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Zaheer Abbas
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Zaheer Abbas

Pakistan
Zaheer Abbas

INTL CAREER: 1969 - 1993

Full Name

Syed Zaheer Abbas Kirmani

Born

July 24, 1947, Sialkot, Punjab

Age

73y 271d

Batting Style

Right hand bat

Bowling Style

Right arm offbreak

Other

Referee

TEAMS

Zaheer Abbas was a stylish, elegant batsman. In full flow, he was a sight for sore eyes. His avarice for runs matched that of the Australian legend, and that was why he was dubbed the Asian Bradman. High praise indeed for there have been many greats but none matches the aura of the Don.

There was not a touch of arrogance about Zaheer's batting but of lyrical, fluent movement, his innings memorable for a refined, effortless beauty. His strength was precision and timing. He had the ability to go on back and front foot with equal facility, on occasions moving from backward to forward or vice versa during the course of one stroke and yet send the ball crashing to the fence. A high back-lift gave him a touch of elegance, and combined with powerful and supple wrists guiding the ball into the gaps on both sides of the wicket, he scored a very high proportion of his runs in boundaries. When the going was good, he seemed like a maestro at work, his artistry, his elegance leaving connoisseurs awestruck.

Zaheer's first big score came in England, a double hundred, 274 to be precise, at Edgbaston in only his second Test. With that innings, not only did he prove the pundits wrong, who thought that his technique and high backlift would make him highly suspect against the seaming ball, it also heralded the arrival of a new international star. Such was his mastery, so profound his concentration that he never seemed like getting out. He may have gone on and on, when sheer exhaustion got him; by the time he got out he had batted for nine hours and 10 minutes.

Many counties lined up to recruit this lean and bespectacled youth, but he opted for Gloucestershire, a less fashionable choice but one which he did not regret. He never switched to another county, playing for Gloucester right to the end, making runs year on year in a huge pile, well in excess of 1,000 almost every season, 2,544 in one glorious Indian summer of 1976 and another 2305 in 1981.

Having already scored another double hundred (240) in the Oval Test in 1974 and some big scores on the Australian tour of 1976-77 including 101 at Adelaide, he was signed up by the Kerry Packer circus, which resulted in his missing two rubbers against England. When the Packer bunch was welcomed back to the fold for the Indian series, the first between the two in 18 years, Zaheer was at his majestic best, putting to sword the feared Indian spin quartet to notch scores of 176, 96 and 235 in successive innings. His tally of 583 runs in a short rubber was then a world record.

The only Asian to have made a century of centuries in first class cricket to date, he really had a Bradmanesque appetite for runs. Nothing reflects this better than his making a century in each innings on eight occasions in a first class match, a world record. All the more amazing is the fact that in four out of these eight, he made a double hundred and a hundred. His 100th hundred, predictably, a double hundred (215) against India in the 1982-83 Lahore Test was followed by two more Test hundreds in that series.

That was the last of his great series, and though he got the captaincy, which he so desired when Imran Khan got his famous shin injury, he only played one major innings, an unbeaten 168, again at Lahore, again against India. Never really comfortable against genuine pace, but then nobody really is, by then age was catching up fast and his reflexes had deteriorated a great deal.

For one who was the epitome of grace in batting, his exit was rather unseemly as he opted out of the last Test of his career at Karachi in 1985-86 against Sri Lanka, not allowing himself a proper farewell. Zaheer blamed it on senior players, on Imran Khan in an indirect way. But perhaps he did so in a fit of pique, because having announced his retirement from Test cricket, he still wanted to remain active in the one-day version of the game. And the selectors, certainly with Imran prompting them, would have none of it. Whatever the reason, none would dispute that Zaheer deserved a better send off than he got.

Career Averages

Batting & Fielding
FormatMatInnsNORunsHSAveBFSR100s50s6sCtSt
Test7812411506227444.79122022340
ODI62606257212347.62303384.80713160
FC459768923484327451.541081582780
List A3233093311240158*40.721972780
Bowling
FormatMatInnsBallsRunsWktsBBIBBMAveEconSR4w5w10w
Test781437013232/212/2644.00123.30000
ODI621228022372/262/2631.854.7740.00000
FC45925821146305/1538.2086.0010
List A323828689163/483/4843.0651.70000
Umpire & Referee
FormatMatReferee
Test11
ODI33
Zaheer Abbas portrait
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Debut/Last Matches

  • Player
  • Referee
FC Matches
Span
1965/66 - 1986/87
List A Matches
Span
1971/72 - 1986/87

Photos


N Srinivasan congratulates Zaheer Abbas
Zaheer Abbas was confirmed as ICC President at the ICC Annual Conference
Intikhab Alam and Zaheer Abbas at a press conference
Zaheer Abbas talks on the phone as he walks towards the team bus at The Oval
Zaheer Abbas, Shaharyar Khan and Abbas Zaidi at a press conference
Zaheer Abbas, Shaharyar Khan and Abbas Zaidi at a press conference