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The previous series between Pakistan and Zimbabwe, in Africa in 1994-95, had been an extraordinarily eventful one, shadowed by dissension and allegations of match-rigging and throwing. This month-long tour also exceeded all expectations of newsworthiness, but for different reasons. Several Test batting records fell during an unbeaten double-century from Wasim Akram in the First Test at Sheikhupura, notably the number of sixes hit in one innings. Then, in the Second Test at Faisalabad, Pakistan astonished the cricketing world by selecting a boy, Hasan Raza, who was said to be just 14 years and 227 days old, and thus the youngest ever Test cricket.
After the match, the Pakistan board's chief executive, Majid Khan, announced that in June Raza's age had been estimated at 15 by a leading radiologist at a Lahore hospital, Dr Zia Faruqi. The Board, sceptical about the validity of birth certificates for members of the squad which played in the Under-15 World Cup in England in August, had insisted that every boy undergo a bone test on his left wrist. Dr Faruqi claimed that an examination of the amount of fusion between the wrist's growth-plates gave an accurate estimate of age. This idea was rejected by other experts, and the matter remained unresolved.
Back on the field, the series was not as one-sided as expected, given Zimbabwe's heavy defeats in Sri Lanka a month earlier. Moreover, they were missing strike bowler Heath Streak, out with a groin strain. But the flattest of pitches in the First Test made a result unlikely, even though Zimbabwe had to bat well on the final day to save the match. An altogether different surface for the Second Test helped to produce a conclusion in two and a half days: home captain Wasim bowled so well that few Test sides could have repelled him. The series was a personal triumph for Wasim, who won both match awards and was named, inevitably, as man of the series.
He then became the first bowler to take 300 wickets in limited-overs internationals when he dismissed Dave Houghton in the first over of the one-day series, won convincingly by Pakistan. For a while, it was unclear whether Pakistan would win that series 2-0 or 3-0: the final game, in Peshawar, was called off because of crowd trouble before being restarted on the advice of police. Match referee Jackie Hendriks considered declaring the match void, but ICC ultimately decided to let the result stand.
A. D. R. Campbell (Mashonaland) (captain), A. Flower (Mashonaland) (vice-captain), G. B. Brent (Mashonaland), M. H. Dekker (Matabeleland), G. W. Flower (Mashonaland), D. L. Houghton (Mashonaland), E. Matambanadzo (Mashonaland), M. Mbangwa (Matabeleland), H. K. Olonga (Matabeleland), G. J. Rennie (Mashonaland), B. C. Strang (Mashonaland), P. A. Strang (Mashonaland), A. R. Whittall (Matabeleland), G. J. Whittall (Matabeleland), C. B. Wishart (Mashonaland).
J. A. Rennie (Matabeleland) joined the party to replace the injured Olonga.
Manager: B. Meman. Coach: D. L. Houghton.
Test matches - Played 2: Lost 1. Drawn 1.
First-class matches - Played 3: Lost 1. Drawn 2.
Loss - Pakistan.
Draws - Pakistan, PCB Combined XI.
One-day internationals - Played 3: Lost 3.
Match reports for