Mohammad Ishaq, who had played first-class cricket in Pakistan, was one of the stars of the UAE team that played the 1996 World Cup. A car accident has left him in a wheelchair, but he is still passionate about cricket and regularly attends matches at Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Stadium. With UAE back in the World Cup after 19 years, Paul Radley of The National chats with Ishaq about his career and the early years of UAE cricket.
The story of Ishaq's arrival in the UAE is typical of so many leading cricketers in this country. He had shown talent as a first-class cricketer in his homeland and was reckoned to be in the running for selection for the Pakistan national team. Two hundreds early in his Qaid-e-Azam trophy career earned him recognition and a call-up seemed imminent when Imran Khan and Zaheer Abbas, two seniors of the side, fell out with the Pakistan board ahead of a tour to Australia.
"My blazer was made, but at the last moment Imran and Zaheer patched up their differences with the board," Ishaq said. "That was very sad for me. I had prepared with the team. So I was near to the team, but my financial condition was too low."
Offered a secure job as a money-market officer with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, on the simple proviso he score runs for the staff team, he opted to leave.