The Unpredictables – Part V: 1980s

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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, Pakistan team is even more renowned 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)


 

Part V – 1980s: The Asian Cricket Tigers Take on the World [1981 – 1990]

In a low scoring series against West Indies (WI) Miandad had batted better than most along with Wasim Raja. However he faced acute hostility from senior players, especially his vice-captain Zaheer Abbas. Nevertheless he led Pakistan to tour of Australia in 1981-82.

Revolt against Miandad and start of Imran’s era

Pakistan played 3 tests during the tour and lost series 2-1. However, Pakistan showed great fight in third test in which 6 batsmen made fifties in first innings. Imran bowled fierce spells of bowling and Pakistan won by an innings and 82 runs. Pakistan could manage to win only 4 out of 10 round matches in Benson & Hedges ODI World Series Cup. However, the highlight of the tournament was infamous confrontation between Miandad and Denis Lillee during the first test. Lillee was fined and banned for two ODIs later. Javed remarks were: “We were after all only Pakistan and he felt he could take liberties with us.”

Denis Lillee and Javed Miandad in a fight

Denis Lillee and Javed Miandad in a fight

Sri Lanka toured Pakistan in 1981 – 82 and almost 10 senior players refused to play under Miandad’s captaincy. Miandad voluntarily stepped down after second test match. Imran was made captain which bitterly disappointed Zaheer Abbas again. Pakistan won 3-Test and 3-ODI match series 2-0 and 2-1 respectively.

It was a time for revolution in world cricket. One Day (ODI) cricket was gaining popularity day by day though Test cricket was still regarded as foremost and serious cricket. For Pakistan it was start of Imran’s era.

Imran Khan takes over

Imran Khan has been described as an authoritarian. It is true that he demanded and got his own team and selection committees all but became redundant. But he got results and no one could have accused him of being anything but fair minded. He believed in winning and was not afraid to lose. He wanted what he considered the best team. He even sacked Majid Khan, his cousin, from the team believing that the majestic batsman was past his prime. He took the Pakistan team to England in 1982, lost the series 2-1, but not without a tremendous fight that saw Pakistan win the test match at Lord’s in which Mohsin Khan scored a double century and Imran himself showed his development as an all-rounder. The lesson had been learnt. Pakistan was not to lose another test series against England, either in England or at home. Imran set about restructuring the Pakistan team. He was not afraid of raw and inexperienced youngsters and throwing them in the deep end. He believed in ‘on the job training’.

Imran Khan took 7 for 52, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Edgbaston, 1st day, July 29, 1982. (Source: ESPN Cricinfo)

Imran Khan took 7 for 52, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Edgbaston, 1st day, July 29, 1982. (Source: ESPN Cricinfo)

Mohsin Khan’s 200 vs England at Lords in 1982

The balance of power was tilting. Pakistan cricketers were no longer patronised by dominant white cricketing nations rather they came to be feared and resented. Pakistan provided cricket the flavour which Brazil provided to football. Two discoveries under Imran’s period stand out: swing blowing, reverse swing in particular, and emergence of wrist blowing in form of Abdul Qadir, an artist with the ball.

Abdul Qadir, the magician with ball

Abdul Qadir, the magician with ball

In 1982-83 Kim Hughes brought the Australians and they were thrashed 3-0 and then came India with Sunil Gavaskar as captain. It was Imran’s first real test and he came off with flying colours. Pakistan decimated India, winning the series three-nil. However, by now Imran was experiencing recurring pain in his left shin.

Cricket World Cup 1983

Three months after tour of India the x-rays revealed a huge crack on the shinbone of Imran. He needed a period of rest and recuperation. But selectors insisted on keeping him in the team and he was to play as batsman only in World Cup 1983.

The teams line up at Lord's before the 1983 World Cup (Source: ESPN Cricinfo)

The teams line up at Lord’s before the 1983 World Cup (Source: ESPN Cricinfo)

Pakistan stumbled through the qualifying round. Near the end of the group matches Pakistan needed to beat New Zealand with a good run rate in order to qualify for semi-final. A masterful century by Zaheer and Imran’s 79 not out brought Pakistan on 261. New Zealand gave a tough competition to Pakistan, With help of good deep fielding Pakistan defeated New Zealand by just 11 runs, edging it out on run rate by only 0.08 runs per over.

The victory took Pakistan to a semi-final against their regular nemesis, WI. Pakistan set a target of 185 only which WI strolled to for loss of just 2 wickets. Imran drew fierce criticism back in Pakistan, especially when India won the World Cup with just putting on 183 runs.

However, this world cup had a moment left till the end which would turn out to be one of the historic ones for Pakistan. It was lunch time the day after India’s victory at Lord’s in 1983 when the President of BCCI, NKP Salve was seething over the rejection of this request for four tickets for his party. Salve speculated what would have happened if the final had been held in India. Nur Khan, the counterpart of BCCP picked up the cue instantly: ‘Why can’t we play the next World Cup in our countries?’ The two men put tireless efforts later on to bring the World Cup to Indo-Pak sub-continent.

NKV Salve

NKV Salve

Air Chief Marshal Malik Noor Khan

Air Chief Marshal Malik Noor Khan

The darkest hour for Imran and emergence of Wasim Akram

Imran skipped Pakistan’s tour of India in 1983-84 and Zaheer captained the team and did well enough to draw all the tests. Imran was back to take Pakistan to Australia but did not play in the first three test matches, still nursing his stress-fractured shin but he played in the last two test matches as a batsman and came close to scoring a century at Melbourne. The captaincy alternated between Zaheer and Miandad.

Zaheer Abbas

Zaheer Abbas

Pakistan achieved its first ever series win against England when England toured Pakistan in 1983-84. India toured in October 1984 which proved to be dull series and was called off mid-way due to assassination of Indira Gandhi. New Zealand (NZ) team followed and Pakistan won the test series 2-0. The series was marred by controversies as NZ consistently complained about questionable decisions of Pakistani Umpires.

Ian Botham wonders how to put all his luggage into the car before departing on England's tour of Fiji, New Zealand and Pakistan, December 28, 1983

Ian Botham wonders how to put all his luggage into the car before departing on England’s tour of Fiji, New Zealand and Pakistan, December 28, 1983

Pakistan had a return trip to New Zealand only weeks later, Javed replaced Zaheer as captain and his first move was to insist inclusion of Wasim Akram in touring party, who was performing well in domestic circuit. The third test produced the first great performance by Wasim, only his 2nd match, taking 5 wickets in each innings. However, match ended in heartbreak for him. Pakistan was without Qadir in this match who had a row with Zaheer and was sent home. He muttered threats of retirement but some of his great days were still ahead.

Imran remained under treatment in England during this whole period. He feared his career was over as the proposed treatment was a new invention and very expensive.

 The return of Khan and the most famous shot in the history of the cricket

After expensive and lengthy treatment Imran returned to the national team in tournament to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cricket Association, where he partnered Wasim Akram for the first time. This began the second great blowing partnership of Imran’s career.

Wasim Akram, the greatest left arm bowler of all time

Wasim Akram, the greatest left arm bowler of all time

Meanwhile, one-day internationals had become a regular feature of cricket and when cricket came to the desert in Sharjah U. A. E., Pakistan and India met regularly before highly partisan expatriate crowds. Zaheer had retired. Imran Khan was the captain again.

It is said that the game of cricket is never over till the end and it truly has provided some great thrills but not more than Miandad’s last ball six against India that won Pakistan the match and drove the Pakistani fans into euphoria. It was the final of Austral-Asia Cup in 1986 at Sharjah. It is possibly the best remembered six in cricket history and the most rewarding one financially for Miandad.

The most important and exhilarating year of Pakistan’s cricket

Pakistan now faced what would become the most elated year in the nation’s cricket history. Imran was about to embark on a cricketing journey that would make or break his reputation as a player and as a captain.

Mighty WI toured Pakistan in 1986-87. The test series ended in 1-1 draw and Pakistan lost the ODI series 4-1. The stand out moment of this series was when very talented Salim Malik came out to bat with broken arm in 2nd innings of first test match at Faislabad. With plaster on his left arm, Malik batted only with right arm and hung on for a 32 run last wicket partnership with Wasim Akram who made an important half century and allowed Pakistan to win the match.

Cricket’s first decisive step towards putting an end to the age-old accusations that had marred home umpiring came on November 7, 1986, when Indian umpires VK Ramaswamy and Piloo Reporter stood in second Test against WI in Lahore. The move was plotted by Imran, who was sick of the criticism after every series in Pakistan. A few years later ICC realised that that’s the way forward when neutral umpires started officiating the matches.

India did not return the compliment of neutral umpires when Pakistan toured India in 1986-87, lasting 2 months in blistering hot weather. This was a difficult series because of the renewed border tensions between the two countries, leading to occasional crowd troubles, in which Pakistan boundary fielders were hit by stones and fruit. In the 4th test they took to wearing helmets in the deep to protect themselves.

Pakistan took the ODI series 5-1. India’s one win came fortuitously from Abdul Qadir, who ran himself out when the scores were level off the last ball. In the excitement, he had forgotten the rules. Pakistan would have won if he had kept his wicket intact.

The first four tests conformed to the recent pattern and were high scoring draws. The fifth and deciding test match at Bangalore, in which India chased 221 for a 4th innings victory, was one of the greatest in history. Worried by vanishing crowds, the authorities left the pitch underprepared to produce some kind of result. As a consequence, Pakistan’s selectors made a crucial last minute decision, with Iqbal Qasim coming in for Abdul Qadir. After many seesaw moments Pakistan eventually set a target of 221 runs to win for India on now a spiteful pitch. They almost got there as Gavaskar gave a masterclass in footwork and timing against the Pakistan spinners. He had reached 96 when Iqbal produced a ball which bounced violently and had him caught at slip. Withstanding a late desperate charge from Roger Binny, Pakistan won a gripping match by 16 runs. It was only Pakistan’s third overseas series win, and on return the team received extravagant public congratulations and welcome with crowd that stretched from airport to the heart of Lahore city.

Iqbal Qasim (Source: ESPN Cricinfo)

Iqbal Qasim (Source: ESPN Cricinfo)

The team then went to England and there was noticeable tension between the teams, and the English media were nastier than usual. Arriving at Heathrow the team was humiliatingly held up and made to stand aside, with other passengers looking on, while sniffer dogs went through their luggage. It was obvious that it was not going to be an easy tour.

Pakistan lost the ODI Texaco Trophy narrowly, by 2 matches to 1, inspite of a century and two fifties from Miandad.  The first two tests were drawn mainly because of rain but the sun was shining at Headingly and England won the toss and decided to bat on a wicket that had pace and bounce and a great deal of seam movement. Imran struck immediately and by lunch Pakistan had seized control of the match. It was a control they were not going to let go off. Pakistan bowled out England for 134 and at one stage for 31 for 5. The Pakistani fast bowlers, Imran, Wasim, and Mohsin Kamal were on a rampage, getting three wickets each. Pakistan went on to make 353 with help of Salim Mailik’s 99. It was a commanding lead and Imran was in his element as he ripped through England taking 7 wickets for 40. Pakistan won by an innings and 18 runs. England had been outplayed.

Wasim Akram bowls, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Old Trafford, 3rd day, June 6, 1987 (Source: ESPN Cricinfo)

Wasim Akram bowls, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Old Trafford, 3rd day, June 6, 1987 (Source: ESPN Cricinfo)

Pakistan manager Ahsan Haseeb talks to captain Imran Khan, August 5, 1987 (Source: ESPN Cricinfo)

Pakistan manager Ahsan Haseeb talks to captain Imran Khan, August 5, 1987 (Source: ESPN Cricinfo)

In the final test at The Oval, Pakistan batted for two and a half days, making 708 with Miandad scoring 260 and Salim Malik 102, while Imran helped himself to a blistering 118. It was a mammoth total and England folded up, this time to spin and were bowled out for 240. Qadir, the leg spinner, the magician and the world’s best taking seven for 96. England followed on but helped by some dour batting and a few dropped catches were able to hold out for draw.

This was the first Pakistan team to overcome England in England. Imran was now at his Zenith, indisputably the world’s best all-rounder. Everyone expected him to lead the team to victory in the forthcoming World Cup – the first to be held on home soil.

Cricket World Cup 1987

Before a ball was bowled, the 1987 World Cup was a massive victory for Pakistan. In alliance with India they wrested the competition from English hands and shifted it to the Indian subcontinent. Both countries had to over-come deep seated prejudice about their ability to finance and organise a major international tournament. Nur Khan and Salve worked successfully on their respective governments to release foreign exchange for the World Cup project and invest in infrastructure. Reliance Industries of India put up Rs 70 million which enabled BCCP & BCCI to promise 50% more prize money that their English rivals. Another major objection by England of early twilight in Indian sub-continent was put to rest by reducing ODI to 50 overs a side than 60. The Indo-Pak bid won by 16 votes to 12. The fourth World Cup was more widely watched, more closely fought and more colourful than any of its three predecessors held in England. Significantly, it used neutral umpires.

In Pakistan expectations were immense. Led by Imran, they had their best-ever ODI side to-date. Pakistan played all their group matches at home, gaining five victories out of six. Amid overpowering national expectations, Pakistan took on Australia in the semi-final at Lahore. Australia batted solidly, until Imran’s second spell produced 3 for 17. Steve Waugh took 18 of the last over of the innings bowled by inexperienced left-arm seamer, Saleem Jaffer, which turned out to be difference in the end. Pakistan once again succumbed to the pressure of a semi-final. Chasing 267, Miandad and Imran resurrected the innings after an early collapse, but once the former was out it was a matter of time before the innings folded. Craig McDermott took the maiden 5-wicket haul of the tournament at Lahore to kill a nation’s dream and Pakistan lost the match by 18 runs. Public was utterly disappointed. Immediately after the tournament Sarfraz Nawaz, now a member of parliament, laid charges that match had been thrown to facilitate a betting coup. Players took him to court but action eventually died due to delay of judicial system. It set a pattern for the future, in which Pakistan defeats were assumed to be the result of match-fixing.

Australia, winners of world cup 1987

Australia, winners of world cup 1987

It was not perfect moment but Imran nevertheless chose to retire from cricket. The death of his mother Shaukat, from cancer in 1985, had had a profound effect on him and there already intimations that his life was to involve more than cricket. As was now customary, Miandad became captain.

The Shakoor Rana incident – the history repeats itself

The Pakistan-India cricket series are always fuelled with passion and drama, However, ironically there is another rivalry in cricket which has produced more drama and controversies both on and off the field i.e. Pakistan vs England. It all started from the abduction of umpire Idrees Baig in 1955-56 and during England’s tour of Pakistan in 1987-88, the history repeated itself.

England stayed behind to tour Pakistan, a tour whose memory will live in infamy. Even before it began, the tour looked like a mistake. It attracted little interest from Pakistani fans, coming so soon after the disappointment of the World Cup. Still smarting from the series lost in England, it was apparent that there was no love lost between the two teams.

Pakistan won the first test match at Lahore amidst mutterings from the English about poor umpiring. but it was during the second test match at Faisalabad that the tension boiled over. In what came to be known as the Shakoor Rana-Mike Gatting slanging match, there was a hot exchange and much finger-wagging between the umpire and the England captain. Play was suspended the next day because of prolonged parleys centred on the demand by umpire Rana for an unconditional apology from Gatting. The visiting media had a field day as they tried to dowse the fire with petrol! The apology was finally given and play was resumed and the tour continued.

http://tune.pk/video/3141413/cricket-fight-mike-gatting-vs-pakistan-umpire-shakoor-rana

England would not play another Test series against Pakistan for five years, and would not visit the country again for thirteen years. The morally troubled England team faced a dismal future in the wake of Shakoor Rana affair. Pakistan, on the other hand, were going from strength to strength, and greatness lay ahead.

Come back of Imran, whingeing Aussies and the tumultuous political arena

Pressure was mounting on Imran to comeback. BCCP formally asked him, he declined. A series was looming against the West Indies and General Zia uttered a personal plea. Eventually Imran was unable to resist. He realised that his campaign for a cancer hospital in Lahore would be better served if he continued in international cricket. Miandad resigned, once again showing extraordinary grace, self-knowledge and understanding.

The home record of WI in the 1980s was awe-inspiring. In 1987-88, Pakistan arrived to play a team that had not lost a series in 15 years, or a Test in ten. A whole generation had grown up not knowing what defeat meant. The Pakistanis were up against habit as much as anything else. Yet they were the most fancied to turn the tide. Imran’s return began dreadfully as the WI whitewashed Pakistan 5-0 in the ODI series.

Team’s morale was low before the first test in Georgetown but Imran produced outstanding spell of bowling of 7 for 80 resulting WI all out for 292. Pakistan were 57-2 when Miandad arrived and faced a barrage of bouncers and bad language, the stimulus he needed to raise his game. He made a gritting century and was supported by Salim Yousuf (62), Shoaib Muhammad (46) and then the record score of 71 extras. Pakistan got lead of 143. In the end Pakistan needed only 30 in second winnings and won the match by 9 wickets. It was the WI’s first home defeat for a decade. The three match series ended in 1-1 draw. Players who took part in that series still relish it memories and consider it one of the best played series.

Qadir was in the thick of the action, with ball, bat ... and fists © Getty Images

Qadir was in the thick of the action, with ball, bat … and fists © Getty Images

Perhaps the most ill-timed tour in Pakistan’s cricket history, by Australia in September and October 1988 was also one of the more unfortunate exercises in cricketing diplomacy. For the second consecutive series in Pakistan, the visiting team was virulent in its criticism of the pitch and the standard of the umpiring during the first Test match of a series. As they had against England the previous year, Pakistan won by an innings, with 17 Australian wickets falling to their spin bowlers. The remaining two Tests were then drawn and the series won 1-0.

However, there were other factors contributing to the tour’s failure to excite more than controversy. The death in a plane crash of General Zia ul-Haq, the President of Pakistan, in August had unsettled the country, with fears of rioting and civil war being expressed. Furthermore, the political parties were preparing for the general election in mid-November. Karachi and Hyderabad were in the grip of ethnic violence, which resulted in the cancellation of the two one-day internationals scheduled for those cities on October 14 and 15 respectively, while the first international of the intended three-match series, at Gujranwala on September 30, had to be called off because floods affected a vast area of the Punjab and Sindh. In their place, an ODI was played at Lahore after the Test match there.

15

Benazir Bhutto’s PPP won the largest no, of seats, 94, in the National Assembly elections in November and became first woman to rule Pakistan, or indeed any Muslim state. In the provincial elections, the Muslim League under Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz, took power in Punjab. The inaugurated a long period of political fight between two parties for the next 10 years.

Benzair Bhutto taking oath as Prime Minister after elections of 1988

Benzair Bhutto taking oath as Prime Minister after elections of 1988

In 1990, Benazir’s political fortunes waned sharply. She clashed repeatedly with the conservative president Ishaq Khan, who eventually dismissed her and her government in favour of Nawaz Sharif’s Muslims League. Nawaz Sharif succeeded Benazir Bhutto as prime minister in November 1990.

Nawaz Sharif taking oath as Prime Minister after elections of 1990

Nawaz Sharif taking oath as Prime Minister after elections of 1990

Pakistan’s cricket administration was unaffected by these changes. In spite of Arif Abbasi’s successful commercial initiatives and the success of 1987 World Cup, Pakistan cricket was not a major source of income or patronage. Both Benazir and later Nazwaz Sharif left in place Zia’s nominee as chairman of the cricket board, General Zahid Ali Akbar Khan.

Another World Cup was knocking on the doors, this time to be held in Australia and New Zealand. However, Pakistan cricket team was in disarray going into the 1992 World Cup.

 

Wisden’s Player of Year during decade of 80s: Javed Miandad (1982), Imran Khan (1983), Salim Malik (1988)

Continued…

 

Next in ‘The Upredictables’ series: 1990s: Triumphs, Fight backs and Controversies 


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 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.

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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.

MCC vs Rest of the World: A Cricket Extravaganza of Stars and Legends

FIFA World Cup 2014 fever has gripped the whole world since June 12, 2014. From young to old, everyone is following the World Cup with zeal and only talk about the on-going tournament and who will reign supreme in Brazil. Even the biggest Tennis Grand Slam Tournament of the year, Wimbledon, has been overshadowed by football World Cup.

One event which I hope does not get eclipsed by the World Cup is cricket match between MCC XI and Rest of the World XI on July 5, 2014 at Lord’s cricket stadium. For cricket lovers, particularly Pakistani cricket fans who have been starving for cricket for past few months, it is a star studded even not to be missed.

The match is a part of bicentenary celebrations at Lord’s i.e. celebration of 200 years of cricket at Lord’s. The game is to be played as a fifty over contest between a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) side and Rest of the World side, with both teams comprising some of the former legends of the game as well as current stars.

The captains of the two teams are particularly eye-catching, two of the greatest on field rivals in cricket. MCC XI will be led by leading Test run scorer of all time, the Maestro Sachin Tendulkar. On the other hand Rest of the World XI will be led by one of the greatest bowlers of all time, the Spin Doctor Shane Warne. In late nineties and early twenties, one on one contest between Sachin and Warne was the sight every cricket fan used to relish watching.

The event is being eagerly anticipated by cricket fans around the world, with the match being a unique chance to watch the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara play together versus the genius of Shane Warne and Muttiah Murlidharan. The match boasts of a total Test experience of 1,764 caps – MCC XI with 937 and Rest of World XI with 827 Test appearances respectively. Representation of each country in this game will be as follows: Australia:6; India:4; Pakistan: 3; England:3; West Indies:3; SriLanka:1; New Zealand:1 and Bangladesh:1.

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Let’s have a look at the two teams who will compete with each other in this mouth-watering contest:

MCC XI

The side is packed with some great legend and stars of the game. The team will be led by Sachin Tendulkar who will have fellow legends like Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid and Shivnarine Chanderpaul for company – a batting line up one can only dream of. Australia’s one day and T20 sensation Aaron Finch will provide fire power to this batting line up by opening the innings.

There can be no doubt that on paper, the MCC XI batting line-up remains superior, however, make no mistake about their bowling line up. The pace battery of the team includes the speedster Brett Lee, the express Shaun Tait and the Gulldozer Umer Gul. All of them are excellent and effective one-day pace bowlers. And to bamboozle the batsmen with spin, Saeed Ajmal and Daniel Vettori will provide the x-factor. Frustrating back injury had kept Vettori out of the New Zealand squad for quite some time. However, the magician Saeed Ajmal is bamboozling the batsmen all around the world with his armoury of spin variations.

Former England wicket keeper, Chris Read, will perform the duties with gloves. All in all the MCC XI is a very well balance side. Here is list of complete team of MCC XI:

MCC XI: Sachin Tendulkar (IND) (capt), Saeed Ajmal (PAK), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (W.I), Rahul Dravid (IND), Aaron Finch (AUS), Umar Gul (PAK), Brian Lara (W.I), Brett Lee (AUS), Chris Read (ENG), Shaun Tait (AUS), Daniel Vettori (NZ).

Rest of the World XI

An equally star studded team will be led by Sharne Warne, perhaps the best captain Australia never had. Warne is the bowler with the second most Test wickets in the history of the game but fear not – the man leading the charge may well be turning the ball the same way but from the other end. Yes, Sri Lankan spin genius Muttiah Muralitharan will be bowling in tandem with the Australian legend as the Rest of the World look to knock out their hosts with a spin bowling master class. The two spin greats will be supported by two very potent pacers: Peter Siddle and Tino Best.

The batting line up of Rest of World is full of fire power. With the bat, the Rest of the World brags the likes of wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist, swashbuckling former Indian opener Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen, who will be eager to serve up a reminder of the talent England are missing out on. Bangladesh’s very talented batsman Tamim Iqbal will further consolidate the batting line up. Paul Collingwood with his all-round skill of batting, bowling provides perfect balance to the side.

But hold on, that’s not all. The Rest of World XI has also got one star player, the crowd puller, the fans’ favourite, Boom Boom Afridi. The firepower of Shahid Afridi will be a perfect impetus to the contest. Here is list of complete team of Rest of World:

REST OF THE WORLD XI: Shaune Warne (AUS) (capt), Shahid Afridi (PAK), Tino Best (W.I), Paul Collingwood (ENG), Adam Gilchrist (AUS), Tamim Iqbal (BAN), Muttiah Muralitharan (S.L), Kevin Pietersen (ENG), Virender Sehwag (INDI), Peter Siddle (AUS), Yuvraj Singh (IND).

It promises to be a fantastic day of cricket, turning Lord’s into memory lane. Although the day clashes with the quarter finals of FIFA World Cup, but I hope no cricket fan will afford to miss out watching this contest.

Ahead of the game, fans from across the world are supporting their favourite team with either #teamsachin or #teamshane on social media. Who are you supporting?