zealand 1-0. However, the short Australian series was packed with brilliance and controversies which include infamous run out of Rodney Hogg by Javed Miandad, run-out of non-striker Sikander Bakht for backing up too far and handling the ball out of Andrew Hilditch. However, the moment of series was Melbourne Test – Australia was cruising to victory (303-3 on course for target of 382) until Sarfraz produced a sensational spell of 7 wickets for 1 run with an old ball. Later this performance would be ascribed to the fiendish Pakistani invention of reverse swing.

Pakistan falters again in World Cup and defeat in India

Politically the situation was tense in Pakistan. Since taking over General Zia had the former Prime Ministers ZA Bhutto controversially tried executed by Supreme Court on April 4, 1979. This is viewed by many as judicial murder of the most popular and strong civilian leader of Pakistan ever.

ODI was gaining popularity with each passing day. Second Cricket World Cup was held in England in 1979. Asif Iqbal was made captain for the tournament. Pakistan began with easy wins against Canada and still Packerless Australia. However, in third group match Pakistan choked after reducing England to 118-8, Bob Taylor and Bob Willis were allowed to put on 43. Pakistan collapsed to 34 for 6. Asif, Wasim Raja and Imran put on fight but Pakistan lost the match.

They were still through to semi-finals but unfortunately against WI. WI put on 293 but Pakistan got all out on 250 with 4 overs still to go.

Teams led by their captains in World Cup 1979

Teams led by their captains in World Cup 1979

Asif was most consistent performer during world cup which ensured he remained captain for tour of India. Pakistan lost the six-test series 2-0. The weakened attack never bowled out India twice and India escaped several times from losing positions. There were news of quarrels and detachment among team members. Asif lost captaincy after the series.

Javed Miandad becomes captain

Defeat by India in 1979-80 was viewed in Pakistan as a national disaster and led to changes at the top. Asif Iqbal was removed from captaincy and General Azhar Khan from BCCP’s presidency. Air Marshal Nur Khan was appointed President of BCCP. Javed Miandad was appointed Pakistan’s new captain. His reign began well; however, unfortunately he was unable to overcome the resentment of senior players later.

Javed Miandad led Pakistan against Greg Chappell’s Australians, an eminently forgettable series played on flat, lifeless pitches apart from Karachi, where Pakistan won. Greg Chappell scored a double century at Faisalabad and so did Taslim Arif for Pakistan. Denis Lille took only one wicket on that tour. A worse advertisement for test cricket was hard to imagine. The next series against West Indies was better but it was lost by Pakistan.

The world cricket had already entered into its golden era. Next task ahead for Javed Miandad was to lead his side on tour of Australia in 1981-82.

 

Wisden’s Player of Year during decade of 70s: Zaheer Abbas (1972)

 

Continued…

Next in ‘The Upredictables’ series: 1980s: The Asian cricket tigers take on the world

 


Sources:

  • Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack
  • ‘Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan’ by Peter Oborne
  • ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier
  • ESPNcricinfo archives (www.espncricinfo.com)
  • ‘Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan’ by Shaharyar M. Khan and Ali Khan
  • Imran Khan’s Autobiography ‘Pakistan: A Personal History’
  • ‘All round view’ by Imran Khan
  • ‘Controversially Yours’ by Shoaib Akhtar
  • Cricket Archive (www.cricketarchive.com)
  • PTV Sports (sports.ptv.com.pk)
  • Pakistan Cricket Board (www.pcb.com.pk)

This blog was first published on Pak Tea House: Episode 1, Episode 2.

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The Unpredictables – Part III: 1960s

Featured Image

Pakistan as a country has been through a number of highs and lows since traumatic partition in 1947 and its cricket has followed the similar pattern in direct proportion, showing how this sport is embedded in social, political and cultural facets of the country. Initially dispersed, unrecognised, underfunded and weak, Pakistan’s cricket team grew to become a major force in world cricket. If cricket is known for its glorious uncertainties, Pakistan team is even more notorious for its unpredictability. In this series of blogs we shall dig into social, political, cultural and sporting history of cricket in Pakistan.

Read previous parts here:

 Part I – 1940s: Partition and Founding Stones of Cricket in Pakistan (1947 – 1950)

 Part II – 1950s: Pakistan announces itself to cricket world (1951 – 1960) 


 

Part III – 1960s: The Lost Decade (1961 – 1970)

Pakistan cricket was now undergoing a swift decline. Pakistan entered into international cricket with a bang in 1950s. In its very first decade of cricket, it played 29 Test matches of which they won 8, lost 9 and drew 12 – an impressive beginning for the ‘babes of cricket’. Pakistan had a unique record of winning at least one test match in first series against every opponent.

1960s was a complete contrast to 1950s. Pakistan won just 2 Tests out of 30 played, both against New Zealand. 8 were lost whereas 20 were drawn. Pakistan cricket was overcome by a morbid defensiveness. Cricketers only goal was to avoid the defeat.

Pakistan in India 1960-61

Fazal Mahmood took Pakistan to India in 1960-61 and all the tests were drawn. This was one of the dullest Test series in history. The enthusiasm and expectation of the crowds contrasted with the boredom and ill-temper of the play. Wisden 1962 recorded that

‘the chief aim of the contestants appeared to be to uphold national prestige by avoiding defeat rather than to take the risk of trying to enforce a decision. Cricket was a secondary interest.’

Nari Contractor and Fazal Mahmood at toss. (Source:ESPNCricinfo)

Nari Contractor and Fazal Mahmood at toss. (Source:ESPNCricinfo)

Though there were useful contributions from Hanif Mohammad, Saeed Ahmed and Imtiaz Ahmed, the quality of cricket was poor and it was an eminently forgettable series, so much so that Pakistan and India did not play against each other for another 17 years though this had more to do with the fragile political relations between the two countries than with cricket.

Pakistan was now caught in a treacherous transition as many senior players, including great Kardar and Fazal, had retired and the new entrants lacked the experience. Almost 20 years would pass before Pakistan experienced cricketing fulfilment again.

Pakistan cricket in crises

Kardar’s team had reflected the hope, confidence and exuberance of Jinnah’s newly created Pakistan which had faded by now. Ayub Khan’s dictatorship imposed a pattern of conformism on Pakistan society that found its way onto the cricket field and did not lift until the emergence of ZA Butto and his Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) at the start of the 1970s.

In 1950s, the key to Pakistan victories was the fast bowling, as would be the case in future after 1970s. Pakistan’s best blowers in 1960s were spinners – Mushtaq Muhammad, Pervez Sajjad and Intikhab Alam. Moreover, due to financial crises many talented and ambitious players moved out of Pakistan for livelihood. Among them the prominent were Mushtaq and Khalid Ibadullah.

Pervez Sajjad

Pervez Sajjad

Mushtaq Mohammad

Mushtaq Mohammad

Khalid Ibadullah

Khalid Ibadullah

Intikhab Alam

Intikhab Alam

A further problem was lack of government support for the game. Today cricket is recognised as the national game, but it was not the case in Pakistan’s early decades. Games like Hockey and Lawn Tennis received huge grants from government whereas cricket received nothing or very less comparatively.

Pakistan found it very hard to obtain international opposition during 1960s. On average the team would play just 3 tests a year, and in both 1963 and 1966 there were no Tests at all. Fazal was written off by the selectors after the tour of India. Pakistan reverted to the situation of the late 1940s, when it was starved of international cricket and therefore dependent on wandering sides, or series against non-Test playing countries such as Ceylon or Kenya.

Pakistan’s 1962 tour of England 

For Pakistan’s tour of England in 1962, a relatively unknown Javed Burki was appointed captain. He had played for Oxford and toured India with Pakistan in 1960-61. Although Burki’s appointment proved disastrous, AR Cornelius’s choice looked sensible at that time.

Brigadier ‘Gussy’ Haider towering over the 1962 Pakistan touring team. Those standing from left to right: Javed Akhtar, Munir Malik, Imtiaz Ahmad, Captian Javed Burki, the Baggage Master, Brigadier Haider, Fazal Mahmood, Alimuddin, Mushtaq Mohammad and Nasim ul Ghani. Crouching down at the front, from left to right: Wallis Mathias, Afaq Hussain, Asif Ahmed and Intikhab Alam (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne

Brigadier ‘Gussy’ Haider towering over the 1962 Pakistan touring team. Those standing from left to right: Javed Akhtar, Munir Malik, Imtiaz Ahmad, Captian Javed Burki, the Baggage Master, Brigadier Haider, Fazal Mahmood, Alimuddin, Mushtaq Mohammad and Nasim ul Ghani. Crouching down at the front, from left to right: Wallis Mathias, Afaq Hussain, Asif Ahmed and Intikhab Alam (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne

It turned out to be a catastrophic tour and Pakistan was beaten, the only positive feature being centuries by Nasim-ul-Ghani and Burki in the Lord’s test match, which Pakistan, in any event, lost. Midway through the tour Fazal was flown to reinforce the bowling but alas he was well past it. The Oval hero of 1954 had become The Oval zero. It did no justice to this legendary bowler who perhaps should have remained retired.

After the 1962 fiasco in England, Pakistan would not be allowed by Lord’s to undertake a full five-test tour of England for about a quarter of a century. Shuja-ud-Din called it ‘the lowest and most depressing point in the history of Pakistan cricket.’

Finally some success

Hanif Mohammad was made captain of Pakistan for a short tour of Australia in 1964-65 and in the only test match played, he came within a whisker of making 100 in each innings – 103 and 93 – a performance that was warmly lauded by Sir Donald Bradman and there can be no higher praise. Pakistan team included 6 debutants and 2 of them, Asif Iqbal and Majid Khan, opened the bowling. The match ended in a draw and many viewed that Pakistan was invariably too defensive to create a real winning chance.

Asif Iqbal

Asif Iqbal

 

Majid Khan

Majid Khan

Almost immediately after the drawn game in Karachi, Hanif led Pakistan team on a 4 Test tour of Australasia – 3 matches against New Zealand and 1 against Australia. Majid Khan did not tour because, so the Australians insisted, he threw the ball.

Pakistan was insulted again by being given only one Test on their visit to Australia in 1964-65, although Australia had no other international commitments. Pakistan drew the match, thanks to two fine displays by Hanif of 104 and 93 in each innings.

The action then moved to New Zealand for a three test match series between two of the weakest cricketing nations of the world at that time. On the one hand, neither side was good enough to score many runs; On the other hand, neither side was good enough to bowl the other out. All the three tests ended in draw.

Two months later New Zealand returned to Pakistan, playing no preliminary matches and going straight into a Test at Rawalpindi. Pakistan finally tasted success by winning the match by an innings and 64 runs. Majid, after resolving his action, was back in the team but Pakistan’s match winner was the slow left-arm bowler Pervez Sajjad, who destroyed New Zealand in their 2nd innings with figures of 12-8-5-4 as New Zealand collapsed from 57-2 to 59-9. Pakistan ultimately won the series 2-0, Hanif continuing in his excellent form, making 203 in the Lahore test match. But new players were pressing their claims, chief among them Asif Iqbal and Majid Khan.

Cricket in backdrop of war

Pakistan had no chance to build on victories against New Zealand as shortly after the series war broke out with India. The War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. Between the culmination of war on September 23, 1965 and the end of the decade, Pakistan would play only 9 Test matches, 6 against England. More than 3 years would pass until Pakistan hosted another home Test, 7 years before they next played Australia, 10 years before they next played West Indies, and 13 years before their next Test against India.

An image from 1965 War between Pakistan and India.

An image from 1965 War between Pakistan and India.

Pakistan’s cricket was from this point overshadowed by political chaos. President Ayub Khan became more autocratic – continuing to rule through emergency legislation, sacking ZA Bhutto as foreign minister in 1966 and ordering arrest of Sheikh Mujib on charges of conspiring with India. The political crises and war had led to the total secession of East Pakistan from cricket.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

 

Sheikh Mujib

Sheikh Mujib

Cricket returns

Almost two years passed since the end of the war before Pakistan was presented with another chance to impress in the Test arena. By now they were the forgotten team of international cricket.

In 1967, Pakistan toured England with Hanif as captain. It was a summer of mixed fortunes. At Lord‘s, Hanif Mohammad played an innings that was out of character for him. Associated with stodginess and the ability to drop anchor and shore up the innings, Hanif made 187 not out, an innings that sparkled, that lit up Lord’s and amazed, pleasantly, his devoted fans. He batted as if he had something to prove. Considered vulnerable against genuine fast bowling, he was particularly severe on John Snow, laying to rest the myth that quick bowlers could intimidate him.

Hanif Mohammad introduces Khalid Ibadullah to the Queen at Lord’s, 1967. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne)

Hanif Mohammad introduces Khalid Ibadullah to the Queen at Lord’s, 1967. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne)

Family conference: Mushtaq, Hanif and a youthful Sadiq Mohammad pictured during the Pakistan tour of England, 1967. (Source: ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier)

Family conference: Mushtaq, Hanif and a youthful Sadiq Mohammad pictured during the Pakistan tour of England, 1967. (Source: ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier)

 That particular test match was drawn but had Pakistan gambled on taking their chances, they could have won it. They chose safety. They lost the other test matches, but at The Oval, Asif Iqbal who was mainly a bowler who could bat, played an innings of such astonishing ferocity that the jury of those who picked the man of the match had to change their candidate. Asif Iqbal made 146 and with Inthikab Alam, who made 51, put on 90 for the ninth wicket, a record. The fact that the series had been lost was forgotten in the euphoria of this innings. It was a pedigreed innings that established him as a front rank batsman.

Asif Iqbal batting during the first test against England in 1967. (Source: ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier)

Asif Iqbal batting during the first test against England in 1967. (Source: ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier)

Political turmoil and further cricket isolation

By the late 1960s, Pakistan was in the grip of two simultaneous revolutions. In the West, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto launched his PPP with an ambitious manifesto to take advantage of the growing revulsion against Ayub Khan’s faltering dictatorship. 1000 miles away in the East Pakistan, Sheikh Mujib’s Awami League (AL) dominated the political scene and was raining its demands. It drew up the Six-Point Programme, which demanded almost total economic, fiscal, legislative and military separation. Serious clashes broke out between protestors and the police and army.

It was amid of this environment national instability, great danger and looming tragedy that the 1969 MCC tour took place. Pakistan was facing the greatest crises of its short history and its survival was uncertain. For the majority of English players, the tour would provide the most terrifying days of their lives.

When Mike Smith brought the England team in 1968-69, Hanif Mohammad had been given the sack and Saeed Ahmed was appointed captain. All the three matches were drawn. The Test matches rather served as rallying points for the agitators. The tour programme was changed when MCC arrived. It was further changed to restore Dacca to the fixture list after days of political manoeuvring.

Rioting broke out on the first day of the Test in Lahore, and the match was never free from disorder. In Dacca, law and order had broken down completely. The police and military had been withdrawn, and left wing students claimed to be in control. The Second Test was understandably disturbed by rowdiness. Finally the trouble reached breaking point, even for the politicians and diplomats who were so long-suffering at the expense of others, during the Karachi Test. The match was abandoned before the first innings had been completed and the tour abruptly ended an outcome which had long appeared inevitable.

The main action was now off the pitch. An old and ill man, Ayub, who had ruled Pakistan for longer than anyone before or since, urged his commander-in-chief, Yahya Khan, to assume power and impose martial law.

New Zealand tour of Pakistan and First General Elections in Pakistan

Two domestic tournaments were used to be played during the period, Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and Ayub Trophy. 7 teams – including all 4 from East Pakistan refused to play in Ayub trophy. The find of these two tournaments was youthful, as yet uncapped, Zaheer Abbas who was leading batsman in both competitions.

Zaheer Abbas

Zaheer Abbas

New Zealand toured Pakistan in 1969-70. Pakistan had another captain, Inthikab Alam. It was in this series that the youngest of the brothers Sadiq Mohammad made his debut while his brother, the legendary Hanif retired or more probably was made to retire. It was an unworthy end to a great career but unlike army generals who just fade away, Pakistani sportsmen are simply discarded when their use-by date expires. Pakistan lost the three match series 1-0.

General elections were held for the first time in the history of Pakistan on December 7, 1970, although the polls in East Pakistan, originally scheduled for October, were delayed by disastrous floods and rescheduled for later in December and January 1971. The results of the election saw the AL win a majority of seats, 167 out of 169 seats in East Pakistan. In the West Pakistan, ZA Bhutto’s PPP surprised everyone by winning 85 seats. However, the President of Pakistan, Yahya Khan never handed power to AL, which triggered mass uprising in East Pakistan. The cricket was suffering amid this political chaos.

The Pakistan Television (PTV) election cell during general elections of 1970.

The Pakistan Television (PTV) election cell during general elections of 1970.

Wisden’s Player of Year during decade of 60s: Mushtaq Mohammad (1963), Hanif Muhammad (1968), Majid Khan (1970)

 

 

Continued…

Next in ‘The Unpredictables’ series: Part IV – 1970s: Revival of Pakistan cricket 


Sources:

  • Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack
  • ‘Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan’ by Peter Oborne
  • ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier
  • ESPNcricinfo archives (www.espncricinfo.com)
  • ‘Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan’ by Shaharyar M. Khan and Ali Khan
  • Imran Khan’s Autobiography ‘Pakistan: A Personal History’
  • ‘All round view’ by Imran Khan
  • ‘Controversially Yours’ by Shoaib Akhtar
  • Cricket Archive (www.cricketarchive.com)
  • PTV Sports (sports.ptv.com.pk)
  • Pakistan Cricket Board (www.pcb.com.pk)

This blog was first published on Pak Tea House.