December 02, 1979, Lahore, Punjab
Also Known As
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Abdul Razzaq was once rapid enough to open the bowling and remains composed enough to bat anywhere, though he is discovering that the lower-order suits him nicely. His bowling - the reason he was first noticed - is characterised by a galloping approach, accuracy, and reverse-swing. But it is his batting that is more likely to win matches. He boasts a prodigious array of strokes and is particularly strong driving through cover and mid-off off both front and back foot. He has two gears: block or blast. Cut off the big shots and Razzaq gets bogged down, although patience is his virtue as he demonstrated in a match-saving fifty against India in Mohali in 2005. Just prior to that he had also played a bewilderingly slow innings in Australia, scoring four runs in over two hours. When the occasion demands it though, as ODIs often do, he can still slog with the best of them: England were pillaged for a 22-ball 51 at the end of 2005. and then again for nearly 60 runs in the last three overs of an ODI in September the following year.
It has hardly been smooth sailing though through his career. He suffered a slump, particularly in his bowling, between 2002 and 2004 when, though his place in the team wasn't under threat, there was uncertainty over how best to use him. But there were signs he was rediscovering some of his old guile if not his pace and nip. And if the pitch is in anyway helpful to seam - as it was in his first and only Test five-wicket haul at Karachi in 2004 or against India at the same venue in January 2006 - he can be a proper danger. Though Kamran Akmal's hundred overshadowed all in the Karachi win over India, Razzaq's performance was easily his most emphatic as an allrounder: he scored 45 and 90 as well as taking seven wickets in the match. A combination of injuries and poor form put his Test place into question and a knee injury days before the 2007 World Cup meant Pakistan missed his presence in a disastrous campaign.
A lackluster comeback to international cricket against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi and mediocre performance in the practice matches saw Razzaq being omitted from the 15-man squad for the Twenty20 World Championship and consequently announce his retirement from international cricket. He then went on to sign for Worcestershire towards the end of the county season as well as signing up with the Indian Cricket League, which ruled him out of Pakistan contention. He took back his decision to retire but committed himself to the ICL for two seasons, during which he served the Hyderabad Heroes as one of their star players.
After a global amnesty and quitting the ICL, he was welcomed back to the Pakistan fold for the World Twenty20 in England and made an immediate impact as Pakistan won the tournament. His Test comeback also looked set to be complete after he was included in Pakistan's 15-man squad for the tour of Sri Lanka in June. Early in his career he promised to be Pakistan's most complete allrounder since Imran Khan, and though for a variety of reasons he hasn't translated that into achievement, his country wouldn't mind having just a very solid allrounder.
Osman Samiuddin June 2009
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