Sarfraz Nawaz February 11, 2012

'I did not have a lethal weapon in my armoury'

Sarfraz Nawaz mastered the arts of swing - conventional and reverse - by trial and error, and formed a formidable partnership with Imran Khan. He looks back at his life and career
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In September 2010, while having a stroll in an Islamabad park, I was confronted by a few armed men. They threatened me with dire consequences if I didn't stop talking about gamblers in cricket. I got a First Information Report registered at the local police station. I have always been vocal about the menace of match-fixing. The betting really spread during the Sharjah boom. I was the first person to testify before the Justice Qayyum commission in Pakistan.

In my teens I went into the family business, construction. We were constructing the compound wall of Lahore's famous Government College when the 1965 war with India broke out. That stopped everything. Cricket became my biggest activity. That is how I started in the game.

Physical fitness is the most important quality for a fast bowler. Also, reading the batsman's strengths and weaknesses, and the ability to adjust the line and length.

In 1970 I played regularly for Northants in the County Championship and took about 60 wickets.

Melbourne is my favourite ground. I had my life's best performance - 9 for 86, at the time the best Test figures for a Pakistani - there in 1978-79. I also did well in the Test on the next Pakistan tour.

I got into the Government College because of my cricketing prowess. As always, the Government College team had a number of future Test cricketers: Wasim Raja, Talat Ali, Shafiq Ahmed, among others. My game really flourished. I have the honour of captaining both the Government College and Punjab University sides.

I have always been a fierce competitor. In 1975, Jeff Thomson hurled bouncers at me while bowling for the touring Australians against Northants. In those non-helmet days, it was regarded as unfair to send down bouncers at tailenders. I shouted at him: "There is a grave vacant at the local cemetery." When Australia batted, I had Thomson dismissed off a bouncer.

I made my first-class debut in 1967 and then there was no looking back. My second game was the Ayub Trophy final. Next season I was a member of the Lahore side which dethroned Karachi from the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy after nine years.

The Northamptonshire captain Roger Prideaux was a member of the 1968-69 MCC team. I bowled to him at the practice nets in Lahore before the first Test. He said, "Sarfraz, you can swing the ball either way almost at will." He offered me a contract to play for Northamptonshire even before I had made my Test debut.

During the Melbourne Test of 1978-79, though we had set a tough target of 382, the Aussies were cruising at 305 with just three wickets down. I told my captain, Mushtaq [Mohammad], that we should try to waste time. So I went back to my normal longer run-up to slow things down before the start of the mandatory overs. [Allan] Border got an inside edge. The old ball was swinging and the new batsmen couldn't cope with that. I had took 7 for 1 and they were dismissed for 310. The Australian newspapers reported that I was the most talked-about person in the country the day after the Test.

After just five first-class games, in 1968-69, I was called for a three-day game against the touring MCC, and in the third match of the series, I made my Test debut against them.

I learnt to swing the ball through trial and error. During my early days, I mainly bowled incutters. Then, on a friend's suggestion, I started keeping the shine only on one side and was able to move the ball in either direction.

Initially I didn't teach anyone the art of swing bowling. During the 1974 Pakistan tour of England, I realised Imran Khan would be my regular partner in the Pakistan team. After the tour we had a few unofficial friendly matches in the West Indies, and there I shared my knowledge of swing bowling with Imran, who turned out to be a very good learner.

My most memorable batting was the innings of 90 against England in my last Test, at my hometown, Lahore.

The 1977 Sydney Test was really memorable for me. It was the first major international win of my Test career. The Imran-Sarfraz combination clicked for the first time. From there we were recognised, and this partnership helped Pakistan win many Tests over the next few years.

Playing in the county circuit, a paceman learns a lot. In a single day you sometimes get as many as three weathers and thus different conditions for bowling.

I have no regrets in my cricketing career. I achieved a lot, and thanks to cricket I have lived a full, vibrant and colourful life.

During my tenure for Northants (1969- 1982), they achieved unprecedented success. The best season was 1976, when they laid hands on some silverware [Gillette Cup] for the first time and also finished second in the County Championship. In 1980, when we won the Benson & Hedges Cup for the first time, I had the best figures for my team in the final - 3 for 23 in 11 overs.

The greatest frustration of my career was seeing New Zealand's last pair of Hastings and Collinge score a world-record last-wicket partnership against us during the Auckland Test of 1972-73.

I got along well with Imran during our playing days. Before he became captain, we mostly shared rooms during matches. We often discussed bowling techniques, etc. Even when he led the side, we used to spend a lot of time together after the day's play.

"I don't claim to be a match-winner, but people have pointed out that Pakistan often suffered in my absence. I was controversially axed from the Pakistan squad for the 1979-80 tour of India. Some Indian newspapers wrote that had Sarfraz been in the side, Pakistan might have won the series"

Gordon Greenidge is my favourite cricketer. He was a very intelligent player and was technically superb.

Abdul Rab, who coached at Friends Cricket Club, was my first mentor. Later Iqbal Butt, the director of sports at Punjab University, encouraged me a lot and took pains to provide us with the best facilities.

Being positive all the time is my greatest attribute. I never give up. I have always been ready to accept challenges in life and cricket.

Mushtaq Mohammad is the best captain I played under. He had wonderful communication skills and understood the game well. He moulded Pakistan into a fighting and winning combination, and it was under Mush that Northants had that wonderful season in 1976. Jim Watts was another good captain during my county days.

In the 1975 World Cup we lost against West Indies in the final over of the match. We let their last two wickets score 100 runs. It was mainly due to the poor captaincy of the stand-in skipper, Majid Khan. Instead of attacking the tailenders, defensive fields were adopted. Wasim Raja, who hadn't bowled a single over, was given the last over of the match. The Man-of-the-Match award was of little consolation for me.

I used to do a lot of running, climbing stairs. That helped me build good stamina, and I often bowled long spells. They nicknamed me "Horse".

Arguably, Imran's finest spell came during the last hour of the third day of the second Test of the 1982-83 series v India. The evening breeze of Karachi was helping swing the ball a lot. I suggested Imran swap ends with me because with his greater speed the results would be better. He reluctantly agreed. And then he ran through India's top and middle order with a spell of 5 for 1.

I don't claim to be a match-winner but people have pointed out that Pakistan often suffered in my absence. During the 1976-77 tour of Australia and the West Indies, I missed two Tests and Pakistan lost both. When Pakistan went down 0-1 to West Indies in the 1980-81 series, I didn't figure in the lost tie. In 1982, Pakistan lost to England 1-2. I played only one of the three Tests - the win at Lord's. It was Pakistan's first Test victory over England since 1954. I was controversially axed from the Pakistan squad for the 1979-80 tour of India. Some Indian newspapers wrote that had Sarfraz been in the side, Pakistan might have won the series.

I had offers to act in movies. The first came in England in 1974, but I declined since acting was not my forte. Then in the late '70s, my friend Younis Malik, the famous Pakistani film director, offered me and my actress wife Rani lead roles in his film. I again said no, and Rani had pledged to do no new movies after our wedding.

I was often involved in altercations with the cricket board and team officials because I couldn't tolerate any unfair play. I always spoke my mind.

I was elected as a Member of the Provincial Assembly in 1985 from my home constituency in Lahore. Those elections were non-party. Later, I joined the PPP (Pakistan People's Party) and contested the 1988 elections. I was declared successful, but on a recount, the result was reversed. I lost by about 400 votes.

In the 1979 World Cup semi-final, we had a good chance. Skipper Asif Iqbal, who was in great form, should have come at the fall of the second wicket at 176 instead of Haroon Rasheed, who always struggled in English conditions. In the first place, Wasim Raja, with an excellent record against the Windies, should have been in the side and not Haroon Rasheed.

Once during the West Indies tour of 1976-77, at a dinner, the menu showed "Mountain Chicken" as one of the items. I had been there before and knew what it was. The younger boys, like Javed Miandad and Haroon Rasheed, ordered it, thinking it was chicken. I ate something else. When we were finished, I asked the boys, "Do you know what you have just eaten is a frog?" They thought I was joking and asked the waiter, who confirmed it was a big frog of the Caribbean. That made all of them feel nauseous.

During the two governments of the late prime minister Benazir Bhutto, I served as the federal advisor on sports. I tried to resolve conflicts within various national sports federations through out-of-court settlements and was mostly successful. I also stopped the practice of sending joyriders with the touring national teams, as all the NOCs (No Objection Certificates) had to pass by me.

The cover-drive was my favourite stroke and my height helped me play it well.

The 1974 tour of England was the most memorable. Pakistan didn't lose a single match on the tour - only the second side to do so (the 1948 Australians were the others). And for the first time since the '50s, Pakistan looked like a formidable outfit.

I did not boast of any lethal weapon in my armoury. I tried to bowl according to the particular batsman's strengths and weaknesses. For instance, Sunil Gavaskar was very good at playing inswing but not that comfortable with outswing.

I wasn't really interested in captaining the national side. In the latter part of my career, I often played under boys much junior to me, though in my initial years I had skippered the strong teams of Punjab University and Government College, Lahore. In fact, I have the honour of captaining Punjab University when it reached the final of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy in 1970-71 - the only time any university side managed to do so.

Hanif Mohammad was the most difficult batsman to dismiss. He was very well organised, with an excellent defence and a wonderful temperament.

Twenty20 is the future of cricket. One can enjoy it with the whole family. Skill is displayed in a short period.

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on cricket and other sports. For more about him and samples of his published work, visit www.sportscorrespondent.info

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Toescrusher on | February 14, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    @dthegarty - And where I cam from Lilley kicking Miandad on his legs is a lethal weapon. Sarfraz appealing on 'Handled the Ball' is part of the game where as Lillie behaving like annoying child and kicking Miandad is not part of cricket at all i.e. you may need to reconsider what is a lethal weapon in cricket?

  • POSTED BY SyedArbabAhmed on | February 13, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    @LillianThomson: I liked ur knowledge

  • POSTED BY dthegarty on | February 13, 2012, 2:49 GMT

    Sarfraz reckons he didn't have a lethal weapon in his armoury?

    I diasgree - appealing and having Andrew Hilditch dismissed handled the ball in a test match is a fairly lethal weapon where I come from.

  • POSTED BY on | February 13, 2012, 0:36 GMT

    Apropos Jawad Ali comment. On the 3rd day of the 2nd test in 1982, India went down from 102/2 to 114/7. Imran had a spell of 5/1. Next morning, Vengsarkar and Madan Lal took the score to 197 before Imran took all the three last wickets at the same total of 197. So he couldn't have 5 for 3 in his last 25 balls. I have also checked this from old newspapers/magazines of that time- Imran had a spell of 5 for 1 during the last hour of the 3rd day of the test.

  • POSTED BY KiwiPom on | February 12, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    A player whose value to a team presents itself to the world at large only in hindsight. His test playing record falls into the "deserves to be a regular player" category - between good and outstanding, but not a great. My first contact with Pakistani cricket was in 1962 when they had no bowler, not even a spinner, who could frighten anyone, so it was a surprise to me to see this fast bowler getting the bird at the Basin Reserve in 1973 for bowling a lethal bouncer at Wellington #8 Wayne Greenstreet (I wonder if Sarfraz himself recalls that day). I once thought Salim Altaf was to be the herald of a better Pakistani attack. In a sense he was, but that honour truly belongs to Sarfraz. But he wasn't just a herald, he was the reason those truly greats after him were able to perform at the level they did. This doubtless was well known in Pakistan at the time but only much later elsewhere. Interesting indeed to read of what sort of person he is. Some these days could well take note.

  • POSTED BY sharidas on | February 12, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Very frank and interesting. Sarfraz was always made to look like he was loose mouthed, but, he really was only honest.

  • POSTED BY Malti65 on | February 12, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    Interesting life story. If i am not wrong he is the original swing king of Pakistan Bowlers.

  • POSTED BY on | February 12, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    Some observations after clicking on the links above: In the 1974 tour Pakistan played EIGHT 3-day matches against the counties before playing the English side, and played several more later. That will never happen now. The first two tests were low scoring draws. That will never happen either. Cricinfo score cared lists Imran's spell in 82 as 5/3 and not 5/1

  • POSTED BY bouncer3459 on | February 12, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    Big Talker, under performing player always a pain in the neck of the Captain and conspiring and generating conspiracy theories. Zero marks for you Saf.

  • POSTED BY Umair_umair on | February 12, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    Its so nice to see some of the witnesses of good old days (mostly from) India, commenting here.

  • POSTED BY Toescrusher on | February 14, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    @dthegarty - And where I cam from Lilley kicking Miandad on his legs is a lethal weapon. Sarfraz appealing on 'Handled the Ball' is part of the game where as Lillie behaving like annoying child and kicking Miandad is not part of cricket at all i.e. you may need to reconsider what is a lethal weapon in cricket?

  • POSTED BY SyedArbabAhmed on | February 13, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    @LillianThomson: I liked ur knowledge

  • POSTED BY dthegarty on | February 13, 2012, 2:49 GMT

    Sarfraz reckons he didn't have a lethal weapon in his armoury?

    I diasgree - appealing and having Andrew Hilditch dismissed handled the ball in a test match is a fairly lethal weapon where I come from.

  • POSTED BY on | February 13, 2012, 0:36 GMT

    Apropos Jawad Ali comment. On the 3rd day of the 2nd test in 1982, India went down from 102/2 to 114/7. Imran had a spell of 5/1. Next morning, Vengsarkar and Madan Lal took the score to 197 before Imran took all the three last wickets at the same total of 197. So he couldn't have 5 for 3 in his last 25 balls. I have also checked this from old newspapers/magazines of that time- Imran had a spell of 5 for 1 during the last hour of the 3rd day of the test.

  • POSTED BY KiwiPom on | February 12, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    A player whose value to a team presents itself to the world at large only in hindsight. His test playing record falls into the "deserves to be a regular player" category - between good and outstanding, but not a great. My first contact with Pakistani cricket was in 1962 when they had no bowler, not even a spinner, who could frighten anyone, so it was a surprise to me to see this fast bowler getting the bird at the Basin Reserve in 1973 for bowling a lethal bouncer at Wellington #8 Wayne Greenstreet (I wonder if Sarfraz himself recalls that day). I once thought Salim Altaf was to be the herald of a better Pakistani attack. In a sense he was, but that honour truly belongs to Sarfraz. But he wasn't just a herald, he was the reason those truly greats after him were able to perform at the level they did. This doubtless was well known in Pakistan at the time but only much later elsewhere. Interesting indeed to read of what sort of person he is. Some these days could well take note.

  • POSTED BY sharidas on | February 12, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Very frank and interesting. Sarfraz was always made to look like he was loose mouthed, but, he really was only honest.

  • POSTED BY Malti65 on | February 12, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    Interesting life story. If i am not wrong he is the original swing king of Pakistan Bowlers.

  • POSTED BY on | February 12, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    Some observations after clicking on the links above: In the 1974 tour Pakistan played EIGHT 3-day matches against the counties before playing the English side, and played several more later. That will never happen now. The first two tests were low scoring draws. That will never happen either. Cricinfo score cared lists Imran's spell in 82 as 5/3 and not 5/1

  • POSTED BY bouncer3459 on | February 12, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    Big Talker, under performing player always a pain in the neck of the Captain and conspiring and generating conspiracy theories. Zero marks for you Saf.

  • POSTED BY Umair_umair on | February 12, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    Its so nice to see some of the witnesses of good old days (mostly from) India, commenting here.

  • POSTED BY on | February 12, 2012, 2:28 GMT

    Sarfaraz served Pakistan very well in cricket. In politics, Sarfaraz would do Pakistan a great favor if he could establish an understanding and working relationship between PTI and MQM, the two parties that are most capable of leading Pakistan out of the mess it is in.

  • POSTED BY LillianThomson on | February 11, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    Imran and Sarfraz complimented one another well: the problem was that there was no support and that Sarfraz was in decline by the time Abdul Qadir arrived as an international class bowler....and then Imran fractured his shin on the eve of the 83 World Cup and tour of Australia. But really the problem was the batting. Only Mohsin Khan and Javed Miandad could bat in alien conditions (a bit like India now). Zaheer was a stylist who was frightened of pace, Mudassar was not quite good enough and Majid Khan was past-it. Mansoor Akhtar had all the shots but was mentally flawed. And Wasim Bari was an old-fashioned keeper who could not bat at all. It took until the long-forgotten World Championship of Cricket in 1985 (Ind bt Pak in the final) for Imran to put together a more mentally strong team with Ramiz Raja, Salim Malik and Wasim Akram, with Ijaz Ahmed and Salim Yousaf following soon after.

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 23:26 GMT

    very nice interview/article ... i read every word of it and enjoyed it

  • POSTED BY insightfulcricketer on | February 11, 2012, 21:00 GMT

    My grainy memory recalls Sarfraz as a combative bowler and a workhorse. Very beautiful interview I thought which brought back lots of memories of tours a long time ago. I think the Frog incident was also mentioned in Sunil Gavaskar's Idols book. Indian batsmen always rated Sarfraz as a very canny bowler who complementd Imran very well. With the notorious Aussie umpiring of '70-'80s it must have been quite a spell to take 7-1 in Oz.I am guessing no caught-behinds ,lbws only clean bowled or caught in the slips.

  • POSTED BY Sayedgee on | February 11, 2012, 20:20 GMT

    @Al_Bundy1 While your complement about Pakistan fast bowlers is well taken and appreciated,its not really true that Pakistan lacked batsmen of equal stature to match any side, including India,in the world. Just to name Hanif Mohammed, Zaheer Abbas, and Javed Momndad.Its just that Bating is more a mental game requiring settled atmosphere and administration much lacking in volatile climate of Pakistan cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    He has a great cricketing brain. i remember when i used to play for LDCA and i had a problem in my bowling action. I used to hit my front foot heal on the pitch while delivering the ball. I asked Aqib Javed who was in the team that time (current Pakistan team's bowling coach) but he couldn't help me. I asked Wasim Akram as well but he also had no solution for me. Then i met Sarfaraz Nawaz and discussed my problem with him. He said go and start bowling. After a very first ball he said your step at the time of delivering the ball is too long, that's why your heal hit so badly. He told me to shorten a little bit my step and my problem was no more there. Great cricketer. Great man. Jetay rahoo captan jee

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    He has a great cricketing brain. i remember when i used to play for LDCA and i had a problem in my bowling action. I used to hit my front foot heal on the pitch while delivering the ball. I asked Aqib Javed who was in the team that time (current Pakistan team's bowling coach) but he couldn't help me. I asked Wasim Akram as well but he also had no solution for me. Then i met Sarfaraz Nawaz and discussed my problem with him. He said go and start bowling. After a very first ball he said your step at the time of delivering the ball is too long, that's why your heal hit so badly. He told me to shorten a little bit my step and my problem was no more there. Great cricketer. Great man. Jetay rahoo captan jee

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | February 11, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    @AL-BUNDY 1 . INDIAN DOESN'T HAVE GOOD FAST BOWLER IN 1980S . DID YOU FORGET KAPIL DEV 434 TEST WKTS AT AN AVERAGE OF 26 WITH 24 5 WKT HAULS .

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | February 11, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    Agree with @Narumanchi - In the '70s and 80's, we from India used to keenly follow Pakistan cricket team's fortunes. We always wondered - how do they produce top quality fast bowlers like Sarfaraz and Imran. We had top quality batsmen in Gavaskar and Vishwanath. Even now if we can get 2 top quality pacers, we have good quality batsmen in Virat, Rohit, Manoj, Pujara, etc. to become top cricket side.

  • POSTED BY AlbertEinstein on | February 11, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    The interviewer should also have asked him how he invented reverse swing. This would have been a cricket equivalent of how microwaves were invented (by accident or otherwise ?).

  • POSTED BY haroonalvi on | February 11, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    I have met him a few times in my local park (in Islamabad, I-8) and boy he's tall. I am 5'-11" but looked like a kid in front of him, he told me that he's 6'-4" but he looks atleast 6'-5" 6'-6".

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    Excellent article. Indeed you have a different way presenting interviews. Thanks a lot and keep them coming

  • POSTED BY kunderanengineer on | February 11, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    As an Indian fan I have always admired and even idolized the great collection of Pakistani fast bowlers over time such as Sarfraz, Imran, Wasim, Shoaib and Waqar and at the same time have been puzzled at why India, a much larger country, has never been able to produce pace bowlers of this quality.Maybe India should think about hiring a Pakistani bowling coach for the likes of Yadav, Aaron and Sharma since there's obviously more to fast bowling than just bowling at speeds of 140 km/hr and over. It might also be a good idea at the same time to make it obligatory for young hopefuls to play county cricket in England to get acclimatized to foreign conditions at a young age so that they are not intimidated by those conditions.How refreshing would it be to hear an Indian player say, as Sarfraz does in the article, "Melbourne was my favourite ground!"

  • POSTED BY Chirs-Cry on | February 11, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    One of the all-time greats. Certainly among the best of his time. His 9/86 still lingers around many Aussie batsman. Was a treat to watch.

  • POSTED BY MuhammadIqbal on | February 11, 2012, 15:34 GMT

    Sarfraz Nawaz was great fast Bowler those were produced by Pakistan along with Fazal Mehmood,Imran Khan ,Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis .He is bold character and has no hesitation to give his openion .

  • POSTED BY LillianThomson on | February 11, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    There wasn't really the technology at the time to show this, but the other thing about Sarfraz was that his bowling action and Robin Jackman's were identical. Not similar, identical!

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    In 1980, during a friendly game against the Indian test team in Washington DC, I remember asking Kirmani who he thought was better, Sarfaraz or Imran. He said Sarfaraz. In the following test series in Pakistan, Imran almost single handidly destroyed India.

  • POSTED BY Amitaabh on | February 11, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    I remember as a child from India, when pakistan team was touring India (I forget the year): Sarfaraz Nawaaz, Wasim Raje, Wasim Bari etc..I recall these names and their pictures in local newspaper.

    I was good to read this article about Safaraz Nawaaz -- Thank you. This article brought back many memories of my childhood days. I still remember where I had seen Pakistan Team Players pictures etc..Also those were days of radio (as many of readers in India may recall) .. so listning to commnetary on radio (with my friends, brothers ) is another thing i recall .. ah those fond memories..

    I was good to know it was Sarfaraz who taught Imran ..I did not know this or too young to know at that time..Also the episode of 'mountain Chicken' was good know as a lighter side of cricket..

    Overall thanks again for the article..

  • POSTED BY rkannancrown on | February 11, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    Sarfraz Nawaz was also a master in the art of appealling. one memory of the 82 -83 series was of Srikkanth standing outside his crease, playing well forward 7 hit above the knee roll being out LBW. Only sarfraz appealled & kept on appealing till the umpire, who initially said not out, gave the batsman out. some of the Pakistani players were completely amused at the appeal. Lala Amarnath, as 'expert commentator" said he needs to ask the umpire under what law was srikkanth given out. i watched the incident in my professor's house & he said 'Richie Benaud has a wothy successor".

  • POSTED BY Sal2011 on | February 11, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    Sarfraz captured the best of the lively spirit of Lahore and turned into a lasting legacy of fast bowlers for Pakistan. You will always be remembered for it, and toasted for it.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | February 11, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    To refresh my memories I remember Sarafraz was injured for the third test at Headingley in 1982 where Pakistan lost by 3 wickets and the series 2-1.Had Sarafraz played I am almost certain Pakistan would have won that test and achieved their firts series win in England considering that the ball was moving around from day one to the last day.This shows his worth to the team.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | February 11, 2012, 10:55 GMT

    I complement Sarafraz as it was he who taught Imran the art of swinging a ball.Sarafraz was lethal on a green top as he mastered the art of swinging the ball both ways in the Richard Hadlee mould.His 7-1 spell as part of his overall figures of 9-86 at Melbourne in 1979 was one of the greatest match-winning spells ever in test cricket.He also came so close to taking Pakistan toa historic win over West Indies in the 1975 World Cup.I agree with his evaluation of Hanif Mohammad ,one of the technically soundest batsmen of all time as well as his praise of the contribution of Mushtaq Muhammad,who literally organised a bunch of talented individuals into one of the world's top teams in 1976-77.I also cannot forget the 1979 semifinal of the World cup when Pakistan came so close yet so far in the end and Asif Iqbal coming in late denied them of a possible win.

  • POSTED BY LillianThomson on | February 11, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    Sarfraz had the misfortune to play in a Pakistan team in which certain players were flat-track bullies who let them down overseas. Imran recognised that, and his teams in 85-88 and 89-92 often featured players who were less gifted but mentally much less brittle. Also, the article doesn't really touch on just how much Sarfraz was the architect of his own exclusion much of the time. He never reached the depths of a certain left-handed opener, who once set the square on fire with petrol, but he still lacked a lot of restraint.

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    He was a truly colorful character, and nobody could take the credit from him, for mastering the reverse swing, and teaching it to the future bowling greats of Pakistan. Ijaz Chaudhry has done a commendable job of bringing out the memories of a time which shall never be forgotten, and all our fast bowlers after Sarfraz owe him a lot.

  • POSTED BY Rakim on | February 11, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    Champion bowler. His name will always be mentioned with bowling greats

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Mr Mazher Arshad, During the 1974 tour, Pakistan didn't lose any match during the entire tour. That includes not only the tests but also all the other matches i.e. first class matches against counties, ODIs plus any other match. And Pakistan was only the second team since Bradman's 1948 team to accomplish this feat on a tour of England.

  • POSTED BY umairasgharbutt on | February 11, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    great crickter, great man !

  • POSTED BY sunnysaeed on | February 11, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    NO doubt about it he is a Inventor of reverse Swing ... i m proud of him as i m from the same place ( Mozang, Lahore ) where he is belong .....

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    It is written in this interview: The 1974 tour of England was the most memorable. Pakistan didn't lose a single match on the tour - only the second side to do so (the 1948 Australians were the others).

    This is actually a wrong fact. Many teams, including India in 1971, South Africa in 1965 and West Indies in 1973, toured England without losing a match and also won their series.

  • POSTED BY Narumanchi on | February 11, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    In the '70s and 80's, we from India used to keenly follow Pakistan cricket team's fortunes. The team as always consisted of very talented players. Sarfraz was the most popular even in India. A fighter to the core, a fierce competitor and a very mercurial personality. As and when Pakistanis played together as a team they were capable of beating any team in the world. Sadly, individually talented they are, rarely they played to their potential as a team....

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    Didn't Gary Sobers invented reverse swing?

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    Shining star of the Pakistan!

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    A very well article. We all remember Sarfraz proudly for his 9/83 in Melbourne. I was only a 10 year old boy then and still remember listening to the radio commentry and cheering every wicket. He comes across as a very humble person and may God bless him.

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    Without mentioning his controversial remarks, it has to be said that he was a true champion and father of reverse swing who invented it.

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  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    Without mentioning his controversial remarks, it has to be said that he was a true champion and father of reverse swing who invented it.

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    A very well article. We all remember Sarfraz proudly for his 9/83 in Melbourne. I was only a 10 year old boy then and still remember listening to the radio commentry and cheering every wicket. He comes across as a very humble person and may God bless him.

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    Shining star of the Pakistan!

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    Didn't Gary Sobers invented reverse swing?

  • POSTED BY Narumanchi on | February 11, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    In the '70s and 80's, we from India used to keenly follow Pakistan cricket team's fortunes. The team as always consisted of very talented players. Sarfraz was the most popular even in India. A fighter to the core, a fierce competitor and a very mercurial personality. As and when Pakistanis played together as a team they were capable of beating any team in the world. Sadly, individually talented they are, rarely they played to their potential as a team....

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    It is written in this interview: The 1974 tour of England was the most memorable. Pakistan didn't lose a single match on the tour - only the second side to do so (the 1948 Australians were the others).

    This is actually a wrong fact. Many teams, including India in 1971, South Africa in 1965 and West Indies in 1973, toured England without losing a match and also won their series.

  • POSTED BY sunnysaeed on | February 11, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    NO doubt about it he is a Inventor of reverse Swing ... i m proud of him as i m from the same place ( Mozang, Lahore ) where he is belong .....

  • POSTED BY umairasgharbutt on | February 11, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    great crickter, great man !

  • POSTED BY on | February 11, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Mr Mazher Arshad, During the 1974 tour, Pakistan didn't lose any match during the entire tour. That includes not only the tests but also all the other matches i.e. first class matches against counties, ODIs plus any other match. And Pakistan was only the second team since Bradman's 1948 team to accomplish this feat on a tour of England.

  • POSTED BY Rakim on | February 11, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    Champion bowler. His name will always be mentioned with bowling greats