The Defining Decade: 1992, Part 1 – The Year of the Colonial Conquerors
In our ‘Defining Decade’ series, we look back at each year of the 1990s and how it panned out for Pakistan.
1992 was a special year in Pakistan cricket, with the national team winning Test and ODI series against Sri Lanka at home as well as beating England in a bad-tempered Test series on their own patch. There was another thing that happened in Australia, too, but we won’t talk about the 1992-93 tri-series featuring the hosts, the visiting West Indies, and Pakistan, who were en route for a short tour of New Zealand. Yes, I know I’m not talking about the big one here, but that’s because it’s part 2 of the article, so you’re just going to have to wait for it!
While most of the headlines from 1992 are about the Cricket World Cup and Pakistan’s comeback from near elimination to winning the tournament, the team also had a long and ill-tempered tour of England that summer. Accusations of ball-tampering from the English press were followed by accusations by the tourists of racism from the home umpires and ill-feeling between two sides who had played the World Cup final just a couple of months earlier. Pakistan won an exciting 5-match Test series 2-1 and dominated the county sides in the First Class fixtures but convincingly lost the one-day series to the same side they had conquered in the final at Melbourne.
Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka were Pakistan’s first opponents in 1992, the two teams playing the final match of their 3-Test series in Faisalabad. The first two matches had been draws affected by a benign pitch at Sialkot and awful if seasonal weather at Gujranwala. The surprise was Pakistan’s decision to host all three games in Punjab during winter when the province is often in the midst of fog, dew, and rain. The visitors had shown fight and desire in the first match before the weather ate up four days in the second, making the third and final match a winner takes all affair.
Pakistan won the toss and put the tourists in to bat, no doubt hopeful of the conditions suiting their four-man pace attack of Akram, Younis, Jaffar, and Aqib. Openers Mahanama and Hathurusingha must have had captain Khan questioning his decision as they put on 81 for the first wicket before Waqar bowled Hathurusingha one short of his half-century to end the promising start for the visitors.
Not to be outdone by his bowling partner and rival, Wasim then snared Gurusinha, bringing captain de Silva to the crease to join Mahanama, who had completed a solid 50. The pair added 41 for the 3rd wicket before the skipper edged Jaffar to Moin Khan behind the stumps with the score on 130. In the first Test at Sialkot, Arjuna Ranatunga had scored a pair in his first match since being sacked as captain, and Sri Lanka never got to bat in the weather-affected second Test in Gujranwala, so he would have been telling himself to just relax and make sure to get off the mark here. The future World Cup-winning captain must have been wondering if he would ever play for his country again as he was trapped LBW for a golden duck by Jaffar to leave Sri Lanka 4 down for 130.
Top-scorer Mahnama was joined by another future captain, Sri Lanka rivaling Pakistan for seemingly giving everyone in the country a chance to lead the team during their career, as Jayasuriya came to the crease. He had shown fight in the first Test when top-scoring in the first innings and putting on a rearguard in the second to help draw the match from a precarious position. The pressure increased when Mahanama was dismissed by Jaffar, caught behind by Moin, in the midst of a superb spell that saw him pick the visitors’ three most important batsmen.
Jayasuriya was joined by Tillakaratne – yep, you guessed it, another future captain – who had combined with him well in the first Test during both innings, including the defensive effort that saw them hold off Pakistan for two sessions on the last day. They added 29 runs, with Jayasuriya doing the bulk of the scoring before Waqar had Tillakaratne caught by Shoaib Mohammad for 11 to expose the tail, and Sri Lanka looked in danger of not getting to 200 at 179 for 6. It was fitting then that a man who made his name for smashing boundaries made sure they crossed it comfortably as he scored the bulk of the runs with only the tail for company.
Waqar picked up Ratnayake LBW, and Anurasiri was also caught by Shoaib before Wasim had Wijegunawardene LBW to bring last man Wickramasinghe to the crease with the score on 205 for 9. He contributed one run in a 35-run last-wicket stand as Jayasuriya played at a then unheard of strike rate of 85 runs per 100 balls before he was run out trying to keep strike. The first innings ended with the score at 240, Waqar missing out on yet another 5-fer by just one wicket.
Pakistan started even better than Sri Lanka had as current PCB chairman Ramiz Raja, playing in the city of his birth, and Shoaib Mohammad put on a century opening stand. But as the second day was coming to a close, both openers fell LBW to newcomer Wickramasinghe, who had made his debut in the first Test and now doubled his career tally of two wickets. Zahid Fazal and Javed Miandad, a duo of youth and experience, saw Pakistan to the close of play without any more losses.
The pair of them had added 24 runs to the total on the start of day three before Wickramasinghe had Miandad caught by Gurusinha, which brought Saleem Malik to the crease. The tourists would have feared the worst; he had made a century in the first Test and also hit a hundred on debut against them a decade ago, but he fell caught behind shortly after to the part-time medium pace of Gurusinha. Captain Imran Khan now came out to bat with his side in some trouble after a promising start, and after only a few more runs, Fazal was dismissed LBW by Wijegunawardane.
Though Akram and Moin were both capable batsmen, neither got going and continued the innings trend of falling LBW, Akram to Gurusinha and Moin to Wickramasinghe. Imran fell on 197 and only poor bowling by the visiting side, who bowled 35 extras in total with a staggering 26 no balls, allowed Pakistan to make 221 all out. Wickramasinghe picked up a 5-fer when he got Waqar, leg before naturally, before Aqib fell to Wijegunawardene to wrap things up.
This time, there was no big start from Sri Lanka as Mahanama was dismissed for 8 by Waqar, who had clearly learned from Wickramasinghe that bowling straight at the stumps was a good strategy, LBW with the total on 28. His opening partner Hathurusingha also fell to Waqar, caught by Fazal for 20, and when Aqib got Gurusinha, naturally LBW, the day ended with the visitors on 67 for 3.
Both sides then had a rest day for Sunday before play resumed, and while Sri Lanka would have labeled medium-pacer Wijegunawardene a nightwatchman, he had actually outscored the usual number five Ranatunga in the first innings. It made little difference to the marauding Waqar as he continued where he had left off by bowling the nightwatchman. Consequently, the in-form Jayasuriya joined captain de Silva with the score on 72. The pair added 33 runs before de Silva was leg before to Waqar, unsurprisingly. It became clear how much the team trusted Ranatunga that Tillakaratne came out to bat in his usual position ahead of the out-of-form former captain.
Just as it looked like the duo of future left-handed captains might put on a strong partnership, Aqib had Tillakaratne caught behind for 14 to end a 30-run stand, and Sri Lanka were 136 for 6. Ranatunga’s stock had clearly risen as he was sent in ahead of the tail-enders, but despite the union of yet another two future left-handed captains, he was dismissed by Wasim, and Jayasuriya was once again left with the tail for company. He top-scored yet again before becoming Waqar’s fifth victim to be dismissed for 45 – Waqar taking the 7th 5-fer of his nascent career – and Wasim bowled the last two batsmen to end the innings on 165.
Pakistan had just over a day and a half to chase 188 to win the match and the series. Ramiz Raja was joined by Zahid Fazal to open the innings, with injury seeing Shoaib Mohammad demoted lower down the order. Wickramasinghe continued his love affair with getting batsmen out leg before when he removed Ramiz with the score on 31. Kapila Wijegunuwardene then channeled his more popular near-namesake Kapil Dev on his way to removing Miandad and Malik cheaply, both caught by Gurusinha, with Malik having hit his customary boundary before falling shortly after.
Pakistan were rattled, and when Wijegunuwardene, whose name I will never forget how to spell after writing this article, picked up skipper Khan for a duck, the hosts were 4 down for 60 runs and staring at a series loss on home soil to the youngest Test-playing country. Wasim Akram then joined Zahid Fazal, and they saw the home team through to the close of play, taking the score to 95. The final day saw the pair add another 50 plus runs to the total before Zahid fell to Gurusinha for a well-made 78 – the 19-year-old, playing out of position as an opener, had done a good job for his side. Pakistan were still 40 runs away from victory as Akram brought up his half-century alongside Shoaib Mohammad, who had been replaced by Fazal at the top of the order because of injury.
Wijegunuwardene – I almost typed this with my eyes closed – then picked up Akram with the score on 156, and Sri Lanka sensed that with an injured Shoaib and the tail, they might have a chance. Not for the first time in his career, then in its infancy, Moin Khan put paid to those plans with a quick-fire innings to take Pakistan closer to victory. Ratnayake dismissed the stodgy Shoaib, but Moin knocked off the remaining runs with Waqar for company, and the hosts had won both the match and the series. Wijegunuwardene’s reward for a near game-winning 7-wicket match haul was to never play a Test for his country again.
The 5-match ODI series was Pakistan’s last series before the World Cup. With just over a month to their opening game versus the West Indies, one would have hoped to see the team playing in conditions as close as possible to those they would find Down Under. So, of course, Pakistan chose to play 40-over games – the World Cup would be 50 overs – with a red ball in whites… you know where I am going with this, and open the series with a game at Sargodha.
The only international match to be played at the brilliantly named Sports Stadium was an easy win for Pakistan as Sri Lanka were put in to bat and made 155 for the loss of 6 wickets, those two future left-handed captains Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne once again being the main contributors as Waqar took two of the wickets to fall. In an ominous sign for the near future, Pakistan chased down the total, with Ramiz Raja and Javed Miandad both making half-centuries.
The second match of the series was held in the warmer climes of Karachi. The Sri Lankans having been exposed to the Punjab winter for a month and captain Imran Khan’s all-round show helped Pakistan to a 2-0 lead in the series. The skipper smashed a 27-ball 44 after each of the top four batsmen made solid starts, with Inzamam-ul-Haq top-scoring with 48 in a team total of 210/5. Roshan Mahanama top-scored with 60 before retiring hurt as Wasim Akram roared back into form with three wickets. Pakistan’s bowling attack in this game of Wasim, Waqar, Aqib, Imran, and Mushtaq was their dream for the World Cup, but it wasn’t to be.
Javed Miandad liked batting at the Niaz Stadium in Hyderabad; in 9 matches, both Tests and ODIs, he scored 996 runs at an average of 199 with five centuries and three half-centuries, remaining not out in 6 of the 11 innings he played and making his highest Test score of 280 not out against India. The only thing Miandad liked more than batting at Niaz Stadium in Hyderabad was batting against Sri Lanka at Niaz Stadium in Hyderabad, scoring a half-century and two centuries in his three innings against them.
In the third match of the series, Miandad scored a scintillating unbeaten 115 as Pakistan amassed 241 for 3 in their 40 overs; Inzamam and Malik both made strong contributions, and Wasim Akram smashed a 6 to end the innings. Sri Lanka started well with the imposing Athula Samaraseekra smashing seven boundaries in his 43 runs off 36 balls as part of a 70-run opening stand. But once he was dismissed by Aqib, the visitors were never in the hunt, losing regular wickets to Aqib and skipper Imran as Waqar had a rare wicket-less day. Sri Lanka did break with tour tradition as a future right-handed captain made a contribution for once, young Marvan Atapattu staying unbeaten as his side limped to a 59-run loss.
The fourth ODI was a high-scoring thriller that went down to the wire. Playing his 6th match and the first in the city of his birth, Inzamam-ul-Haq smashed his first ODI century as Pakistan again crossed 200 in a 40-over game. Pakistan chose to test their batting depth and promoted the lower order hitters over the likes of Miandad and Imran batting in their regular position. Sri Lanka chased down the total with two balls to spare thanks to their burly top-order batters Samaraseekra and Gurusinha making boundary-laden half-centuries. Marvan Atapattu hit a four off Aqib to win the game with two deliveries left.
The final game was played at Rawalpindi, and Inzamam continued where he had left off with yet another superb century. Saleem Malik also haunted the tourists with yet another century, one of six he scored against them across formats. Pakistan’s daunting 271/4 off 40 overs proved too much for the visiting side, who managed 154 all out in reply, with Inzamam having last man Wickramasinghe stumped by Moin to finish proceedings.
Pakistan then headed off to Australia in a bid to acclimatize to the conditions, and we will cover the tournament in Part 2 of this article.
Pakistan tour of England
After meeting in the final of the Cricket World Cup on the 25th of March 1992 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, England and Pakistan faced off again just under two months later to start the newly crowned World Champions’ tour of the team they had beaten in the final.
Lord’s Cricket Ground in the British capital city of London was the venue, and while England made just one change, Pakistan made two. Captain Imran Khan had retired after leading his country to glory and was replaced in the side by Naveed Anjum, while Asif Mujtaba came in for Ijaz Ahmed from the lineup that had played the final.
Javed Miandad was now the captain, and he won the toss and asked England to bat. One-day cricket at the time was tweaked by local teams as they saw fit; Pakistan would play 40-over games at home, and England would play 55-over games. Half-centuries from Stewart, Smith, and Lamb gave the hosts a solid total of 278 for 6. In return, the tourists never really got going, with only Mujtaba’s 52 and contributions from Sohail and Akram getting them to 199 as Derek Pringle continued where he left off in the final with a four-wicket haul, England wrapping up a comfortable 79-run win.
The series then moved to the south of the capital, with the second ODI taking place at the Oval as England won the toss and chose to bat again. The hosts were unchanged again, perhaps trying to convince themselves that this lineup would have won the final, while Pakistan handed a debut to pace bowler Tanvir Mehdi. Unfortunately for him, he was the most expensive bowler as England racked up 302 for the loss of 5 wickets thanks to a superb century from Stewart at the top of the order, a well-paced half-century from Fairbrother at nearly a run a ball before he became Mehdi’s first and only international wicket, and a brutal assault from Hick with an unbeaten half-century scored at a then-rare strike rate of almost 140.
Pakistan’s top six batsmen all got starts, but no one made them count bar Ramiz Raja, who top-scored with 86, as Botham picked up Miandad in the battle of two players who had debuted in the ’70s. The visitors’ lower order wasn’t able to contribute much, with debutant Mehdi making a duck as England took a 2-0 series lead with a 39-run victory.
The series then moved to Nottingham, a venue where England have twice scored over 400 in ODIs in the recent past, doing so against Pakistan in 2016 and making the world’s highest team score against arch-rivals Australia in 2018. Back to 1992 – England broke the then world record in the 3rd ODI, going past West Indies’ 360/4 against Sri Lanka, which had been ironically made in Karachi during the 1987 World Cup.
England finished on 363/7 off their 55 overs, with the top 7 batsmen all reaching double figures, as well as Pakistan contributing 39 extras. There were half-centuries for top scorer Robin Smith, another one for Neil Fairbrother, and one more lower-order slogfest from Graeme Hick. It was a baptism of fire for debutant Rashid Latif who had to deal with leg byes and wides in double figures from his bowlers, including the returning Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, who took five wickets between them but were both expensive.
Saleem Malik captained Pakistan in Miandad’s absence and top-scored with 45, while the new wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif gave a good account of himself with 29. However, Pakistan were bundled out for 165, with DeFreitas and Illingworth both taking three wickets apiece. England’s victory margin of 198 runs broke the record at the time, also overtaking the West Indies, who had beaten Sri Lanka by 191 runs in Karachi.
With their third straight win, England had an unassailable lead in the five-match series as the teams headed back to the Home of Cricket for the 4th match. Captain Javed Miandad was back to lead the side, and despite a promising start, Rashid Latif was replaced by Moin Khan behind the stumps. England, meanwhile, left out captain Graham Gooch with Alec Stewart taking over while debutant Richard Blakey took over the gloves. After three 55-over matches, the teams now played 50 overs, and just as they had in Melbourne, Pakistan won with solid contributions from their captain and vice-captain. Javed top-scored with an unbeaten half-century, Malik narrowly missed his, and Wasim added a late flourish (sound familiar?) to take Pakistan to 204/5.
England would have been confident after their world record score in the last game, but Waqar Younis removed county teammate and stand-in captain Stewart for a duck before Aqib took out Smith and Fairbrother. Aamer Sohail had given Ian Botham a send-off in the World Cup final in reference to the England legend’s sarcastic comments about Pakistan being a great place to send the mother-in-law, so he would have enjoyed taking his wicket as well as that of the dangerous Hick. Alan Lamb and debutant Blakey then repaired the damage with a vital partnership that saw England only 30 runs from victory when Lamb was caught behind off Mushtaq.
Blakey added 19 more runs with the recalled Dermot Reeve, and England looked set to go into the final game on the back of another win, only for Waqar and Wasim, not for the last time that summer, to turn on the heat. Waqar accounted for Blakey before Wasim picked up Chris Lewis and DeFreitas, both more than capable batsmen, to leave England tottering on the brink. The last-wicket pair of Reeve and Illingworth added 8 of the 12 runs needed but with two deliveries left, it was once again Illingworth who was dismissed, this time bowled by Waqar, as Pakistan celebrated a narrow 3-run win to avoid a clean sweep.
The final match of the series was played in Manchester, and Pakistan chose to rest both their captain and vice-captain, which meant current PCB chairman Ramiz Raja captained his country for the first time. He won the toss and chose to bat as Pakistan made 254/5 in a game once again played for 55 overs, Sohail top-scoring with 87 and Inzamam making a superb 75 before becoming debutant Dominic Cork’s first scalp in international cricket. The return of captain Graham Gooch saw England revert to type as Stewart, back behind the stumps, scored a half-century, and Smith smashed an unbeaten 85 with Gooch and Hick both making scores of 40+ to take England to a 6-wicket win that saw them win the ODI series 4-1.
The 5-match Test series was interspersed between the one-dayers and the side matches, the first Test match at Birmingham being played after the first two one-day matches across London. Pakistan handed Test debuts to World Cup winners Aamer Sohail and Inzamam-ul-Haq as well as pace bowler Ata-ur-Rehman. Only Sohail saw any action as no play was possible on the first day. On the second day, he and Raja played a few overs to finish on 3/0 after Gooch had put Pakistan in to bat.
English weather, being true to form, then decided on three days of glorious sunshine as new captain Javed Miandad and his deputy Saleem Malik both made big hundreds in a stand of 322 runs, Miandad being unbeaten on 153 and Malik top-scoring with 165. After Inzamam had hit his first boundary in Test cricket, Pakistan declared on 446/4 halfway through Day 4. England then took over from where the visitors had left, with Alec Stewart making a superb 190 and Robin Smith 127. Ata-ur-Rehman’s three wickets included top scorer Stewart, and the game fizzled out to a draw as England finished on 459/7 before declaring.
The second Test at Lord’s was one of the all-time classics, a game that will live long in the memory. Though it finished in four days, the last few hours of the match had an entire nation glued to their televisions well into the evening as Pakistan snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis took 13 wickets between them, but for their unbeaten 46-run stand for the 9th wicket that took Pakistan home, this game is still remembered. Akram batted with his World Cup helmet on, and the enduring image is of him being hugged by teammates, bat raised in one hand and a stump in the other.
England won the toss and chose to bat first, giving a debut to leg spinner Ian Salisbury as Gooch and Stewart piled on a 123-run partnership to start proceedings. That England only ended up with just over double that score to be all out for 255 was a testament to the superb skill of Waqar, whose five-wicket haul took out the middle order. Aamer Sohail then made his maiden Test half-century to anchor Pakistan’s reply with support from Asif Mujtaba and Salim Malik, taking Pakistan to 293 all out; Salisbury picked up Miandad and Akram as his first Test wickets. The hosts’ second innings score of 175 owed everything to yet another half-century from their wicket-keeper, opener, and vice-captain Alec Stewart who carried his bat to make nearly 40% of his side’s runs as Wasim took four wickets and Mushtaq three, including a beautiful delivery to bowl Robin Smith around his legs.
Chasing 138 to win, Pakistan were rocked back by an excellent spell from the mercurial Chris Lewis as he sent Raja, Mujtaba, and Miandad packing for ducks to reduce Pakistan to 18/3. Saleem Malik then joined Sohail to attempt a recovery before he too was picked by the debutant legspinner, and Inzamam-ul-Haq continued his love affair with run-outs which meant half the side was back in the pavilion with 62 on the board. Wasim Akram joined Sohail, and there was hope that the two future left-handed captains plus Moin Khan could get Pakistan over the line with 76 runs needed. Akram took a boundary off Salisbury, but Sohail was unable to stop a leg break hitting him and going on to break the stumps despite his attempts to kick it away, his footballing skills not tempting Arsenal or Spurs to make him an offer.
Moin attempted to rein in his attacking instincts but only ended up giving a bat-pad catch to Smith off the bowling of Salisbury, who now had five wickets in his debut match and looked set to take his team to victory as Pakistan teetered on 81 for 7. Mushtaq edged Devon Malcolm to slip, and the 8th wicket had fallen with Pakistan on 95, still 43 runs away from victory with only Waqar and Aqib left to come. England’s attack was on fine form with Lewis swinging the ball, Malcolm bowling at pace, and Salisbury getting purchase from a wearing wicket; Pakistan’s chances looked bleak, and a capacity Sunday crowd enjoyed the proceedings that almost certainly pointed to a home win.
Akram and Younis, however, had other plans, and Wasim showed trust in his bowling partner, giving him the strike rather than shielding him. Waqar justified this with a boundary off Lewis before Wasim smashed the same bowler through the offside for another. Malcolm then came on and received the same treatment from Waqar, who hit him back, narrowly missing his hand, and a potential caught and bowled dismissal. Realizing his pace bowlers were feeding the Pakistanis what they wanted, Gooch brought Salisbury back on, and he nearly had Waqar playing on before the fast bowler played him into the leg side to run a three.
With seven balls left in the day, Akram pulled Malcolm to the leg side but could only take a single, which meant he would be on strike for the last over of the day to be bowled by the leg spinner. Salisbury pitched the ball up, no doubt looking for some spin as he had managed to Sohail, but Akram drove him through the vacant covers to win a game Pakistan seemed destined to lose only hours earlier. Waqar finished unbeaten on 20 to go with seven wickets in the match, and Wasim finished 45 not out, easily amongst the best knocks of his career, to go with six wickets for the match and the Man of the Match award.
With a combined match score of 8 runs, out both times to the searing pace of Waqar Younis, who bowled him with a yorker in the first innings and trapped him leg before in the second, plus five wicketless overs, it was the end of the road for Ian Botham, who played his 102nd and final Test match 15 years after his first.
The 3rd and 4th Test matches were played in the north of England, an area historically home to the country’s largest Pakistani immigrant population. While Pakistanis based in England had always vociferously supported visiting sides from the homeland over the years, the World Cup win had emboldened a new generation of fans, most born and raised in England, as Pakistan’s iconic World Cup jerseys became common across games. Just as West Indian and Indian fans flocked to more games after their teams’ respective World Cup wins, Pakistani fans were now louder and more colorful, adding a unique atmosphere to the English Test match summer.
Manchester hosted the 3rd Test match, and captain Javed Miandad decided to bat first after winning the toss on what ended up being a road of a pitch. Aamer Sohail made sure his first Test century was one to remember; it would end up being his highest Test score, with a big score of 205 that featured 32 boundaries. Each of Pakistan’s first three wickets added century partnerships as Ramiz Raja, Asif Mujtaba, and Javed Miandad all scored half-centuries before the team declared on 505/9.
England gave a Test debut to Tim Munton, a towering all-rounder from Warwickshire whose first wicket was the legendary Miandad, though he conceded over 100 runs. The home side had recalled 35-year-old former captain David Gower and he, alongside his 39-year-old captain Graham Gooch made scores of 70+ before half-centuries from Lewis and Salisbury, and a breezy 25 not out by debutant Munton took England to 390 all out.
Wasim Akram took five wickets, and Aqib Javed took four though the sheen was taken off his performance when he was fined half his match fee for an altercation with umpire Roy Palmer, standing in his first Test match but unpopular with the tourists already because his older brother Ken had his own altercations with them during the last tour in 1987. Pakistan’s second innings was merely glorified batting practice, with Raja making a half-century, Miandad and Mujtaba hitting 40s, and Graham Gooch taking 2 of his 23 career Test wickets.
The 4th Test at Leeds continued in the bad-tempered vein that was present across the Pennines, with both teams and fans turning on each other and the umpires. Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first again but bar an excellent 82 from Saleem Malik, who had played some great knocks on this ground, no one really got going (extras was the next highest scorer), and they were bowled out for a disappointing 197. Debutant Neil Mallender, who clearly wasn’t put off by what he saw and later became an umpire, took three wickets, and fellow new boy Munton took 2.
England put on a big opening partnership with Atherton joining captain Gooch to put on 168 before falling to county teammate Akram for 76. Then, with the match finely poised, England got a big reprieve when umpire Mervyn Kitchen failed to spot that Gooch had been run out comfortably, much to the anger of the visiting team and their thousands of fans. Gooch scored 135 and helped his team to a big lead despite Waqar Younis taking out England’s lower order with a superb display of reverse swing, England losing their last 8 wickets for 50 runs.
This didn’t go down well with the tabloids who accused the tourists of cheating, and murmurings of discontent in favor of this from older players such as the recently dropped Lamb and Botham didn’t help Pakistan’s mood. With a knock of 63, Ramiz Raja was the only batsman to give some support to Saleem Malik, who scored yet another half-century on a ground where he would end up averaging over a 100 and score four half-centuries in five innings. Debutant Mallender took a five-wicket haul, and England needed to chase 99 to equal the series with a game to go, which they did for the loss of 4 wickets with veterans Gooch and Gower top-scoring, the latter ending unbeaten as he hit the winning runs.
The Oval in London was the scene for the final Test of a tempestuous series that had reached fever pitch with players, fans, and journalists all heavily invested. England won the toss and chose to bat first, dropping Munton and bringing in Phil Tufnell on a pitch that traditionally helped spinners. Pakistan handed a debut to wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif and also recalled his fellow Karachiite Shoaib Mohammad, who came in for Inzamam.
England opened with Gooch and the recalled Stewart, with Atherton dropping to 3 from where he top-scored. After Aqib and Wasim had accounted for the openers, he put on partnerships with Smith and Gower to take England to 182 for 4, with Mushtaq accounting for Smith and Aqib removing Gower, who would play the last of his 117 Test matches, ending a 14-year career that had also begun against the same opponents.
With Atherton and Ramprakash at the crease and the score on 190 for 4, England would have had a target of around 350 to 400 in mind on a good pitch and looking forward to closing out the day. However, Wasim Akram, who had removed Alec Stewart earlier on, took matters into his own hands with a subliminal display of fast bowling. Only county teammate and good friend Atherton wasn’t dismissed by him; he became Rashid’s first Test scalp off the bowling of Waqar, as Akram blew away the lower order with all the batsmen either bowled or LBW. From 190 for 5, England collapsed to 207 all out, with Akram taking a six-wicket haul.
The Pakistan openers safely saw their team home to end the day in the ascendancy. The next morning, Raja fell to Malcolm after a 50+ opening stand, and Sohail perished one short of his own half-century to the same bowler. This brought captain Miandad to the crease with Shoaib Mohammad, and the pair added a 100+ run stand, with both making half-centuries. When they were both dismissed, Pakistan had a lead of only seven runs and had lost four wickets, but Asif Mujtaba joined Saleem Malik in a 50+ stand before both Malik and Akram fell to Malcolm, England’s best bowler so far.
When Mujtaba was run out, the score was 332, and England would have envisioned keeping the leader under 150, especially since debutant wicket-keeper Latif only had the tail for company. Before he had come out to bat, Latif had been asked by legendary England batsman Geoff Boycott, now a popular commentator, if he could bat, and when he replied in the affirmative, the former captain bet him 5 pounds that he wouldn’t cross 35. When he was the last man out, having made his half-century, Latif pointed the bat to the stands and got a smile from Boycott. Pakistan’s final score of 380 all out featured half-centuries from 4 Karachi-born batsmen, giving them a lead of over 150.
England’s first innings had featured a masterclass from Wasim Akram, so naturally, Waqar Younis chose the second innings to do his bit; he picked up openers Gooch and Stewart before combining again with Rashid Latif to get Atherton. David Gower’s career ended with an inswinger that he left, only to see it swerve back into the stumps. Robin Smith was England’s lone warrior, and he added respectability to the score in partnerships with Ramprakash and Lewis before Mushtaq removed both, the latter stumped by Latif to give the debutant his first victim not named Atherton.
Wasim Akram then took the next three wickets and briefly threatened to pick up a 10-wicket haul and deny Waqar his 5-fer on the ground of his former county side. But the Burewala Express dismissed Devon Malcolm, who had earlier taken five wickets in Pakistan’s innings, to complete his haul and leave Pakistan needing two runs to win the match and the series. Mark Ramprakash was given the over with the field all in, and after starting with a long hop that was called a wide, Aamer Sohail smashed the only legal ball of the innings to the cover boundary to give Pakistan the match and the series.
Thus, the World Champions completed a long tour that had lasted nearly four months and saw them win the Test series as well as thoroughly dominate county sides in First Class games. Of the 12 First Class matches they played against county sides, Pakistan won nine; the only game they lost was the first one against Worcestershire, who would win the County Championship that season. It was the best record against county sides since Bradman’s 1948 team won 15 out of 20. With this achievement, Pakistan became the only side to win the short-lived Tetley Bitter Challenge, a 50,000-pound jackpot sponsored by the home board in an attempt to make side fixtures more meaningful that had been launched in 1990. Pakistan were no doubt helped by their players’ experience in county cricket, and captain Miandad praised the team’s unity during the tour as some of the best he had ever experienced.
Down Under – Again
Benson and Hedges World Series
Pakistan ended 1992 back Down Under, first for the annual tri-series (then known as the Benson and Hedges World Series) before leaving for a tour of New Zealand. They would return after the tour to finish the tri-series while the West Indies and Australia played out a memorable Test series. As World Champions who had won on Australian soil no less, the Pakistanis were expected to provide stern competition to hosts Australia and perennial world series winners West Indies.
They started well, beating the West Indies in a close-fought first game at Perth on the back of an all-round performance from Wasim Akram. Ata-ur-Rehman debuted as Pakistan put the West Indies in to bat, and they finished on 197 for 9, Akram snaring four wickets while Ata only gave 29 off his 10 overs. Brian Lara top-scored with 59 in a run he would keep going for many years against a team he regularly performed well against. Captain Miandad anchored Pakistan’s reply with an unbeaten half-century, which featured contributions from Raja, Malik, and Inzamam before Wasim added the final flourish to take the side home.
After Australia and the West Indies played each other for the next two games, Pakistan took on the hosts in Hobart; Mark Taylor deputized as captain as Australia made 228 for 7 with the late Dean Jones making a half-century. Pakistan’s reply seemed to stutter along, with only Saleem Malik putting up a fight on his way to scoring 64 as Craig McDermott took four wickets. Asif Mujtaba and Rashid Latif added runs, but when last man Aqib Javed joined Mujtaba, Pakistan were still 16 behind and looking unlikely to win. With seven needed off the last ball bowled by the experienced Steve Waugh – who had been doing the job since the 1987 World Cup, where he helped Australia win the final – Mujtaba hit a six to tie the scores and stun the home fans.
Pakistan’s bowling was in good form as they dismissed the West Indies for 177 at Adelaide in the next match of the series, Akram taking three wickets as captain Richie Richardson scored an unbeaten half-century to take his side to a below-par total. A strong start from the openers, Raja scoring 52, and further contributions from Malik and Miandad saw Pakistan at 148 for 3 and looking odds-on favorites to win. However, Carl Hooper’s off-spin accounted for the captain, and suddenly, the Pakistanis collapsed with Hooper and run-outs, six in total, seeing them lose by four runs with a ball to spare.
Pakistan had to pick themselves up as they played hosts Australia at the same venue the next day in a game reduced to 47 overs per side. Despite the strange decision to play Saeed Anwar at 6, Pakistan rode on a half-century from Inzamam and contributions from Mujtaba and Akram to make a decent 195 for 6. Australia comfortably chased the total as no Pakistani bowler was able to make inroads, Taylor making a half-century and both Boon and Jones contributing as they won by eight wickets.
Pakistan then played their last game of this leg before they would fly off to New Zealand and the other two sides resumed their Test series. The day-night game at Sydney saw the West Indies choose to bat first and make 214 for 9 on the back of an excellent 96-run knock by the experienced Desmond Haynes, while Waqar Younis took three wickets. Chasing 215 to win, Pakistan did manage to play 48 overs but ended up being dismissed for a paltry 81 all out; but for Inzamam, Waqar, and Mushtaq reaching double figures, it could have been much worse. Part-time medium-pacer Phil Simmons picked up a world record 4 wickets for 3 runs in his 10 overs, still the most economical spell in one-day cricket history; he bowled 8 maidens, and his economy rate was 0.30 in a feat unlikely to ever be matched or broken again. Rashid Latif tried to resist with a 72-ball innings where he made 8 runs, but all that did was prolong the inevitable.
New Zealand ODIs
A shell-shocked Pakistan side arrived in New Zealand for a 3-match ODI series which would be followed by a one-off Test match before they would go back to Australia to finish the tri-series. The last game between the two sides had been the semi-final of the World Cup as Pakistan broke Kiwi hearts on their way to winning the trophy with a backs-to-the-wall performance that knocked the best side in the tournament out.
The late New Zealand captain Martin Crowe had missed the second half of the semi-final to rest his injured hamstring, something he said he never forgave himself for, and after winning the toss, he put the visitors in to bat. Ramiz Raja’s 50 and Javed Miandad’s 46 were the two highest scores as Pakistan made a disappointing 158/8 with Chris Harris taking three wickets. New Zealand’s top two scorers were the captain and vice-captain, but Crowe’s 28 and Rutherford’s 18 could only help the hosts to a partly 108 all out, Akram taking a 5-fer with a superb display of swing bowling while Aqib chimed in with three wickets.
At Napier in the second ODI, Crowe again put the touring side in to bat, and they again made a sub-par total in a rain-reduced game, finishing with 136 for 8 off their 42 overs as Malik top-scored with 39. Crowe and Rutherford again top-scored for their side, who comfortably chased the total this time to win by six wickets and square the series at one win apiece. Pakistan had recalled all-rounder Shahid Saeed to the side after three years, and he took his career-best figures of 2 wickets for 20 runs to end up as the best bowler for the losing side.
The final one-day match, Pakistan’s last game of a quite extraordinary year, was played at Auckland, where Pakistan had beaten the home side in the World Cup semi-final some nine months earlier in an unforgettable game. Unfortunately, this one was nowhere near as exciting, following the same path as the last one, with Crowe winning the toss and putting Pakistan in to bat before they made yet another disappointing total. Captain Miandad’s 30 was the top score of his side’s sub-standard 139 all out as Willie Watson picked up four wickets for 27 runs. Crowe and Rutherford were once again the top scorers, the captain making an unbeaten half-century which might have helped him exorcise some demons from the semi-final loss as New Zealand chased the total to (again) win by six wickets.
Pakistan’s year started with a Test match against Sri Lanka in Faisalabad and ended with a one-day game in Auckland. Along the way, the team spent almost four months on a long and unforgettable tour of England as well as nearly two months Down Under, where they fought back from near elimination to end up as World Champions for the first time. The second part of our Defining Decade article for 1992 will look at that historic tournament that shaped a nation’s cricketing conscience.