Sports

A Tale of 2 Keepers

Written by Omair Alavi

By: Omair Alavi Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif may not be remembered as the greatest cricketer of his generation but his heroics with the bat won many a matches for Pakistan. One such match was played in 1996 where he single handedly guided the team to an unexpected win, just like Sarfraz Ahmed did 21…

SAMAA | Omair Alavi – Posted: Jun 14, 2017 | Last Updated: 4 years ago

By: Omair Alavi

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif may not be remembered as the greatest cricketer of his generation but his heroics with the bat won many a matches for Pakistan. One such match was played in 1996 where he single handedly guided the team to an unexpected win, just like Sarfraz Ahmed did 21 years later. Let’s take a look at the similarities between the two matches, on the same day Pakistan takes on the very team Rashid Latif denied a victory – England.

Rashid Latif batting for Pakistan during the 3rd Texaco Trophy One Day International between England and Pakistan at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, 20th August 1992. Alec Stewart is the wicketkeeper for England. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Pacers keep opposition in check

1996: With a pace attack comprising of captain Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and newcomer Shahid Nazir, Pakistan kept the hosts England in check, despite opener Nick Knight’s second consecutive century. Wasim was the pick of the bowlers with 3 wickets while Saqlain chipped in with 2 valuable scalps as Pakistan dismissed England to 246.
2017: Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali (3 wickets each), Mohammad Amir and newcomer Fahim Ashraf (2 wickets each) helped Pakistan dismiss Sri Lanka for just 236 runs, which is not a small feat considering they were cruising at 161 for 3. Opener Niroshan Dickwella was the top scorer with 73 but even his heroics couldn’t guarantee a huge score for Sri Lanka.

Stellar opening partnership!

1996: The target wasn’t huge but Pakistani openers made it their responsibility to give the side an explosive start. Playing his first and only ODI, Shahid Anwar added 91 runs with Saeed Anwar, scoring 37 runs off 44 deliveries. Saeed Anwar was the only batsman (till Latif came in) with a strike rate of over 100, making a 59-ball 61.
2017: Playing his second one day international, Fakhar Zaman showed to the world that if you go out with a positive mindset, anything is possible. The opener managed to score his maiden 50 off just 34 balls and gave Pakistan the start they wanted.

Usual middle-order collapse

1996: First, they batted slow to bring down the run rate; then most of them couldn’t enter into double figures. From 177 for 2, they were reduced to 199 for 6 due to the failures of Aamer Sohail (former captain, struggling for form at number 4), Shadab Kabir, Asif Mujtaba and Wasim Akram … and that was when Rashid Latif came in.
2017: Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez (another former captain, struggling for form at number 4), Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim failed with the bat, prompting Pakistan to go from 74 for 1 to 137 for 6. It only took Sarfraz’s gutsy batting to snatch the match from Sri Lanka’s grip otherwise the islanders would have won easily.

Reports of infighting’s

1996: The last time Pakistan Cricket team was united was during the Imran Khan era, afterwards there have been reports of infighting’s no matter who the captain is. Ijaz Ahmed was referred to as Wicket Thrower due to his closeness to Saleem Malik while Wasim Akram was accused of deliberately fixing matches. Rashid Latif who had earlier retired from the game due to corruption claimed that things weren’t all-well in the camp as the team was supposed to lose.
2017: You may not like it but many players in the Pakistan camp are contender for the Selfish Cricketer of the Year award, if there is such a thing. Be it Ahmed Shehzad, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Hafeez or Imad Wasim, they hardly play for the team and that’s what makes Sarfraz angry. Add reports regarding Hafeez’s wish to lead the team and Imad’s label as Future Captain, and you get group of players posing as a team.

Wicket Keeper to the rescue

1996: He came in, he batted and saw Pakistan through; known for his gutsy batting, Rashid Latif changed the course of the match with his 28-ball 31 that saw Pakistan avoid a clean sweep in England. He was aided in his quest by Saqlain Mushtaq (12 off 17) as Pakistan added 21 valuable runs for the 8th wicket.
2017: It was a do or die encounter for Pakistan; Sarfraz came in at the hopeless position of 131 for 5 that soon became 137 for 6 and 162 for 7. He then went onto score the highest ever partnership for the 8th wicket in a Champions Trophy match with Mohammad Amir who played a solid knock of 28 not out. Pakistan won the match by 3 wickets and Sarfraz got a chance to do a Javed on scee,

About the author

Omair Alavi