Cricket is more than a game, more than the vehicle it has assisted as social disapproval for a long subjugated people, as proposal of de-marginalization, or as rebellious observance of self in the face of unrelenting disparagement.

Cricket is an art, with an imaginative characteristic to the sub continental cultural background and served by a collection of methods corresponding to the dexterity that underpins all sculptures. The political role of culture, especially of the performing arts in India, is also part of our historical experience and our contemporary reality. And philosophically, cricket is an offshoot of the performing art.

Cricket is a game that has long raised above its image of being a chivalrous arid sophisticated quest here players, on bright green grass put on show all that is the description of elegance, flamboyance, self-respect, ostentation and showiness, graciousness, classiness and most importantly, non-discriminatory and fair play. It has its on philosophy and it echoes a method of life what has the word dignity emotionally involved to it more than anything else does. It has its mysterious attraction.
The modern face of cricket is different. Now it is about hostility, bullying, sledging, chicanery, contemptuousness, and unexplained obsessions. We have entered an era where they say matches were fixed, games thrown away by a few men, for whom the feel of a thick pile of money was far more important than the feelings of a few million people and the national pride. The officials of the various cricket boards run the game like an industry across the world. Officials look so very important to only themselves and administrators for whom power is every thing and autocracy, the basis of their existence. A cricket match is more of an extravaganza today that comes to town, pitches its stage, and plays out its script before moving on to another country, no models, no actors, and all, but bats, balls and wickets.

Cricket today is all about force and antagonism. Despite of all this, why is the mere mention of the word, cricket, enough to send millions of Pakistanis into a kind of tumult that may, to the rest of the world, seem like mass hang-up or neurosis? The Karachi cart puller who will not eat for two days in order to save up enough to buy himself a ticket at the National Stadium, the profoundly inter-active Lahore taxi driver who can talk about the game with the same tact and ease with which he weaves in and out of peak hour traffic, much like his fellow Lahorite.

Now, what is about the Pakistan mind that makes it talk wildly and passion for a game, which is not exactly the greatest thing for the rest of the world, except perhaps in just the ten odd countries, which play it at the highest level? What is it about the Pakistani heart that longs to see a cricket match almost as passionately as mother to see her newly born baby does?

What is it about the mere sight of a cricket star, the mere accidental brushing of his shirt that can send the Pakistani devotee into raptures of enchantment? Why is the game the be all and end all of existence for a vast majority of Pakistanis?

Pakistan is a developing country. I know Pakistan is full of people who long to find a way out of their depressing routines, distressed people looking for sonic sort of anodyne to pacify their ragged beliefs. But then, is a cricket stadium inside which is played a cricket match any better than the strident, indiscriminate, congested roads of Karachi, Lahore or even Rawalpindi. Where confusion overrides the shrillness of a million cars hooting in maniacal unanimity?

Perhaps the drivers inside their automobiles are hooting, to seek a prompt escape from the insanity all around. Inside the cricket stadium, perhaps the crowd does.

On August 14th, 1947 Pakistan was partitioned from colonial India but cricket, so passionately taken up b the locals from the English rulers, carried on in the new country. Although Pakistan was still in the throes of partition, busy building institutions, its cricketers only waited until December 27th, 1947 before organizing regular first class cricket. Let us review, in full can dour, Pakistan cricket’s moments of joy, agony and controversy in the fifty years that followed so that we can look forward to a fine century.

On December 27th, 1947, West Punjab took on Sind at the historic Bagh-i-Jinnah in Lahore where first class matches had been played since 1922-23. Sind lost by an innings but the players who stood out included Fazal Mahmood, Mohammad Amin, Aslam Khokhar, Initiaz Ahmad, Mian Mohammad Saeed, Soli Mavalwala and MEL. Ghazali. The match saw Aslam Khokhar become Pakistan’s first centurion and Mavalwala the first to take five wickets. And cricket moved on at feverish pace with the cricketers striving for some good performances to gain the coveted Test Status from the I.C.C. (Imperial Cricket Conference).

The new Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan (B.C.C.P later called P.C.B.) invited the West Indies, After a drawn side match, the first unofficial Test started at Bagh-i-Jinnah on November 26th, 1948 with Pakistan led b the experienced Mian Mohammad Saeed who had first played first class cricket in India in 1930. The West Indies had stars like George Headley, John Goddard, Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes, and Jeff Stollmeyer amongst others. Although the match was drawn the tourists found Pakistan ready for more inter national cricket as lmtiaz Ahmad and Mohammad Saeed hit centuries while Nazar Mohammad came close. Pakistan was on its way towards gaining Test Status.

In April 1949, the team led by Mohammad Saeed sailed to Ceylon (later Sri Lanka) to play two Tests. Ceylon was also not a full member of the I.C.C. and was swamped 2- 0. Fast bowlers Khan Mohammad and Fazal Mahmood took 14 and 12 wickets while Nazar Mohammad grossed 224 runs and Murawwat Hussain 196.

In November 1949, a strong Commonwealth XI which included John HoIt, Frank Worrell and George Tribe shocked Pakistan in the Test by an innings and 177 runs. However, in 1950 Ceylon was overwhelmed in the two Tests. Imtiaz dominated the batting while Fazal Mahmood, Khan Mohammad and U.R. Chippa picked up most wickets. Interestingly, Mohammad Nissar, near the end of his great pm-partition fast howling career, captained a local team in a side match to pick up three wickets. The tour was a watershed for the captain Mohammad Saeed as changes were afoot with the old giving way to the young.

The win over Ceylon was not convincing enough for the B.C.C.P. headed by Justice A.R. Cornelius who was a keen cricket follower. An incident of stone pelting against Mohammad Saeed and the loss to the Commonwealth Xl coupled with in-house intrigues triggered discussions with Lahore born A.H. Kardar who had played three Tests for India in England during 1946 and had carried on playing for Oxford then for Warwickshire until August 1 950. Almost 15 years younger, Kardar only agreed after being assured he would replace Mohammad Saeed. Strict in discipline, somewhat autocratic and having enviable experience, Kardar began his reign over Pakistan cricket first as captain, then as its administrator.

Perhaps recognising Pakistan was showing enough form for grant of Test status, a strong M.C.C. team split their Indian tour to play two Tests and two side matches in November 1951. The team included Test players Jack Robertson, Tom Graveney, Allan Watkins, Derek Shackleton, Brian Statham and Roy Tattersall. Alter a drawn side match they faced Pakistan’s strongest team that included schoolboy debutant Hanif Mohammad, for the first Test at Bagh-i-Jinnah. Though it ended in a draw but Maqsood Ahmad (137) and M.F.Z, Ghazali (86) took Pakistan to 428 for nine after M.C.C. had been bowled out for 254 by Khan Mohammad (5 for 84) and Amir Elahi (4 for 97). In the second drawn match, M.C.C. had to follow-on after Imtiaz Ahmad (99) and Hanif Mohammad (77) got into the runs.

In the Karachi Test, Pakistan cricket catapulted into the limelight after Fazal Mahmood, A.H, Kardar and Anwar Hussain led their team to a dream win at the Gymkhana Ground. Pakistan were granted full membership of the ICC on July 12th, 1952 and the keen cricketers looked forward to a full tour to India.

The Kardar-led team toured India in October 1952 for a full 5-Test series After Hanif struck top form in the first tour match with a century in each innings, Pakistan lost their first Test by an innings then squared-up at Lucknow winning by an innings. In Bombay India won by ten wickets while the Madras Test was drawn. The last Test sad in Calcutta was also drawn for a 1-2 series loss. The top run-getters were Waqar Hasan (357), Hanif Mohammad (288) and Nazar Mohammed (277) while the best bowlers were Fazal Mahmood (20 wickets) and Mahmood Hussain (12 wickets). Cricket’s minnows returned with an enhanced reputation and ready for more.

Pakistan cricket overcame a major loss after star opener Nazar Mohammad broke his right arm and crashed out of cricket. There were so many stories about his injury. Some said that he had one to see his long-standing sweet heart and had to jump through the window saving embarrassment when lady’s husband knocked at the door. Anyway, Nazar was an outstanding man and what ever, he was a legend; he still is. The selectors called on Hanif Mohammad and Imtiaz Ahmad but teenager Alimuddin also surfaced as an opener. To discover more talent a domestic first class tournament called the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy was launched in 1953-54. Kardar’s unflinching and forceful presence grew as he was well-connected with the top and saw out Mohammad Saeed’s attempt for a comeback as captain ahead of the 1954 tour to England Kardar met the Defence Secretary, Major General Iskander Mirza (later the President of Pakistan and B.C.C.P.) to get things put straight. However, many observers while admitting Kardar led Pakistan cricket well claimed he made sure Mohammad Saeed’s son Yawar Saeed, a talented all- rounder who played for Somerset, was excluded from the team. Pakistan moved onto glory.

In 1954, the Kardar led team toured England during one of its worst summers. They made history by levelling the series on their first tour to England. A lot has been writ ten about the tour which made Fazal Mahmood a household name and national hero after his match winning 12-wicket haul at The Oval against the likes of Sir Len Hutton, Reg Simpson, Denis Compton, Peter May and Tom Graveney. Even the English press talked of England being ‘Fazalled’ and Pakistan became a new force in world cricket.

India toured during the 1954-55 season to herald the start of several draws defensive and boring with neither team taking any risks for a win. This and subsequent series were marred with allegations of biased umpiring.

Next New Zealand landed in October 1955 for some welcome relief from boredom and Pakistan won 2-0. The team still led by Kardar had matured and were ready to take on the M.C.C.

Hot on New Zealand's heels in December 1955, a rather weak M.C.C. 'A' team led by Donald Carr arrived or a long tour and lost heavily. Fans were unable to fathom why the M.C.C. chose to send a Second XI after Pakistan’s 1954 and later performances. The tour may have been too arduous with an in-between leg to Dhaka but the happenings in the Peshawar Test that started on February 24th, 1956 left fans, the media and cricket managers of both countries in utter disbelief. No soap opera could equal the drama, emotions and squabbling on display. With only 18 runs left to win with eight wickets in hand, Pakistan had to wait through a rest day but at night the infamous incident occurred involving Idris Baig a senior umpire and former first class cricketer.

The M.C.C. team had failed badly in the Dhaka Test and hail been complaining of poor umpiring all the way to Peshawar. It may well have been a case of venting their frustration but Carr and his team made a serious mistake. The team and management initially maintained it was a high-spirited rag (prank) when some members of the team invited Idris to Dean’s Hotel where the M.C.C. team was staying for what they called a private party.

However, the media and Idris maintained that masked members of the team wearing jackets, after attending an official dinner where liquor was consumed, came over to his hotel and forcibly took him on a Tonga (horse cart) to Dean’s. The hotel security witnessed this and decided to inform some of the Pakistan team members.

In the meantime at Dean’s, Idris was offered a drink and being a teetotaller instead he asked for a glass of water but some players responded by pouring two buckets full over him. Much later Ken Barrington admitted in his book that Idris was in fact kidnapped from his hotel and said: ‘I was one of the culprits’.

After being dunked Idris asked to leave was manhandled suffering a shoulder injury and bundled into a chair. The posse arrived led by fast howler Khan Mohammad to find Idris in shock and embarrassed to be seen in a dishevelled state in the company of team’s players. He was rescued.

After the B.C.C.P. secretary Group Captain Cheema, Kardar, Mohammad Hussain the Pakistan manager, Fazal and some commentators heard, they came over to Dean’s Hotel from the nearby Pakistan Air Force Officers’ Mess. Kardar confronted Carr who was one of those involved but he and Billy Sutcliffe, the vice-captain said: ‘There is nothing to talk about’.

Then in a meeting in the M.C.C. team manager Geoffrey Howard’s room that evening he was informed of the negative aspects of the ragging and Idris also joined into accuse the players for manhandling and kidnapping. As there was no remorse shown at that time, Cheema told them: ‘Go pack your bags and go home to England’. The importance of the affair finally dawned in the ensuing quarrel when cheema added: 'We can invite you but when you misbehave by molesting an officer of the B.C.C.P. we can send you back'.

Cheema took this problem to the B.C.C.P. President and Governor General of Pakistan, Iskander Mirza as the M.C.C. manager tried to brush it off as ragging and denied any manhandling but did accept only water was dumped. He said ‘It is wrong to suggest that this unfortunate escapade was influenced by anything other than youthful high-spirits’. Carr said: 'We had been doing the same to our players during this tour'.

Unfortunately, the team had decided to rag an official umpire against whom they had been complaining thus most doubted this as an innocent prank. Discussions went on and Iskander Mirza contacted the M.C.C. in London and in the greater interest of cricket, the tour was not called off as a public apology by the manager and the captain was accepted.

The English media too went up in arms and wrote strongly worded articles condemning it. The Times:’ Apologies were not enough. Some of Donald Carr’s side forgot, in a moment of wildness that they were representing England and not only themselves’. Another wrote: ‘I hope the M.CC. Committee will take some drastic action to show their disgust at an incident more damaging to English cricket than any I can remember. Another irate reporter covering the series wrote: ‘The M.C.C. should make certain that none of these irresponsible water-babies takes any further part in representative cricket’.

The M.C.C. chief, Lord Alexander of Tunis wrote to lskander Mirza: ‘I am greatly perturbed at the reports about the behavior of our team at Peshawar. I have been waiting to receive our manager’s report before writing to you, but since I have not received the report I hasten to tell you how much I deplore this unfortunate incident and offer you, an old and valued friend, my personal regrets’.

Finally, M.C.C. at the end of February 1956 also issued a statement saying: ‘The M.C.C. Committee has fully investigated the incident which occurred at Peshawar on the evening in February 26th, 1956. They condemn the treatment accorded to Mr. Idris Baig. The captain, who was present at time, should have recognized at once that this ragging although initiated by nothing more than high spirits and with no harmful intent what so ever, might be regarded, as it was in many quarters, an attack upon an umpire. The committee was satisfied that this was not the case’.

Afterwards Carr never played for England again but Idris Baig continued umpiring. Years later one can only wonder what the late Ken Barrington would have to say about modern-day umpires if he were to watch the I.C.C. umpires like Dickie Bird or Brent Bowden when he wrote: ‘Certainly it was not intended as an attack on an umpire, but Idris’ personality and mode of umpiring made him a natural for our prank. Idris was an amazing chap. He seemed to hold the stage only once play began. Unlike most umpires, who normally subject their own personalities in pursuit of their job, he was a natural showman and just could not help becoming a leading character in a game of cricket’.

Amusingly, on March 11th, 1956 a poem appeared, written by Alan Ross of The Observer. Here are a few lines although in February the weather in Peshawar is far from hot:

Another chota peg boys
Let’s have a go on Baig, boys
Goddam this steamy heat, chaps
The climate of Peshawar,
D'you thin Baig’s too hot, boys,
He put us on the spot, boys,
He’d appreciate a shower,
In this stinking hot Peshawar,
Let’s go and hunt for Baig, boys,
A double berry peg, boys,


Richie Benaud and company were not at all amused as even the fearsome  duo of Alan Davidson and Ray Lindwall was unable to get wickets on their tour to Pakistan in 1956.Domestic cricket flourished and preparations were afoot for the West Indies tour. In January 1958 Kardar led Pakistan for the last time and that too on a long tough tour. He retired after this series to flirt with politics and carry on with cricket management.

The First Test was a cracker with that amazing Hanif Mohammad's innings of 337 spanning 16 hours in 39 minutes. In another Test Sir Garfield Sobers made his world record of 365 not out. Pakistan won the fifth thanks to Hanif's elder brother Wazir Mohammad's 189 and fine spin bowling by Nasim Ul Ghani. The series was lost but the players could look forward to the return series. This series was also the end of the road for Fazal's partner, the ever-willing Khan Mohammad who had first played first class cricket in India and in 13 Tests for Pakistan.

Kardar handed over to Fazal but an unhappy Imtiaz stepped down as Vice-Captain. By now, disputes over who wanted to or should be the captain, and displays off what was later called player power had become firmly rooted as an endemic part of Pakistan cricket. The seed sown with Kardar's take over from Mohammad Saeed coupled with weak management had helped its growth to flare up time and again and bring Pakistan cricket into disrepute.

The West Indies toured in February 1959 to lose the two Tests on matting but on turf at Lahore’s Bagh-i-Jinnah they rebounded with an innings win. Hanif had made a century in the first Test but was injured for the other two. The tour saw the debut of 15-year old Mushtaq Muhammad but instead of welcoming another talented cricketer some jealous resentment was shown just as another of the Mohammad brothers was about to make his mark.

Fazal was retained for the November 1959 home series but suffered a disastrous loss against Australia. Afterwards matting was done away with but it took years for cricketers to adjust to turf. Benaud after learning from 1956 had brought a team full of stars. The second Test saw the debut of the new Lahore Stadium (later Gadaffi Stadium) and the drawn Karachi Test made history when US President Eisenhower became the first American President to watch live cricket. Intikhab Alam became Pakistan’s first bowler with a first wicket on debut. This tour signaled the end of batsman Waqar Hasan’s career after playing 21 Tests. An unsung hero from the early days, he went on to become one of the country’s most successful businessmen.

Although senior pros expressed disillusionment but Fazal led in the boring tour to India. The selectors also resisted Kardar’s comeback attempt for captaincy. The dreary November 1960 series featured crowd problems and complaints over umpiring. Fazal was sacked alter an adverse report from manager Jehangir Khan; Mushtaq Mohammad stole the show by becoming the youngest Test century-maker at 17 years and 82 days. Relations soured for a 17-year gap before the two neighbors met again. Pakistan cricket was now in shambles with an important tour by England on the horizon.

In October1961, England came to win the series. Imtiaz had replaced Fazal. Although Hanif, Javed Burki and Alimuddin were in form the best pacers had departed. There was also a search on for a new captain ahead of the tour to England.

To the astonishment of Pakistan’s cricket followers while the country was under military rule a second Oxford Blue, Javed Burki, was appointed captain (after Kardar ignoring the senior players. Perhaps the selectors were overawed as Burki was a general’s son. Although an ageing Fazal was rushed over, England swept to a big win as he could not work his miracles again. Fazal’s magnificent career came to an end after this tour, Imtiaz Ahmad did not play another Test but did carry on playing first class cricket for ten more years. The management decided to rebuild and took a break. In subsequent junior tours, youngsters like Mushtaq, Intikhab Alam, Asif Iqbal, Majid Khan and others showed that Pakistan would soon be back.

The gap saw Imtiaz ousted as Hanif took over. Australia led by Bobby Simpson drew the October 1964 series. Test caps were awarded to Abdul Kadir, Asif qbal, Majid khan, Pervez Sajjad and Shafqat Rana. Khalid lbadullah became the first Pakistani to score a century on debut. In another setback, Pakistan’s Tests were also reduced to 4 days.

The drawn only Test against Australia at home in December was remarkable for Majid was accused of throwing. Arif Butt on debut took 6 for 89 in his only Test while Hanif almost made centuries in each innings at Melbourne. The weather affected match in New Zealand was drawn and only Hanif with a 100 not out stood out while Asif Iqbal (pacer then) was the best bowler.

In March 1965, the John Reid led New Zealand was defeated easily with Hanif and other batsmen in form. Though things were looking up, 1965’s indo-Pak war delayed cricket until the 1967 tour to England. In 1967 Hanif’s battling 187 helped draw at Lord’s but the tour was no disgrace though the series was lost. Asif Iqbal, Intikhab AIam and Majid performed well. However, grumbling started over Hanif’s captaincy as he was accused of being defensive and for facilitating nepotism and another change was on the cards for England’s return tour.

After a long wait Saeed Ahmad, a somewhat controversial figure himself was made captain by a selection committee headed by Kardar who was being tipped as the future B.C.C.P, chief. Unfortunately, this February 1969 drawn series took place during turmoil with country wide political strife as unruly mobs ruled and even caused problems at cricket matches. Politics erupted within the B.C.C.P. too.

After Hanif was sacked more controversy came when media reports suggested he had refused to be photographed alongside Saeed. In the end, Saeed published an open letter denying it. Hanif’s sacking and even his retirement was reportedly due to Kardar carrying grudges against him and other seniors ever since he had flown back from England in 1960-61 trying to come out of retirement and wishing to lead the team to India. It was suggested he thought Hanif, Fazal and Imtiaz had blocked his way. In fact, limping after surgery, he had shown insufficient form in a trial match to warrant selection.

Politically motivated student mobs fanned regionalism and forced selection of immature nominee players as B.C.C.R wanted cricket to carry on. Student leaders like Niaz Ahmed and Aftab Gul made debuts in a move to compromise with the mobs. However, the crowd’s finally forced the Karachi Test to be abandoned but Sarfraz Nawaz who made his debut was found good enough to play county cricket for Northamptonshire.

Saeed was sacked and also dropped while Intikhab was appointed for the home series against New Zealand in October 1969. This series also marked the end of Hanif’s fantastic career in shoddy fashion amidst reports that Kardar was instrumental in forcing him to retire before the second Test. Hanif later published the gory details in his book. In the first Test, under a cloud of jealous resentment, the three brothers (Hanif, Mushtaq and Sadiq on debut) had played together. Crowd problems prevented an ever bigger win for New Zealand. Young players did well and Pakistan cricket could look forward now after a dismal decade.

With Intikhab captain in 1971, Zaheer Abbas, Mushtaq and Majid did the bulk of the scoring while Asif Masood, Saleem Altaf and the skipper bowled brilliantly. Rain deprived Pakistan of a win in the first Test. The last was all but won until Asif Iqbal was stumped trying a big hit and the team slumped to lose by 25 runs. It was a series that should have been won. However, Zaheer starred but Imran Khan was unimpressive on debut to return later-and how!

In November 1972 with Kardar now B.CC.P’s President, Intikhab led a team managed by M.E.Z Ghazali to Australia and New Zealand. There were immediate discipline problems that were handled poorly. Saeed had become very disgruntled and brooding against Intikhab who wanted him out as did Kardar. Saeed was purposely asked to open and he did under duress but pleaded he was scoring runs in the middle. The tour management asked him to leave but he remained adamant-amazingly his passport was confiscated. Saeed and Mohammad Ilyas were left stranded while the team flew to New Zealand. The Pakistan Embassy eventually repatriated.

Saeed while Ilyas applied for political asylum. The batsmen failed in chasing down modest targets, unable to concentrate with the squabbling going on around them. The narrow loss could have been converted to a win.

In New Zealand Pakistan won with Sadiq, Mushtaq, Asif and Majid in form. Strangely, in the middle of the last Test trouble came for Intikhab as B.C.C.P president dumped him and announced a new captain. A winning captain had been removed in another example of cricket management Pakistan style.

Within days of returning from New Zealand, Tony Lewis brought an M.C.C. team. Pakistan had the newly installed Majid Khan as captain. Both had played together for Cambridge University and Glamorgan. Perhaps Kardar wanted the two old friends to play out a pleasant home series for once. As expected it turned out to be high-scoring and dull for even the pitches had been exorcised of any demons.

A highlight was three 99s in the Karachi Test. Dennis Amiss, Majid Khan and Mushtaq Muhammad all fell short. Grumblings about Majid being too aloof and defensive resulted in his removal and in another turn about Intikhab was reappointed.

One can only surmise Kardar may have absorbed some thing from his playing days (1946-50) during the Gentlemen Vs Players era in England, when captains were, with a few exceptions, appointed from the ranks of the amateurs. In England, amateur status had been finally abolished in 1962, although it had been dying slowly since the war, as evidenced by Sir Len Hutton’s appointment as the first modern professional captain in 1952. Ironically, Kardar had led Pakistan to England in 1954 when Hutton was captain.

Kudos to Intikhab Alam who remained unbeaten throughout the 1974 tour and interestingly, he had as many as 21 players at his disposal as it seemed the B.C.C.P was either appeasing everybody or had a surplus of tickets. An example was Aftab Baloch, an all rounder who was selected as a reserve wicket keeper such was the state of affairs. Zaheer Abbas was at his best and Imran Khan on his learning curve upwards.

Clive Lloyd led a strong team in March 1975 for a drawn series that could have gone either way. The B.C.C.P, still headed by Kardar, did away with Intikhab and As Iqbal took the team to the inaugural World Cup in England where Pakistan narrowly missed out of the semi-finals.

In January 1976, Intikhab was back to lead on a tour of Sri Lanka for two one-day internationals but on return had to make way for yet another captain. With Mushtaq the new captain against New Zealand in October 1176, Pakistan’s fortunes improved dramatically. 19-year old Javed Miandad made his sensational debut with 163 and Asif hit 166. In Karachi Javed with 206 and 85 became the youngest ever to hit a Test double-century. Majid hit a century before lunch while Sadiq and Mushtaq were also amongst the runs. Imran Khan, opening the bowling with Sarfraz Nawaz, picked up 14 wickets. Pakistan had won easily and was ready to tour Australia.

Just before the December 1976 tour to Australia, B.C.C.P, still headed by Kardar, was embroiled in a pay dispute involving senior players which had started during New Zealand tour. Initially, Kardar stood firm and re-appointed Intikhab to lead a new side. After Government officials intervened Mushtaq was back to face the likes of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson. Zaheer, Asif and Sadiq did well but it was Imran’s bowling that equalised the series. At Sydney on a grassy pitch that seemed perfect for the awesome Lillee but it was Imran who made better use of it leaving an indelible mark, taking six wickets in each innings. The Cricket World now acknowledged Pakistan as one of the top teams.

Pakistan still led by Mushtaq toured the West Indies in February 1977. The series was lost but Wasim Raja, Majid, Mushtaq and Asif were in superb touch and until the last Test the series was even. Imran was now the key strike bowler. Alter heading B.C.C.P for five years and for many more as Chief Selector earlier, Kardar made way for a new B.C.C.P Chief in April 1977.

While star players from both teams were off playing Packer Style cricket Wasim Ban captained a young side against England (no longer an M.C.C. team) in December 1977 and Abdul Qadir made his presence felt. The dreary series ended drawn. Haroon Rashid, Mudassar Nazar and Sadiq Mohammad flourished with the bat and although three of the live missing top players tried to get back for the last Test, objections from England, I.C.C and Bari made them sit out.

With important players still not able to play, Wasim Bari led Pakistan to England in 1978 and found Ian Botham too hot to handle. Sadiq did well but the inexperienced players foundered. Controversially Sarfraz Nawaz decided to play the last Test and took five wickets. Afterwards Imtiaz Ahmad, manager and associate manager Zafar Altaf, were sacked.

The stars were recalled for the October 1978 home series against India. Spurred by the irrepressible Zaheer Abbas with scores of 176, 96 and 235 not out in the first three innings and Javed Miandad taking the centre stage, Pakistan won at home 2-0. A strong Mushtaq-led team with Javed Miandad, Majid, Asif, Zaheer, Imran and Mushtaq starring, defeated New Zealand. In Australia, the Melbourne Test saw a Majid century and the hosts needing 382 runs were sitting pretty at 305 for three. Sarfraz Nawaz returned to bowl an unbelievable spell to take seven for one run for innings figures of 9 for 86 and won the match. In the second Test there was controversy after the Aussies ran out Sikander Bakht for following up too far and Sarfraz responded with a successful appeal for handled the ball when Andrew Hilditch handed him a ball thrown in by a fielder. Mushtaq decided to relinquish captaincy saving it was taking too much out of him but offered to carry on playing Test cricket if needed.

Asif Iqbal first led in the 1979 World Cup and in November took the team to India. By this time bickering and in-house groupings had begun to impede perform once again. Pakistan lost the semi-final. From lndia there were reports of unwanted off-field behaviour by some seniors and coupled with questionable umpiring especially affecting Javed Miandad, Pakistan lost 2-0. Asif Iqbal possibly fearing repercussion back home, decided to announce his retirement before the last Test.

Although Mushtaq was tipped the selectors sprang a surprise by appointing a young Javed Miandad for the February 1980 series. Tauseef Ahmad, Iqbal Qasim, Taslim Arif, Miandad and Majid Khan helped Pakistan win against Australia at home. Pakistan lost the November 1980 series as the star-studded Clive Lloyd led West Indies team was in top form and attempts to prepare spinning wickets to counter their pace attack failed. A spectator was hurt when Sylvester Clarke threw a brick into the crowd after being harassed. Miandad was retained for the tour to Australia although senior players were unhappy with him.

During the October 1981 tour Pakistan made history-all out 62 their lowest ever in Tests only to better it twice in 2002 against the same team. The first Test saw the unsavoury clash between Miandad and Lillee related below. However, after being thoroughly disgraced in two Tests the disgruntled seniors did get together and won the third by an innings-showing what precedents would be set and the headaches cricket management would face. There was a clear split which reared up in an ugly revolt later. At Perth the Lillee-Miandad confrontation marred the real taste in which cricket was expected to be played. Pakistan returned home after a dismal show under Javed Miandad.

In aftermath of the tour to Australia, Pakistan cricket went through its ugliest crises-a blatant display of player power that continues to plague it. Ten senior players rebelled against Miandad’s captaincy alleging immaturity, mishandling of situations and of senior pros. The B.C.C.P was now headed by Air Marshal Nur Khan and fought back. Statements were issued by both sides, deadlines extended but a deadlock was reached. The players demanding Miandad be replaced were Imran Khan, Majid Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Mudassar Nazar, Wasim Ban, Wasim Raja. Sarfraz Nawaz, Sikander Bakht, Wasim Raja, Mohsin Khan and Iqbal Qasim.

However, Iqbal Qasim and Wasim Raja withdrew their support and became available for selection unconditionally and were named in the 12 man first Test squad. In the midst of all this, Sri Lanka toured in February 1982 after being awarded Test status. Miandad led a new side for the first two Tests minus the rebels and won the first and almost lost the second. The rebels came back for the third and Imran Khan took 14 wickets to help win the series. Saleem Malik made a century on debut and Haroon Rashid his career best of 153 at Karachi.

Under Imran in 1982 Pakistan did lose the series hut he was amongst the wickets while Mohsin Khan scored a Double-century at Lord to help in a big win There was 1st controversy over umpiring but Imran had established his leadership qualities. In September 1982 Imran led Pakistan to a whitewash against Australia at home In December 1982 Imran took 40 wickets for a 3 series win against India There was controversy over Imran’s declaration at Hyderabad when javed Miandad was at 280 looking set for more. Imran was accused of preventing him from a world record. Pakistan reached the semifinals of the World Cup 1983 but Imran could not bowl throughout the tournament due to injury. He withdrew from the tour to India in 1983-84 saving the September 1983 schedule was ill-timed, even before his shin injury was diagnosed. The Zaheer led team played out another dreary draw. Shoaib Mohammad (Hanif Mohanimad’s son) made his debut.

For the October 1983 tour to Australia, the B.C.C.P first appointed Zaheer Abbas in Imran's absence then changed back knowing Imran was unfit and could only bat. To the amusement of Australian media, Zaheer was reappointed for the second Test. Then Imran returned as a batsman, weakening the attack and lost the two Tests and series. Wasim Bari retired after a long and successful career.

In February 1984 Zaheer captained while both Imran and Miandad were absent through injury and won the series. Sarfraz Nawaz retired. The October 1984 tour ended abruptly after India’s Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Zaheer had retained captaincy. Pakistan won the November 1984 series against New Zealand again led by Zaheer. Javed Miandad equalled Hanif’s feat of 1961 by hitting hundreds in each innings. 19-year-old Wasim Akram was introduced to international cricket in a side match where he took seven wickets to signal the start of a glorious career. The series was marred by umpiring controversies as the New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney went on radio and TV to openly criticize the umpires and took his team off over a decision by umpire Shakoor Rana.

Miandad as captain insisted Wasim Akram be taken on the January 1985 tour to New Zealand and as expected he was right. Wasim made his debut and in the next Test took ten wickets to stun the world. Pakistan lost the series despite Qasim Omar heroic performance. Abdul Qadir was sent back by manager Yawar Saeed as he misbehaved with Zaheer Abbas, the stand-in captain, in a side match. Rameez Raja started his international career with two successive half-centuries.

Although Imran joined in Australia for the one-day internationals (& Hedges World Championship of Cricket), Miandad retained captaincy. Wasim stunned the Australians by taking five wickets at Melbourne and was now ready for big time cricket. A fit Imran returned for Sri Lanka tour to Pakistan in October 1985 to take over the captaincy. Pakistan won with Miandad, Mudassar, Qasini Umar, Iniran, Abdul Qadir and Tauseef in top gear.

Imran had taken over Pakistan’s captaincy after Miandad had decided to deliberately step down and thus began one of the most successful eras of Pakistan cricket. Imran became a role model and many top-quality players came pouring in including Ijaz Ahmad, Asif Mujtaba, Rameez, Aamer Malik, Aaqib javed, Mushtaq Ahmed, Waqar Younas, Saeed Anwar, Aamer Sohail and Inzamam Ul Haq. They all came during this period and grabbed opportunities. Wasim Akram became Imran’s protégé now and Saleem Malik established himself as Miandad’s understudy and run getter.

Although some grumbled about Imran’s attitude, the February 1986 series was drawn against Sri Lanka although Pakistan won the first Test easily. Sri Lanka levelled the series in the second and an umpiring controversy erupted with Pakistan complaining about decisions made by K.T. Francis and D.C.C. Pereira. The B.C.C.P President Lt Gen Safdar Butt had to fly into cool matters after Arjuna Ranatunga and Roy Dias had walked off complaining of sledging. Rameez hit his maiden hundred.

In October 1986 a superb West Indies side led by Vivian Richards was unable to win the series. Miandad, Imran, Rameez, Saleem Yousuf, Abdul Qadir and Wasim made sure the series ended even. In the january1987 tour after four Tests were drawn Pakistan won a nail biter at Bangalore for their first series win in India. Rameez, Imran, Miandad, Tauseef, Wasim and Iqbal Qasim were the key players. The team was looking forward to touring England.

In 1987 after first two Tests were drawn they won at Headingley by an innings helped by Malik’s 99 and ten wickets by Imran. The Edgbaston match was a cliff hanger that could have gone either way. At the Oval Miandad (260) and Malik (102), Imran (118) took Pakistan to a mammoth 708. Abdul Qadir spun out England with 7 for 96 and after following-on, the home team were 139 for four but Mike Gatting and Ian Botham staved off defeat.

Hosted in the subcontinent for the first time with Pakistan hot favourites to win the World Cup 1987, they lost to the underrated rated Australia in the semi-final. Imran decided to retire from international cricket.

In November 1987 Miandad was back after injury and led against Mike Gatting’s England team. Amidst complaints about umpiring Abdul Qadir took 9 for 56 at Gadaffi Stadium as England lost by an innings. The second Test at Faisalabad made history even in the non cricketing countries because of the argument and finger wagging between Gatting and the late Shakoor Rana televised around the world and caught on camera. The third day’s play was abandoned with neither party will ing to compromise. Rana maintained the England captain had abused him whilst Catting thought what he had done was within decent limits. However, Gatting knew that umpires are in charge of a match and control proceedings. Shakoor Rana at square leg was within his rights to hold up play when he spotted Catting adjusting a fielder after the bowler had started his run-up with the batsman ready. Most observers felt Gatting reacted too strongly and the problem went out or hand. Rana, a former first class cricketer and an experienced umpire, did not take the heat but reciprocated and controversy erupted. After many years Gatting admitted whit he did was not the right thing to do.

General Muhammad Zia Ul Haq, the President of Pakistan requested Imran to lead Pakistan on the March 1988 tour to West Indies. Most critics felt Pakistan with Miandad and Imran starring should have won the tied series in the last Test but umpires D.M. Archer and L.H. Barker stood between them and victory.

Imran called the timing of the September 1988 series against Australia ridiculous and refused to captain. Miandad took over and Pakistan easily won the first test. Miandad completed his fifth double century, Iqbal Qasim took nine wickets and the game ended with almost a day to spare. Miandad hit another hundred and Ijaz Ahmed scored his maiden century at Faisalabad. Pakistan won the series but Australian objected to the umpiring and issued a joint press statement appealing for B.C.C.P and I.C.C. intervention. Apart from Imran’s withdrawal some eyebrows were raised when Wasim Akram also decided to miss the series complaining of a groin injury.

Imran led the team to New Zealand and Australia in 1988-89. The pattern now firmly established of Imran picking and choosing when to play was repeated in December 1988. Miandad, who had already been named, made way again for Imran who also asked for changes in the selected squad and Abdul Qadir and Aaqib Javed were brought in. In Australia Pakistan crashed out of the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup.

Weather caused the series in New Zealand to be reduced and ended drawn. At Wellington Shoaib Muhammad hit 163 and Miandad 118. At Auckland Miandad shot to further glory by hitting 271, his sixth double hundred in Tests. Shoaib made 112 and Abdul Qadir took 6 for 160. The injury prone Wasim Akram was diagnosed with a hairline fracture and 16 year-old Aaqib Javed replaced him.

After winning the one-day International Nehru Cup in India which featured six top teams, Pakistan hosted India in November 1989. Sachin Tendulkar and Waqar Younis broke onto the scene. In the drawn series, runs were made and records broken by the batsmen, especially Miandad.

In the December 1989 series Pakistan lost the first Test against Australia at Melbourne, despite Akram’s heroics with the ball as he took 6 for 62 and 5 for 98. At Adelaide Akram (123) and Imran (136) partnered in a 191 run sixth wicket stand. Akram took 5 for 100. The third Test was rained off. Wasim Akram was named man of the series but the team had lost the close rubber.

In October 1990 Imran made himself unavailable against New Zealand and once again, Miandad stepped in. Shoaib and Waqar took Pakistan to a clean sweep. The series was marred by controversies. First was the withdrawal of an offer of neutral umpires by B.C.C.P after the New Zealand captain was reported making negative remarks and then came ball tampering allegations. In return, the New Zealand management accused Pakistan of ball tampering and Chris Pringle admitted to doing it in retaliation.

Observers felt Miandad was hard done by when Imran Khan was yet again appointed captain after he decided to play in November 1990 drawn series against the West Indies. Waqar and Wasim hunted out wickets while Malik and Shoaib made runs. The ball tampering issue was raised again when the West Indians saw the ball swing the other way. It was to remain a stigma until English and Australian bowlers also mastered the craft of reverse swing some years later.

Just before the 1992 World Cup Sri Lanka came and almost pulled off a surprise win. Imran decided to stay on as captain perhaps looking forward to sonic practice before the World Cup. Pakistan scraped up a win at Faisalabad and Sri Lanka had come close to their lust Test win overseas. It was Waqar in the wickets and Malik in the runs.

World Cup 1992 was Imran's final contribution both to the country and for him. Imran retired from cricket to pursue a career in politics. Much has been written and said about the famous victory over England in the final and the tortuous route Pakistan took getting there and to glory.

In 1992 Miandad and Malik scored centuries in a draw at Edgbaston. Pakistan won at Lord’s, the third Test was drawn but Aamer Sohail scored his career best 205. England evened up at Leeds but went down heavily at the Oval to Jose the series. Wasim and Waqar were hunting at their magnificent best but local media did not give them due credit and instead made ball-tampering allegations.

Pakistan failed in the one-day international series in Australia in November 1992, not living up to their World Champions billing. In the one-off Test in New Zealand Wasim and Waqar proved far too good and swept Pakistan to victory under difficult conditions. To the consternation of cricket followers the B.C.C.P, while making statements that Miandad’s leadership had not been good in the one-day internationals, replaced him with Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis was appointed vice-captain.

In March 1993, with players like Shoaib and Malik surprisingly not selected, the Wasim Akram-led team lost the Test series. Basit Ali and Inzamam Ul Haq showed form in the West Indies. The tour tarnished Pakistan cricket further when Wasim Akram, Aaqib Javed, Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmad were held by police allegedly for consuming drugs.

During Wasim’s absence Waqar Younis led Pakistan against Zimbabwe at home in November 1993. In Pakistan’s series win over Zimbabwe Waqar took plenty of wickets in the match. After Wasim had been named to lead the March 1994 tour to New Zealand, he insisted javed Miandad to be dropped from the squad. After another eruption of player power it was Wasim who had to step down as an eleven player group alleged poor behaviour on his part. Saleem Malik was chosen as the consensus candidate. Reports also suggested that it was here the Wasim and Waqar friendship began to crack.

Saleern Malik’s team won in Auckland with Wasim taking 6 for 43 and the next by an innings as Saeed Anwar, Malik and lnzamam slammed hundreds. New Zealand won the last Test despite Basit Ali’s impressive 103 and 67. Doubts about alleged match fixing were first raised during this tour and Majid Khan, the manager was reportedly unhappy with some senior players.

In July 1994, Saleem Malik led Pakistan to victory. Saeed Anwar, Inzamam, Aamer, Waqar and Wasim starred. In September 1994, Saleem Malik led from the front helped by Aamer and Moin Khan to win the series against Australia. Saleem Malik led Pakistan in November 1994 to lose the one-off Test by 324 runs against South Africa. Suspicions surfaced about the manner in which Pakistan lost to South Africa led by Hansie Cronje. Both captains were subsequently banned after being found guilty of fixing.

In January 1995, Saleem Malik took the team over to Zimbabwe from South Africa and won the series 2-1. At this time Pakistan cricket started carrying another stigma, that of alleged match-fixing. Rashid Latif and Basit Ali charged Saleem Malik of fixing during the African Safari and resigned from international cricket. Thereafter, Pakistan’s performance became erratic with unexpected turnabouts against the run of play. Malik was removed from captaincy and for a brief period Rameez Raja took over.

Rameez was captain for Sri Lanka’s August 1995 tour but had not played in the previous series. After helping win the first Test ahead in the second, Wasim suffered a frozen shoulder and Sri Lanka levelled. They polished off Pakistan at Sialkot after 14 years of trying. Wasim Akram came back in the team after being cleared by an inquiry commission headed by Justice Fakhruddin Ebrahim. The series against Australia was lost 2-1. In December 1995 Pakistan won in New Zealand. In both legs of the tour, Mushtaq Ahmad shone with the ball as Ijaz Ahmad did with the bat. Rashid Latif played again after a self imposed retirement. Waqar Vounis completed his 200 Test wickets.

India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka played hosts in February 1996 but Pakistan lost to India in the quarter final of the World Cup by 39 runs after Wasim had pulled out at the last moment with a side strain. javed Miandad’s run out extinguished any hopes and also brought an end to the illustrious career. However, he remained close to Pakistan cricket as coach.

In 1996 Wasim led Pakistan to England and improved on their past winning record with Mushtaq Ahmad causing lots of problems for England. On the batting front batsmen did well with Ijaz Ahmad being the most consistent.

Wasim Akram led from the front to brush aside Zimbabwe in the October 1996 series. In November 1996, Saeed Anwar was captain at home against New Zealand as Wasim was injured. The elegant Mohammad Wasim made a century on debut and strangely was never able to cement a regular place while fast bowler Muhammad Zahid took eleven wickets in his first Test. Pakistan won the Car & United World Series Cup that featured Australia and the West Indies. Ijaz Ahmad, Muhammad Wasim, Saqlain Mushtaq, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis starred.

Wasim and Waqar opted to miss the April 1997 series citing injury but did play for their counties; Rameez Raja took on captaincy as Saeed Anwar was unfit. Malik saved the last Test for a series draw. For Sri Lanka Arvinda de Silva scored three successive Test hundreds.

In October 1997, Wasim was absent and Saeed Anwar captained during South Africa’s first visit. A came back for the last two Tests to play under Saeed. Pakistan lost but new talent was found like Azhar Mahmood and Ali Naqvi who scored centuries on debut. Azhar was also associated in a world record equalling last wicket partnership of 159 with Mushtaq Ahmad.

In November 1997, Wasirn Akram came back after several captains had been tried to help sweep the West Indies aside. Wasim, Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq were the chief wreckers with Shoaib Akhtar making his debut.

Wasim was dropped suddenly for the January 1998 tour to South Africa amidst speculation it was due to suspicions about match fixing. Rashid Latif captained and Aamer Sohail was made vice-captain. The team surprised everyone by drawing a closely-fought series and even coming close to winning. Aamer had to take over for the first two Tests after Rashid suffered an injury. Shoaib Akhtar showed speed and skill. Wasim joined for the last Test but there were reports about a group of players who did not want Rashid to succeed.

During the Zimbabwe leg in March 1998, Aamer Sohail came home with a wrist problem as did Wasim through an injury. However, Moin Khan, Mohammad Wasim and new comer Yousuf Youhana took Pakistan to a win.

With politics flaring up around him Aamer Sohail was appointed captain against Australia in September 1998. Wasim Akram and Saeed Anwar suddenly withdrew from the second and third Tests. Pakistan lost the series but the highlight was Mark Taylor’s declaration after scoring 334 when he could have gone on to beat Sir Don Bradman’s and other records.

The fog-effected November 1998 series was Zimbabwe's first ever win after the final Test was abandoned. Pakistan went through another captaincy crisis as Aamer Sohail withdrew after losing the first Test to be replaced by Moin Khan for the weather-reduced Lahore Test. In January 1999 Wasim Akram was reappointed for the two-Test tour to India. Indo-Pak cricket had always been shrouded by political and other controversies and this was no exception in a climate of political manoeuvrings that started as soon as the tour was announced. Extremists damaged the wicket at Delhi on January 7th, 1999 threatening the future of the tour. The tour generated intense interest as the teams had met frequently in one-day internationals but rarely in Tests. India had last toured in 1989-90 and Pakistan in 1986-87. The series was tied after Anil Kumble took ten wickets in an innings at Delhi.

In March 1999 final at Dhaka Wasim led from the front. With his second hat trick in successive matches and lnzamam-Ul-Haq hit a double century as Pakistan was crowned Asian Champions after defeating Sri Lanka. Earlier, at Kolkata (Calcutta) in February India was knocked out after Saeed Anwar (188), Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq starred. Play was interrupted due to crowd disturbances, in the Lahore drawn match against Sri Lanka, Wajahatullah Wasti made century in each innings while Wasim got a hat trick.

After the Wasim Akram led team had qualified for the final of the 1999 World Cup hopes were dashed as Australia won a one-sided match. Controversy flared about complicity after Bangladesh defeated Pakistan in a league match and reportedly Wasim had been seen with an Indian bookmaker the night before the game. In October 1999 Wasim led Pakistan to suffer a massive defeat in all the three Tests.

Saeed Anwar led for the first two Tests then Moin Khan took over with the series already lost against Sri Lanka at home in 2000. Pakistan won the last match. In April-May 2000 Moin Khan’s team fought a close series in the West Indies that was lost amidst umpiring controversy. In June 2000 Pakistan won the Asia Cup in Bangladesh having netted the Sharjah Champions Trophy earlier in March. Over to Sri Lanka, Pakistan convincingly won the Test series but went down in the triangular Singer Series amidst qualms about under-performance.

In December 2000 after a 13-year gap England scored a historic series win in Pakistan. At Karachi, England won lots of admirers as the batsmen continued to play until dusk hut Moin lost his reputation for unwanted delaying tactics.

In February 2001 Moin Khan’s team drew the series in New Zealand though Inzamam-Ul-Haq was the captain in the last Test at Hamilton that Pakistan lost. Waqar Younis took over captaincy for the 2001 tour to England and drew the series. In August 2001 Pakistan defeated Bangladesh in their first encounter at the new Multan Stadium as part of a protracted Asian Test Championship. India had withdrawn from the tournament after their Government disallowed playing Pakistan and it turned into a 3-way contest. Sri Lanka also defeated Bangladesh in September 2001 at Colombo. At the Lahore final in March 2002, Sri Lanka became Asian Champions alter beating Pakistan with lnzamam-Ul-Haq scoring 99.

In January 2002 a Waqar led Pakistan team inflicted innings defeats on Bangladesh. In January 2002 after the September 11 tragedy in USA, the West Indies demanded their scheduled series be shifted from Pakistan and PCB had to arrange it in Sharjah. Waqar led Pakistan to a clean sweep. After delays and negotiations over security New Zealand agreed to tour in April 2002. Waqar led Pakistan to sweep up in the one day internationals and then won the Lahore Test by a massive 324 runs thanks to lnzamam’s mammoth 329 but the Karachi Test in May was abandoned after a bomb blast near the team hotel rattled the tourists. As Pakistan’s Golden Jubilee neared its cricketers were left in dismay with an uncertain future.

In June 2002 during the Australian winter, Waqar led Pakistan to a win in the Super Challenge ll One Day International Series, played partly indoors.

The May 2002 blast in Karachi coupled with security concerns due to the post-September 11 conflict in Afghanistan caused a suspension of international tours to Pakistan. This added to the PCB’s woes after earlier cancellations of scheduled tours by Indian and others. Worse, the PCB’s plans to celebrate the Golden Jubilee around Australia’s tour in October 2002 suffered major setbacks. Pakistani fans could not enjoy a Golden Jubilee as it never happened. Instead a PSO Trophy was played out in Kenya just after Pakistan had lost an August 2002 one day international tournament in Morocco. And New Zealand even declined participation in the Tournament so Kenya was invited instead but Pakistan was lucky to share the title with Australia as rain intervened.

Pakistan lost Test series in South Africa in 2003, won comfortably against Zimbabwe before being humiliated in the World Cup 2003. Every one was dumbfounded. Eight senior players were thrown out of the team and subsequently Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar and Waqar Younis announced their retirements from all forms of cricket. While Saeed shifted his focus to religion, Wasim and Waqar had become commentators.

Rashid Latif was appointed as Pakistan’s captain, Javed Miandad was reinstated as the coach and Haroon Rashid was named as manager of country’s new looking team. Pakistan did well under Rashid Latif, winning the Cherry Blossom Cup at Sharjah, finishing runner’s up at Dambulla in a Bank of Alflah tri-nation tournament before losing the three-match one-day international series in England in June 2003.

With the arrival of Bangladesh in Pakistan, Yasir Hameed equalled Lawrence Rowe’s world record of scoring two separate hundreds on debut while Inzamam Ul Haq returned to international cricket with a match saving hundred at Multan. Pakistan won the series 3-1 and then moved onto heat the tourists 5-0 in one day internationals. Inzamam-Ul-Haq replaced Rashid Latif who was banned from playing international cricket due to charges of unfair play. While Rashid was serving a five-match suspension lnzamam took over and showed to his critics that he was there to stay.

Pakistan trounced South Africa in the Test series recovering from a 3-2 one-day international defeat. New Zealanders came to Pakistan in November-December 2003 and Pakistan whitewashed them 5-0 with Yasir Hameed and Imran Farhat being the top stars. Pakistan reciprocated New Zealand’s tour and lost the one-day internationals 4-1 not before they had completed a historic 1-0 series win in Tests. Shoaib Akhtar was the hero.

Back home, Pakistan welcomed India. Critics study the world as it is; cricket between India and Pakistan creates the world that has never been. We must understand that the most fundamental form of knowledge is empirical knowledge, or experience and understanding of things in the world. It is when we come to distinguish methods and then come to use them that we become intelligent people.

The other fundamental form of knowledge is psychological understanding of oneself and the opposition. This enables us to function compatibly with rest of the world. Because these forms of knowledge are essential for survival in the world and at the top, they are of the most worth. Now, what the Pakistan cricketers, and the P.C.B need to understand is that the third most important form of knowledge is growing of feasible plans, both on and off the field. Anything might happen, but if you can grow your own plans you he in a driving seat.

Beyond these three fundamentals you can choose between practical knowledge and skills that enable teams to advance to evolution, refinement and development and knowledge of computerized method (it has been argued that a full appreciation of he cricket analysis requires background knowledge.) philosophy and education (growth is a matter of faith, but you have to know the doctrines) which are for the benefit of the team.

On the other hand, under no circumstances, possibly, have affairs between India and Pakistan been healthier than now, Enthusiasm, on the other hand, soared when the two countries came in contact with each other in cricket triggering crazy responses on both sides of the subcontinent.

After periods of indecision and apathy, Government of India, not before a timely stepping in of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee decided to allow the team to come to Pakistan after a yawning gap of 14 years.

Indian politicians showed disquiet and anxiety that a series happening together with general elections in March and April could be harmful, as people could lock themselves in the TV Lounges watching the matches Predominantly the Government of India agreed to reciprocate Pakistan’s offer to let the tour take place because the fear was that such a controversy could in fact result in the rekindling of old hatreds at a time when Vajpayee was running high on the peace initiative he launched.

Furthermore, cricket was part of the arsenal of the election campaign of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani reiterated that among the various positives under BJP rule - a roaring economy, telecom, information technology, foreign exchange reserves, roads - there was also the Indian Cricket team that contradicted all predictions to keep the world champions, Australia, at bay in the recent test series down under. A defeat by Pakistan could dampen this hype. However, Indian cricketers steamrolled their Pakistani counterparts and went back with their chests pumping and heads aloft with pride.

Relations between India and Pakistan have not been better in a long time. High-level talks were held for the first time in five years in Islamabad. India remained quiet in its criticism of Pakistan over nuclear proliferation. New friendships were struck at the highest levels following the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) early in January 2004. it was to he seen whether cricket took this process forward. Ideally, it should have been caught India, bowled Pakistan, with both sides winning but series concluded with a sense of chaos in the corridors of the PCB, as the senior executives were seen trying to save their skins. Pakistan lost badly. There were allegations in media that the umpiring was scripted and that Indians were helped out of the way to win the series for first time ever. However, one must say that India played better cricket and against a seemingly jaded team marred 1 in house intrigues and administrative stubbornness or ineptitude.

Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharaf took special interest in streamlining the problems that the two countries confronted in management of cricket series. Pakistan has always been at the giving end. Here, one must say, efforts of ex-chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia (retd.) and Mr. Jagmohan Dalmiya, his counterpart should not be underestimated; the tour went on without any stir.

Here one must also say that the Government of India must have known as according to Catherine Pulsifier, ‘a simple positive gesture can make a world of difference in a person’s life’. We all impact each other’s lives. And, at times, in ways we don’t even realize our impact. And here the P.C.B must know that they must not take such gestures for granted as one never knows what tomorrow holds.

The administrators from both sides must realize that a map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which humanity is always landing. And when humanity lands there, it looks out, and seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realization of Utopias. And the Pakistan Cricket Board hierarchy must understand that the point is not to make another earth. Not another Alaska or Tiber, not a Vermont nor a Venice, even an Antarctica. The point is to make something new and strange, something Martian. What is needed is a cultural evolution toward a sustainable but high-tech role with the Biosphere, i.e., the creation of a terrestrial no sphere.

Lieutenant General Tauqeer Zia (retd.) remained at the helm of the cricketing affairs arriving on the scene when the cricketing activity was subjecting the team to an unplanned and haphazard experiment in its running and execution of policies. General Tauqir was definitely a sincere man barring a few problems. Whatever, he tried his best to eradicate as many evils as possible within the team and the P.C.B. As it happens, he in the process lost his way, fell victim to press and media due to his over accessibility and in the end added a few more problems to the list. Nonetheless, his tenure was that of a successful man in a sense that he requisitioned resource and energy and added his bit for the development of cricket in the country.

With Indian tour at the doorstep Aamir Sohail, the chairman of selectors was sacked. Shahryar brought Wasim Bari back though there was news that he had initially offered the slot to Saeed Anwar, Where Anwar was wise, Bari showed his naivety. And at the end of the series India won one-day internationals 3-2 and Tests 2-1 and that by huge margins. By now Bari’s future hung in thin air. Bari in his first stint had been unceremoniously removed (though he publicly showed that due to pressing commitments he resigned from his office). Nevertheless, it was well known that Tauqir Zia in his attempt to overhaul Pakistan cricket after the World Cup 2003 debacle wanted a more challenging and a head strong man to come in. He shifted his focus to the more abrasive Aamir Sohail. Sohail barring his mood changes, out bursts and autocratic ways did well and added flavour to the process of rebuilding. He took certain courageous decisions and his sacking was always on cards with Shahryar coming in to head the P.C.B. Both men belonged to different leagues, one more subtle and easy-paced and the other running at a breakneck speed. One had to go, and it was obviously Aamir. But what happens in our case is like Richard F’. Feynman’s quotation: ‘What I cannot create I do not understand’.

Vladimir Verandsky once said: ‘The whole of mankind put together represents an insignificant mass of the planet’s matter. Its strength is not derived from its matter, but from its brain. If man understands this, and does not use his brain and his work for self destruction, an immense future is open before him in geological history of the biosphere’.

Rediscovery of the frontier spirit brings out the most dynamic aspects of human personality. The consistency of such a grand adventure with myths of so many cultures and the fact that the niches being colonized are empty of life could perhaps generate widespread inter national and cross cultural support: a common cause would surely be to the advantage of terrestrial civilization as a whole.

‘The future can not be predicted, but future can be invented. It was mans ability to invent which has made human society what it is. The first step of an inventor is to visualize, by an act of imagination, a thing or state that does not yet exist and which to him appears in some way desirable, He can then start rationally arguing back wards and forwards until a way is found from one to the other.

Fairy tale dreams appear possible in this future: man is striving to emerge beyond the boundaries of his planet into cosmic space. And he probably will do so... We are entering the noopshere therefore we may face the future with confidence. It is in our hands. We will not let go. It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into the human imagination calling all dreamers and optimistic fools, don’t let go of your dreams, thing them now, let them all come true. Just believe in a brighter day.

How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.

One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.

‘We have selected the probables after carefully studying the current form and fitness of the players,’ Wasim Bari, the chairman of selectors, said. Retrospectively at least I need to ask Mr. Bari that where was the form and where did the Pakistanis hide their fitness. Here I must say that the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Mr. Shahryar M. Khan was saddened to see Pakistan losing at Rawalpindi by an innings and 131 runs, so he said. The chairman was saddened but we were disillusioned and disgruntled. Saddened is too mild a word to sum up Pakistan’s performance.

What most of the administrators were trying to do was to mask the short comings by using beautiful words and tags. This was exactly what happened in the past and this continues to happen. We have been let down.

I wish to draw a distinction between twisted thinking and using crooked arguments. My thinking is twisted when I believe that I am thinking effectively and have discovered sound reasons for my conclusion but am mistaken in this belief. The twist may be due to my supposing that I am in possession of all the relevant information, but in fact I am not.

It may be due to my failure to see that my argument is invalid. It may be due to my inability to rid myself of some habit of thought that keeps my mind in blinkers. When I use a crooked argument I am in a quite different frame of mind. Then I am trying to persuade you to accept a conclusion, although I know that I have not offered you reasonable grounds for its acceptance. I try to persuade you by a trick, that is, by some dishonest device calculated to impress you.

He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truth without the world’s believing him. Falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions. The foundation of all morality is to have done, once and for all, with lying; to give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibilities of knowledge.

People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders ones reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person ones master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that personas view requires to be faked. And if one gains the immediate purpose of the lie--the price one pays is the destruction of that which the gain was intended to serve. The man, who ties to the world, is worlds slave from then on.

Aristotle once said: ‘All that one gain by falsehood is, not to be believed when bespeaks the truth. John Jason Owen was cheated in life and he ended it by saying:
‘One lie must be thatched with another or it will soon rain through’. Pakistan cricket during its 57 years of bumpy journey was at times betrayed and more frequently handled incompetently.

If we have a flashback, the Australian tour to Pakistan in 2002 was shifted to Colombo and Sharjah and Pakistan became cricket’s first nomads, moving from one over seas venue to another to play home series. The team suffered ignominy at Australia’s hands. However, the P.C.B. and public still gave them support and the best send off in Pakistan’s history ahead of the 2003 World Cup. We know what happened. From there onwards Pakistan cricket has seen a revival first under Rashid Latif and then lnzamam Ul Haq, the present captain. Yousuf Youhana also led Pakistan in between.

lnzamam bloomed as Pakistan’s top batsman when he scored a double century at Dhaka while Wajahatullah Wasti scored a century in each linings at Lahore’, Mohammad Sami took a one-day international hat trick and then repeated it in a Test. Shoaib Akhtar bowled the fastest ball in cricket history in Lahore and was crowned as worlds fastest during the World Cup. Waqar took seven wickets in a one-day match against England bettering Aaqib Javed’s 7 for 37. Saeed Anwar carried the bat against India in Tests and Saqlain took the quickest 200 wickets in one day internationals.

Younis Khan and Taufeeq Umar scored hundreds on debuts and lnzamam hit a mind boggling 329, his highest score in Tests. Wasim Akram became modern cricket’s greatest fast bowler and completed his 500 one day international wickets to add to his 414 in Tests. Yasir Hameed stunned the world when he scored century in each innings on his Test debut against Bangladesh at Karachi in 2003. Pakistan cricket saw captaincy changing hands from one to another. Since 1992 Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Rashid Latif, Aarner Sohail, Saleem Malik, lnzamam Ul Haq, Rameez Raja, Waqar Younis, Moin khan and Yousuf Youhana have captained Pakistan at one stage or another.

There were more bouts of in house politics, exhibitions of player power through rebellions as a primadonna culture thrived with the various boards powerless to stamp it out. The stigma of allegations about match fixing continued to haunt. Waqar Younis. Wasim Akram, lnzamam UI Hag, Saeed Anwar and Mushtaq Ahmad were charged with not cooperating with the court in the match fixing inquiry while Ata-Ur-Rehman and Saleem Malik were banned for life. The findings were published with penalties imposed on Wasim Akram and others. However, the gloom lifted when the P.C.B., in a decisive move, at last decided to act after an internal inquiry to come out fighting on all fronts after the World Cup 2003.

This preface has presented food for thought although discussions of negatives versus positives may make a reader feel a greater focus has been on the negatives. However the frank appraisal is intended to expose the maladies and skeletons that prevented a chanceless first fifty. Clearly, we first need to agree on those negative traits that became endemic from the early days before attempting or succeeding in their elimination.

The key ones are: weak management, indiscipline, lack of education, non-acceptance of a captain duly appointed by the P.C.B., exhibition of player power, rebellions, valuable players picking and choosing when to play, individualism as opposed to playing for the country and perhaps the worst-alleged match fixing and greed.

One must also appreciate that International Cricket has also changed in nature during this period. Gone are the carefree days when a touring team ran in between over’s as their opposition neared the target. Gone too are the times when umpiring mistakes were accepted without question or a batsman walked before the finger was raised.

Cricket became a sport of the professionals and a world wide spectral with all the commercial features that come with it. The pittance paid to the early cricketers and during most of the later years was never going to be enough for those young men who gave their best years to cricket.

Unfortunately, many of the ills have stilt not been identified by the P.C.B. and no work has been done to be rid of them. Changes right down to grooming young men through countrywide academies, an upgraded domestic cricket structure, and decent salaries and importantly, the appointment of cricket savvy professional management in the board has always been part of the long sermons. Nothing has turned into deed and dexterity.

Let us revel in memories of Kardar, Fazal and Khan Muhammad. Let us enjoy the taste that Waqar Hasan, Hanif Muhammad, Imtiaz Ahmad and Javed Miandad have given us with their bats. Let us cherish the contributions of Wasim Akram, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis and Inzamam Ul Haq. These stars will never be forgotten. And move forward to scoring a better fifty. There is much to celebrate about and still some work to be done to rebuild Pakistan cricket to be world beaters again.