Abdul Razzaq - Pakistan's forgotten hero

Razzaq has batted in different position for Pakistan and has delivered

Pakistan has always been known for producing raw talent and genuine fast bowlers. Players like Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram and Mohammad Amir were put on the world stage at a very young age. Another player who falls under the same category is the all rounder Abdul Razzaq. He made a lot of headlines in the late 90s and during 2000s before eventually losing his place in the side. The all rounder was known for his big hitting and the ability to change the game at crucial times with the ball too.

Razzaq made his debut in 1996 in an ODI against Zimbabve at the age of 16 primarily for his bowling skills with the new ball. It took him only three years to break into the Test side which already had great players like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. His Test debut came against Australia at Brisbane. He became a regular part of the national side during the 1999 World Cup in England where he opened the bowling for Pakistan and batted at different positions to give his team a much needed stability.
The Carlton and United Series (2000) proved to be the turning point of his career. Razzaq won the man of the tournament award for his all round performances. His best performance came in a match against India where he scored 70 not out and also picked up 5 wickets for 43 runs becoming only the fifth player to score a half century and take five wickets in the same match. In one of the matches against Australia, he smashed Glenn McGrath for five consecutive boundaries leading to his comparisions with the Pakistani legend Imran Khan.

Numbers that are hard to ignore

Razzaq could never reach the same heights in his career as Imran Khan did and sadly is not even considered among the best all rounders the country has produced with Wasim Akram and Shahid Afridi leading the list. However, his stats speak something else. Razzaq scored 5080 runs in 265 ODIs with an average of almost 30 and picked up 269 wickets at an economy rate of 4.69 and had an average of 31.83.
He opened the bowling in the 2011 World Cup

If we compare that with Afridi's numbers, he had a batting average of just over 23 and his bowling average was 34.35. On the other hand, the former Pakistan captain Imran Khan had a slightly better record maintaining a batting average of 33.41 and a bowling average of 26. So, Razzaq didn't have a bad record at all and made a decent amount of appearances for his country too, but was dropped from the side at a time when the team needed him the most. With all that experience, he could have played an important role guiding the youngsters in a re-building phase for Pakistan. Eventually, he bacame a forgotten hero.

With many senior players like Shoaib Malik, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez missing from the side, the lack of experience clearly exposed Pakistan during the 2015 ICC World Cup. Also the lack of a genuine all rounder at number 7 affected their strategies. One could only imagine what impact Razzaq could have had on Pakistan's campaign.

ICL stint and the subsequent comeback

He was surprisingly dropped from the national team for the 2007 T20 World Cup, which was criticized by experts around the world. Razzak took the snub seriously and announced his retirement from international cricket and joined the rebel Indian Cricket League. He was recalled into the Pakistan team for the 2009 T20 World Cup as a replacement for the injured Yasir Arafat and played an important part in the successful campaign.
Razzaq had a stint with the ICL

2010 was a tough year for Pakistan Cricket as the spot fixing scandal shook the world. Three big names Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir were found to be involved in spot fixing and were banned. At this time, Razzak took the responsibility and proved to be a saviour for Pakistan, He enjoyed a superb run of form and won some big games for his side. One of his best innings came in this period when he scored a sizzling 109 not out from just 72 balls at a strike rate of 151 against South Africa to win the match for Pakistan from a losing position. He hit 10 sixes in that innings.

Razzak always remained a team player and batted at every position from 1 to 11. He was again dropped from the side after the 2011 World Cup and now at the age of 35, the chances of him making another comeback look very bleak. But that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating his legendary career.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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