"I never needed a coach to tell me how to bat" : Zaheer Abbas


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  1. #1
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    "I never needed a coach to tell me how to bat" : Zaheer Abbas






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  2. #2
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    In an interview with Saj for Wisden, Zaheer Abbas, known to many as the Asian Bradman, reflected upon the highs and lows of his career, the Pakistani dressing room environment, toughest opponents, his memorable innings of 274 in England, his experience of captaining Pakistan, the intense rivalry with India, why he never needed a batting coach and why Test cricket is the truest test for any cricketer.


    Initially cricket was just a way to keep close to my father

    I came from a typical cricket-mad Pakistani family where my father and all of his friends were really into cricket. Some of my earliest memories of cricket are going with my father and his friends to the National Stadium in Karachi when overseas teams were touring Pakistan. They were such happy times, unforgettable days and I would look forward to going to watch international cricket, weeks before the matches were to be played and count down the days till the start of the match. I was really close to my father and initially I saw going to watch cricket at the National Stadium and playing cricket as just a way to keep close to him and to remain in his good books.


    A small fish in a big pond

    By the time I moved to Karachi I had already built a reputation in Sialkot as a batsman who could score heavily and who had potential. It was actually quite frightening when I started to play cricket in Karachi as I was just a small fish in a large pond, whereas in Sialkot it was the complete opposite. At first, in Karachi, I had doubts about whether I would make it as a cricketer and actually thought that perhaps I should forget my dream of becoming a professional cricketer. It wasnít until I was 13 or 14 years old when I started to make a name for myself in junior cricket in Karachi. At that time to even get into the local district junior teams in Karachi, you had to be damn good, as competition for places was so tough and very intense.


    I always prayed for my hero Hanif Mohammad

    Hanif Mohammad was my inspiration and my hero. He was the epitome of a gutsy, determined and humble cricketer and someone who I wanted to follow when it came to cricket. I would copy his batting technique as a small child and through school cricket and pretend to be him whenever I played against my friends. We had this game where each of us pretended to be a famous cricketer and nobody dared to be Hanif as they all knew he was my favourite cricketer and that I would want to pretend to be him. I had this routine where I prayed for Hanif that he didnít get hurt when playing for Pakistan and that he scored lots of runs whenever I went to watch him bat at the National Stadium.


    I just wanted to tell my grand-children I made 50 against England, but ended up scoring 274

    I still find it incredible whenever I look back at my score of 274 against England at Edgbaston in only my second Test match. Earlier, I had made my Test debut in 1969 against New Zealand and had flopped badly by only scoring 12. As a result, I was thrown into the wilderness for nearly two years and had to wait patiently for my next chance for Pakistan which I thought was never going to come. I had scored a century in a side match on the tour of England in 1971 against Worcestershire so I was hopeful that I might get a chance to perhaps play one Test match. When I stepped out onto the field at Edgbaston, I couldnít believe that I was in England playing a Test match against them. I recall that when I had scored 49, I said to my batting partner, just make sure you run if I hit it, as I want to tell my grand-children that I score a half-century in a Test match against England, as I have no idea if I will ever play again for my country. Once I reached 50 runs, my confidence grew and I felt invincible and as they say, the rest is history. I never looked back after that score of 274, it was the turning-point for me, and the media all around the world started talking about me. My life completely changed after that innings in Birmingham and subsequently I was selected for the World XI and then played County cricket, largely down to that one innings of 274.


    To reach the milestone of 100 First-Class hundreds against India was the icing on the cake

    There arenít many cricketers who score 100 First-Class hundreds and I feel honoured to be in that small group of players who have achieved that milestone. To complete this feat in a Test match and that too against India was just the icing on the cake. When I reached that milestone in Lahore it felt like in the space of a few seconds my whole cricket career flashed through my mind, from my days in school cricket through to playing First-Class cricket, and then for my country. It was a special moment and one that I will always cherish. Itís wonderful that whenever my name is mentioned in cricketing circles, one of the first things mentioned is that I am a member of that select band of cricketers to have scored 100 First-Class hundreds and this means a lot to me.


    You have to be crazy to be a batsman against pace-bowling

    I faced some of the most hostile, fast, nasty and aggressive pace-bowlers. Men who wanted to kill you, men who wanted to hurt you and men who would do anything to get you out. They were fierce opponents, gladiators who would not take a backward step against any opponent and I was initially facing them without a batting helmet and on uncovered pitches. Thankfully for most of my career, my reflexes were really good and as mad as it may sound, I actually enjoyed the challenge of facing the fastest bowlers of my time. People say you have to be crazy to be a goalkeeper in football, but I say you have to be crazy to be a batsman when you are facing a ball coming towards you at over 90 MpH. But the one bowler who I could never work out and who I found very difficult to face was the Australian spinner John Gleeson. He had an unusual action and was a very unorthodox bowler. Despite coming from Karachi where we had a lot of spinners, I just couldnít understand or get the better of Gleeson.


    New players were welcomed with suspicion

    When I came into the Pakistan team as a youngster, my team-mates were mostly seniors and established players, so I was the new kid on the block and found it difficult to settle into the dressing-room. I always respected my seniors, but I never initially felt comfortable in that environment as the culture was a very formal one where new players were sometimes welcomed with suspicion, rather than with open arms. As time went on though, I became very friendly with Asif Iqbal and Mushtaq Mohammed as we not only played for our country, but were also playing County Cricket together and that really helped my career blossom.


    I never needed a coach to tell me how to bat

    I never bothered with coaches, I never learnt from coaches and I never needed a coach to tell me how to bat. I could never understand why some guys, after a few low scores, would go running to the coach as if that person could wave a magic wand and help them suddenly start scoring runs again. I always felt players who relied on coaches too much were mentally weak and too reliant upon others. My philosophy was always to learn from the great players that I was playing against or alongside. They were my coaches and source of inspiration and who I needed to look at for improvements to my game. I learnt a lot from watching Rohan Kanhai, he was a batsman who I used to love watching bat and someone who I could learn from.


    If you lost to India, your friends and family soon reminded you about it

    Whenever I played against India it always felt different. Back then the hostility of social media wasnít around as it is these days, but there was still an edge to the matches, a real competitiveness and it meant so much to the fans of both countries. If you lost to India, your friends and family soon reminded you about it and in fact they kept on reminding you about that defeat, until the next time you beat the arch-rivals. I was lucky in that I played in an era where Pakistan cricket was on the rise and I feel that my era really helped produce many stalwarts of Pakistan cricket, many of whom played for a long period for their country. That period galvanised Pakistan cricket and we really started to produce a type of tough cricketer who didnít fear whether the opposition was India, West Indies or anybody else and it was an era where self-belief in players really took-off.


    It was tough, it was intense, it was no-nonsense cricket

    With the great periods come the lean periods and every cricketer has to face those lean periods. The biggest problem we had back in my day was that the number of international matches played was not very high and if you had a lean period it was very noticeable to all, especially if you were only playing a few Test matches a year. If there were only three Test matches that year and you flopped, well you waved goodbye to your place in the Test team and it could be a couple of years before you even got the chance to try to reclaim your place in the national team. It was tough, it was intense, it was no-nonsense cricket and anyone who thinks that it was easier to play cricket back in my day has no idea what they are talking about.


    The Pakistan dressing-room is never a place for the faint-hearted

    Pressure is always there and there is naturally always more pressure on you when you are the captain. I went to India as skipper in 1983 and we didnít lose any matches, so I came back in-tact as the skipper on such a high-profile and tough tour. That was a very strong Indian team which was full of confidence as they had won the World Cup a few months earlier and for us to draw the series in their own back-yard was a very good effort. I had two stints as Pakistan captain and unlike others I never really felt any additional pressure. The Pakistan dressing-room is never a place for the faint-hearted especially when you are the captain and if you show any weaknesses, your team-mates will be the first to find them and take advantage of them. Everyone is different and captaincy is a huge responsibility in cricket, but thankfully when I look back at my two stints as skipper of Pakistan, I look back at it with pride and satisfaction and without any regrets.


    County Cricket took me to another level as a batsman

    I will never forget my time at Gloucestershire in County Cricket. They were great times, they were memorable times, moments that I will always cherish. They were wonderful people at Gloucestershire, and I made many friends while I was there, some of whom I am still in touch with. They really looked after me and made me feel a part of the clubís family and I never felt like I was an outsider from another country, rather I felt like I was a home-grown player, such was their love for me. County Cricket took me to another level as a batsman, it was the making of me as a cricketer. I wasnít just scoring the occasional hundred in County Cricket, but rather regular double-hundreds and on several occasions, I made a double-hundred in the first innings and then a century in the second innings of the same County Championship match.


    Real batsmen made runs on the seaming, green tracks of England

    English wickets were the toughest to bat on back in my day and if you could score runs on those pitches, then you could score runs anywhere in the world. The challenge of those green wickets, with the ball seaming around was a tough one, but one that I really relished. In fact, I actually enjoyed batting more on those seaming tracks than on any other type of surface, as they were the type of pitches where you really had to work hard for your runs and where only the best batsmen flourished. It was easy to make runs on slow, low and flat tracks, but real batsmen made runs on the seaming, green tracks of England.


    Edge one through the slips and my coach would have made me do 5 laps of the ground

    The modern-game as far as batsmen is concerned has become rather strange. The influence of Twenty20 cricket has had huge repercussions for the game and not necessarily a positive impact on cricket. Twenty over cricket has become the main format to watch for many which I find rather sad. I donít mind innovations in cricket, we saw that with what Kerry Packer brough many years ago, but when cricket is becoming shorter and shorter, then that has to be a concern. For me Test cricket is the true test of a cricketer and that has to be the case going forward. I have a lot of admiration for the likes of Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Babar Azam, players who have proven themselves in all three formats. However, I worry about the impact that Twenty over cricket has had on the modern generation of batsmen. There are some pretty ordinary batsmen making a living from playing in a rather average manner these days. Recently I was sat with Sunil Gavaskar in Dubai watching a Twenty20 international between Pakistan and New Zealand and one of the New Zealand batsmen luckily edged one through the slips for four and the crowd went wild in appreciation of the shot. Sunil and I turned to each other in disbelief. Gavaskar said to me, what would have happened if we played such a lousy shot in our day, I said, well Sunil, our respective coaches would have had some stern words and made us do 5 laps of the ground after the match was over.
    Last edited by MenInG; 12th November 2020 at 13:37.


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  3. #3
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    Wonderful interview with one of the legends of the game. Thanks!

    That generation was something different. After watching the likes of Zaheer, Gavaskar, Kanhai, Viv Richards and the other giants of the generation, one can never appreciate the modern T-20 pyjama party poppers.

  4. #4
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    greatest pakistani batsman of all time to me. scored 100 fc centuries and adapted to odis right on its arrival as quick as a wink; worked fruitfully in both formats. If there was talent its Zaheer. Here's to Babar who's enroute to breaking every record and becoming our greatest. Buzzing past Zaheer's achievements wont be no easy task, but if anyone its Babar.

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    An average of 47 in ODIs today is considered amazing and you are a sure starter in any team. This guy had it in an era when pitches were uncovered and oppositions like Aus and WI had rampaging bowling attacks.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syed1 View Post
    An average of 47 in ODIs today is considered amazing and you are a sure starter in any team. This guy had it in an era when pitches were uncovered and oppositions like Aus and WI had rampaging bowling attacks.
    And remember - no helmets! Amazing batsman - sublime strokeplay was witnessed whenever he batted.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    And remember - no helmets! Amazing batsman - sublime strokeplay was witnessed whenever he batted.
    That one thing alone makes that generation of batsmen worthy of worship. Imagine what it would have been like facing the pacers of those times, knowing fully well that the smallest lapse in concentration can end one's career or even cause death.

    Those guys did it, and even finished with averages that modern players would give anything to have.

  8. #8
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    45 minute chat with the great Zaheer Abbas and it is 45 minutes that I will always cherish.

    He was reluctant to do the interview initially as he felt that he didn't have much to say regarding his career and that readers would not find what he had to say very interesting. I had to twist his arm a bit, call him a few times and eventually he agreed and I believe it was well worth it.

    What a batsman, what a legend!



  9. #9
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    Amazing interview, pleasure to read. Saj let him know that even today readers cherish his words and to say that we do in fact find what he has to say interesting would be an understatement. Thank you for conducting this.

  10. #10
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    Wow...wow...wow!
    I remember listening to radio commentary as a kid in Pakistan, possibly early 80s, and the commentator phrase that still sticks in my mind, just an isolated memory ..."zaheer ne bahar nikal ker maara...chaar runs."
    As a kid, I found it funny that the commentator would use the word "maara" in a sentence.

  11. #11
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    He was one of the extraordinary talents. Probably Pakistan's most talented and best ODI batter(Miandad has that WC win under his belt though)

    I hope his statements regarding never needing a coach isn't twisted around by our players. Just because Zaheer had immeasurable talent and self teaching ability doesn't mean other batters don't need a coach.
    Every one has a different iq. I think Shahid Afridi(he himself said around 2011 that he can't change his game at this stage) Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad ruined their batting and careers(for the latter two) by such arrogance of not mending their ways or even listening.

  12. #12
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    What a fantastic read. Thanks for the effort @Saj.

    I just hope todayís players donít take to heart what he said about a different era, and just enjoy his narration about his time in cricket. Plus great players donít ever need a lot of coaching, theyíre hyper self motivated and do a lot of learning on their own and understand their game far better than most players. He was well before my time, but the stories are still amazing to read. We have such a storied cricket history. The book of cricket cannot be written without Pakistan having a few chapters and itís thanks to players like Zaheer. I hope the new good players (Babar, Shaheen, Haider Ali) take inspiration from this and take their games above and beyond.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbolt14 View Post
    Amazing interview, pleasure to read. Saj let him know that even today readers cherish his words and to say that we do in fact find what he has to say interesting would be an understatement. Thank you for conducting this.
    I certainly will



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CleverSir View Post
    What a fantastic read. Thanks for the effort @Saj.

    I just hope today’s players don’t take to heart what he said about a different era, and just enjoy his narration about his time in cricket. Plus great players don’t ever need a lot of coaching, they’re hyper self motivated and do a lot of learning on their own and understand their game far better than most players. He was well before my time, but the stories are still amazing to read. We have such a storied cricket history. The book of cricket cannot be written without Pakistan having a few chapters and it’s thanks to players like Zaheer. I hope the new good players (Babar, Shaheen, Haider Ali) take inspiration from this and take their games above and beyond.
    Yes I found the coaching part interesting.

    To me it seemed like he knew his strengths and weaknesses as a batsman and nothing would change that. I like the idea that he didn't need to go running to a coach every time he was struggling and instead had confidence, knew he could turn it around and that he learnt a lot from other great batsmen.

    Some tough cricketers back in those days and Zaheer was one of those.
    Last edited by Saj; 13th November 2020 at 22:29.



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    Wow...Amazing interview.


    Virat Kohli is a modern day legend: Viv Richards

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    Definitely worthy of the lofty nickname.

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    "I never needed a coach to tell me how to bat" : Zaheer Abbas
    Sometimes I truly feel this notion has some truth to it.
    What exactly do the batting coaches do in the international arena? Are they even effective to a great extent when you look at their pay grade?

    What if an international team like England or Australia or India didn't have a high profile coach that gets paid millions of Rs or 100's of thousand dollars?

    I mean, in the 92' WC, Intikhab Alam was Pakistan's coach and till this day, he firmly believes that Pakistan won the 92 WC due to his coaching.
    Does that even make sense?

    How will the Indian batting team perform without Shastri's coaching?

  18. #18
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    Surprised at his ODI average. What a legend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Syed1 View Post
    An average of 47 in ODIs today is considered amazing and you are a sure starter in any team. This guy had it in an era when pitches were uncovered and oppositions like Aus and WI had rampaging bowling attacks.
    His ODI SR of 84.8 is the more astonishing stat. It’s far better than some of Pakistan’s recent ODI batsmen (see: Misbah, Azhar, Shehzad, even Imam). Heck, it’s more than the ‘aggressive’ Kamran Akmal and almost as much as the ‘hyper-aggressive’ Umar Akmal.

    Highest SRs during Zaheer Abbas’ ODI career (min 1k runs):



    Considerable gap between Viv and Zaheer and the others when it comes to a combination of average and strike-rate.

  20. #20
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    Very nice interview, reading it makes me nostalgic.

    I caught Zaheer in the late part of his career but was still a very good player.

    His point about the difficulty of fewer test matches being played early in his career is a very valid one, I think a decade after making his debut heíd only played about 30 tests.

    Probably the most valuable Pakistan player for any county ever. Perhaps Mushtaq at Sussex is the closest challenger.

  21. #21
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    One of my all time favourite interviews.

    I could have listened to him talk cricket all day



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    [VID] A tribute on the 50th anniversary of Zaheer Abbas' 274 vs England - Was he one of the greats?





    ON June 3rd 1971, exactly 50 years ago at Edgbaston cricket ground at Birmingham in England, the bespectacled Zaheer Abbas gave the first flash of his illustrious cricketing career. His monumental 274 was amongst cricket's classics. taking aestheticism to regions of the sublime. For nine hours, ten minutes spectators were virtually put into a trance witnessing the glorious strokes all around the wicket, be it drives cut shots, pull or hook shots. Arguably No Asian cricketer ever took grace to such divine proportions, with the sheer flow in his strokes .The bowling attack was reduced to mere submission, but the ball simply caressed in the manner of a mother putting a ball to sleep. No innings before posed such a threat to the eclipsing of Gary Sobers' record test score of 365.One literally got vibrations of famous monument being constructed that day or a musical symphony being performed, with Zaheer blending the skill of a surgeon with the creativity of a poet. Sadly it failed to win Pakistan a test, in which they were overwhelmingly superior. His glorious drives executed through cover that day flash in my mind like a Ghazal.

    That knock of 274 set the tone for Zaheer's entire career who was the ultimate master in compiling marathon innings.Zaheer Abbas gave the game of cricket its soul or ethereal beauty. He ressurected cricket’s golden age like no one else. His strokes were a manifestation of the divine, executed with timing of surreal proportions and magical touch.In my view for sheer style and elegance no batsman ever surpassed Zaheer Abbas.,who held a bat like a wand. No batsman as gloriously drove a cricket ball on other side of extra cover or looked more like a painter making curves on board. It is hard to find an adjective to do full justice to the sheer poetry in Zaheer's batting whose strokes resembled the touches of a painters brush. His mere deft touches would send the best of balls scuttling to the boundary. No batsman possessed the God gifted artistry of a cricketer more. Few batsmen ever took inventiveness to such mystical regions. Even when desecrating a bowling attack to pieces his strokes never lost the elements of composure or technique, like a boxer, poet and surgeon rolled into one. No batsman touched the core of your soul more than Zaheer who conjured up visions of reflection of moonlight in water.

    Technically he was master, with shades of unorthodoxy because of his great inventive capability. Few batsman were better positioned when driving as Zaheer,who exhibited a flow that at times looked surreal. At his best he could improvise like a magician. He was an absolute master against fast-medium and spin bowling. Zaheer bewildered the purists with his very high back lift, with his bat coming down at the very last moment, to send ball crashing to the fence which looked inevitably like piercing the gate.

    Like all great players, his method was most uncomplicated with most rhythmic synchronization of body movements in the manner of a ballad dancer. It was based first on correct footwork, positioning himself perfectly to the length and line of each delivery. His backswing opposed the purists with its unorthodoxy, but his bat traversed the most vertical path, pleasing the most accurate geometrician..His power was obtained from his semi-circular high backlift, effervescent timing and subtle twist of the blade of the bat at the moment of impact. It is the blending of his wristiness, with a free follow-through that made his batting blossom like a lotus. In the manner of a ballad dancer he could move backwards and forwards in the execution of a single stroke. When watching him, I was constantly reminded of a Ghazal sung by Jasjit.

    PERFORMANCES OF ZAHEER ABBAS IN HIS CRICKETING CAREER

    The most illustrative moments of Zaheer Abbas's test match career were his 2 double hundreds in England, scoring a 240 at the Oval in 1974 after his Edgbaston double hundred. For sheer virtuosity few double centuries ever surpassed his 2nd double hundred which was compiled in a most majestic manner.

    Zaheer had his most impactful and majestic aura playing against India at home in 1978-79 and 1982-83 arguably no batsman bated more like Bradman as Zaheer.He averaged 195 ,scoring 583 runs in 1978-79 while in 1982-93 scored 3 centuries at an average of 130 runs and aggregate of 650 runs. I simply don’t have words to describe the magnitude of his destructiveness or the extent he tormented the Indian bowlers. One was reminded of an invincible emperor submitting an enemy kingdom to utter humiliation. Rarely have I seen a bowling attack look so subordinated or depleted as India's in that series. Still his batting lost no element of it's majestic grace be it at Karachi in 1982-83 when scoring 186 or when scoring 235 not out at Lahore in 1978-79.Never did I see a batsman look most unlikely to get out.Zaheer performed the equivalent of a surgical operation of an army but executed with the touch of a scupltor.or sweetness of a musical symphony.

    In the unofficial games playing for rest of the world against Australia in 1971-72 Zaheer gave flashes of his brilliance when scoring 86 facing Dennis Lillee at his fastest at Melbourne,51 at Perth and 73 at AdelaideHe also scored a cracking century against Western Australia.These scores spoke for itself of his sparkling talent.I can’t forget his supporting roles to classic innings of Gary Sobers at Melbourne and Rohan Kanhai at Perth.

    His best batting against genuine pace bowling was In 1976-77 in Australia Zaheer was an epitome of consistency on the fast, green Australian strips with scores of 85,101,90 and 58 in the first 2 tests. Few batsman ever drove the great Denis Lillee with such relish. Overall he averaged a remarkable 57.16 in that series, with an aggregate of 343 runs.

    In Australia he was again successful against the pace bowlers in 1981-82 and was at his best in limited overs cricket. In 2 tests he had scores of 80 and 90 and averaged above 56, facing high class pace bowling. In the ODI's of the triangular tournament Zaheer gave an exhibition of some of finest batting ever seen in limited overs cricket ,with his 108 against Australia ,a true masterpiece. I can't forget the skill with which he bissected the most impregnable gaps, even against the great West Indians.

    In the 1979 Prudential world cup in the semi-final Zaheer took the all-conquering West Indies pace attack to the sword scoring 93 in the semi-final. , dissecting the bowling as clinically as a surgeon performing an operation. A stroke he flicked over deep square leg for a six is embedded in my memories. Rarely have I seen such express pace deliveries, merely caressed to the fence. In an ODI I have never seen the great West Indies pace quartet subjected to such embarrassment or bewildered as that day.

    The 1983 Prudential world cup saw Zaheer at his best when scoring 82 versus Sri Lanka an unbeaten 83 against England and an unbeaten 103 in a crucial quarter final game against New Zealand. At the age of 35 Zaheer lost none of his wondrous timing or touch. His partnership with Imran Khan in the final league game played major role in paving Pakistan’s path to the semi-final. Zaheer averaged over 60 in the tournament which was commendable.

    He was also consistency personified in a home series against Australia in 1982, averaging above 91, including a century. In 1982 his 75 played an instrumental role in paving the way for Pakistan to win their 1st ever test at Lords. I also have memories of his classy 85 scored on a testing pitch at Nagpur in 1983 ,which came close to winning the game for his country against India.

    However his career also had bouts of inconsistency, and Zaheer Abbas did not relish express pace bowling or fast wickets. He averaged a mere 17 against West Indies in his test career, with 80 at Georgetown in 1977 his only notable score against them and a 91 in a WSC supertests..Zaheer also was not at his best in Australia in 1972-73, England in 1982 or New Zealand in 1973 or 1984.Zaheer was shackled by a bouncer from Colin Croft in Pakistan in 1980,which crippled his batting against sustained pace bowling. He lost form to such a considerable extent on the 1979-80 tour of India that he felt that God had cast a spell over him. Often in a crisis Zaheer did not come out on top like Majid Khan,Asif Iqbal or Wasim Raja, when the chips were down. In crucial junctures he suffered loss of form, when he could have turned the fortunes of Pakistan cricket.

    SUMMARY OF ZAHEER ABBAS CRICKETING CAREER IN TEST, ODI AND FIRST CLASS CRICKET

    In First class Cricket statistically Zaheer Abbas had Bradmanesque overtones, taking batting domination to magical heights. He was a virtual incarnate of a Jack Hobbs,WG Grace or Denis Compton in his quest for scoring. No Overseas batsman displayed such an appetite for runs or staggered them at such a brisk rate as Zaheer who was the ultimate epitome of run accumulation. Zaheer was the only batsman ever to score a hundred in each innings of match on 8 occasions or score a century and a double century in the same match 4 times. In 1976 he scored 2554 run sat 75.11 while in 1981 averaged 88.69.In 1981 he scored 100- run sin amere 27 days in June.,whih only Len Hutton nad Mike Smith had achieved after the war.Zaheer reached the landmark of 100 centuries in a mere 658 innings, faster than icons like Jack Hobbs or Viv Richards. Many of those centuries wee scored against high class International bowlers. In pure first class cricket Zaheer Abbas statistically is better than stalwarts like Viv Richards or Greg Chappell. His greed for runs resembled the expansionist ambitions of great emperors like Julius Caesar or Alexander.Zaheer simply scripted essay after essay. Arguably no overseas batsman in English first class cricket plundered runs with the aura of an invincible emperor to the degree of Zaheer.Overall he scored 34,843 runs at an average of 51.54 with 108 centuries.He achieved the landmark of scoring over 1000 runs in a single English season 11 times’ must mention his classical century scored on the most treacherous of turning pitches against Kent, facing Derek Underwoood,

    In test cricket he averaged 44.79 scoring 5062 runs in 79 tests, with 12 centuries and 20 fifties.. However in he averaged only 31.77 overseas with 4 centuries as compared to 58.19 at home with 8 centuries .Overseas he was outstanding only in England where he averaged around 56.In test matches won Zaheer averaged 58.84 which is creditable.

    In ODI's Zaheer Abbas scored at an average of 47.62 with 2572 runs with 7 centuries and 13 fifties I rate him the 2nd best batsman of his day to Viv Richards in that form of cricket. Few batsmen ever were a greater personification of consistency as Zaheer,who was even prolific against top pace. Rarely have I seen batsman improvise better than Zaheer in an ODI,who exuded the wizardry of a magician. I would select Zaheer amongst my 10 best ODI batsmen of all time

    EVALUATION OF ZAHEER ABBAS OVERALL

    To me Zaheer Abbas was the most complete of all Pakistani batsmen. in the complete package of technical skill with strokemaking.He did not possess the lightning reflexes of Majid Khan or Inzamam Ul Haq against top pace and was vulnerable to the short ball. Nor did he possess the watertight defence of Hanif Mohammad or the combativeness of Javed Miandad.The likes of Wasim Raja and Majid Khan were ever consistent against West Indies at their best averaging over 50 on their soil in 1977.Zaheer Abbas lacked the guts or determination of Javed Miandad or Asif Iqbal in a crisis, who made much more impact in ressurecting Pakistan from the depths of despair. Still no Pakistan batsman so proportionately blended the grace of an antelope running, with the skill of an architect and creativity of a poet. A Zaheer Abbas stroke defined cricketing skill or batting perfection at its highest zenith.

    Overall I would rank Zaheer as the third best Pakistani batsman of all time, behind Javed Miandad and Hanif Mohammad. Considering only test cricket Inzamam Ul Haq and Mohamad Younus may edge Zaheer by a whisker.I feel the conditions so conducive to batsmen in modern times inflate the true merit of batsman compared to the eras before 2000.Thus even if Inzamam averaged around 50 or Mohammad Yousuf above 50 ,I do not overall rate them higher than Zaheer Abbas.

    Did Zaheer Abbas rank amongst the all-time great batsmen? In pure test cricket I feel he missed out by a whisker on being classed as 'truly great.' I feel to be bracketed as an all-time great in test cricket Zaheer should have come to the party more against genuine pace, when his team was facing a crisis and on bad wickets. I would club Zaheer Abbas with batsman like Gundappa Vishwanath ,Mark Waugh and Mohammad Azharrudin and not bracket him with a Viv Richards or Sachin Tendulkar. True that Zaheer could dominate even good length balls coming on to the bat more than greats like Greg Chappell and in the degree of Viv Richards, but he often fell prey to a delivery pitched up to his nose He manipulated the gap with the wizardry of a magician but could be found wanting against the moving ball..Where he fell out was on temperament and to battle in a crisis. In his era I would place Zaheer amongst the top 6 batsmen of in test cricket, behind the likes of Viv and Barry Richards, both the Chappell brothers Ian and Greg and Sunil Gavaskar. I often wonder why inspite of having such volumes of talent Zaheer did not play great pace bowling with the assurance of players like Vishwanath, David Gower or Inzamam Ul Haq. It is a challenge for sports psychologists to know why inspite of being endowed with such talent and technical skill , Zaheer was suspect against express pace.

    Still on flat pitches or batting strips or against spin bowling I would class Zaheer in the class of the very greatest. In his era I would place Zaheer amongst the top 6 batsmen of in test cricket, behind the likes of Viv and Barry Richards, both the Chappell brothers Ian and Greg and Sunil Gavaskar. In his era I would place Zaheer amongst the top 6 batsmen of in test cricket, behind the likes of Viv and Barry Richards, both the Chappell brothers Ian and Greg and Sunil Gavaskar. At his best in 1978-79 I would have chosen Zaheer Abbas in my world XI. It must be mentioned that at his best Zaheer gave flashes of brilliance on the green, bouncy Australian strips on 3 tours there.

    In my view combining his ODI and first class performances with those of test cricket Zaheer could carve a place amongst the all-time great batsmen.He will also find a place in my 100 greatest cricketers of all time and 40 best batsmen of all.

    Fast bowler Michael Holding, Former Indian cricketer Ravi Shastri,late cricket commentator Cristopher Martin Jenkins, Spin bowler Derek Underwood and South African all-rounder Mike Procter classed Zaheer as an all-time great.Shastri went to the extent of rating Zaheer as the best ever Pakistani batsman. Javed Miandad chose Zaheer at one down position in his world test XI. Derek Underwood chose Zaheer amongst the 3 best batsmen he ever bowled to. Cricket writer Keith Ball classed Zaheer as the most unselfish of batsman who made every stroke a thing of beauty itself. Cricketing expert David Green described him as the handsomest stroke maker he ever saw,

    In 1979 Sir Garfield Sobers rated Zaheer as the 6th best batsman in the world. On the other hand cricketing great Imran Khan felt Zaheer just missed out on that accolade and so did Patrick Murphy. Zaheer was testimony to how supreme stylists or technician sare let down by sheer lack of temperament .It is a challenge for sports psychologists to know why inspite of being endowed with such talent and technical skill , Zaheer was suspect against express pace.

    As a captain he was ultra-defensive, but still led Pakistan to win their first ever series against England in 1984. He also led Pakistan to draw a rubber against all odds in India in 1983 and to a home serine victory against New Zealand in 1984.Away he faced a humiliating loss as a skipper in Australia in 1983-84, but all but led his side to a drawn series against New Zealand in 1985.

    What I admired about him was the grace and gentlemanly spirit he brought to the game I appreciated his kind treatment to India unlike other Pakistani stars. He always showered great praise on Sunil Gavaskar or even Gundappa.Vishwanath in his time and ranked Sachin Tendulkar as the best batsman of all time. Today he even tells Pakistanis to emulate Virat Kohli.I can't forget the friendship he developed with Indian stalwarts like Bishen Bedi or Gavaskar.He played a positive role in the establishing of cordial relations of Indian players with their counterparts from Pakistan.
    Last edited by MenInG; 3rd June 2021 at 23:12.

  23. #23
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    I wonder what his stats would be if he were playing today

  25. #25
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    Zaheer doesn't get props as a style icon because Imran took all the plaudits. But Zaheer was a trend setter in his own right. Glasses, Big hats, bandana, sometimes moustache, sometimes beard, sometimes clean shaven, shirt buttons undone. But above all, imperious batting. Name:  images (3).jpeg
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corridor of Uncertainty View Post
    Zaheer doesn't get props as a style icon because Imran took all the plaudits. But Zaheer was a trend setter in his own right. Glasses, Big hats, bandana, sometimes moustache, sometimes beard, sometimes clean shaven, shirt buttons undone. But above all, imperious batting. Name:  images (3).jpeg
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    Zaheer has the same reputation as a bottle same as Mohd Yousaf ie scoring loads of soft runs but going missing under pressure in crunch games

  27. #27
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    Zaheer Abbas, one of the most stylish and elegant batters to ever play this great sport, was formally inducted into the PCB Hall of Fame on Saturday when he received his commemorative cap and plaque from the PCB Chief Executive Faisal Hasnain during lunch break of the second cricket Test between Pakistan and Australia at the National Stadium on Saturday.


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    Most great batsmen are naturally talented thereafter comes coaching. With only 12 test centuries I don't Zaheer as a great.


    PP's own self proclaimed sharpshooter and defender of Islam and Pakistan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    45 minute chat with the great Zaheer Abbas and it is 45 minutes that I will always cherish.

    He was reluctant to do the interview initially as he felt that he didn't have much to say regarding his career and that readers would not find what he had to say very interesting. I had to twist his arm a bit, call him a few times and eventually he agreed and I believe it was well worth it.

    What a batsman, what a legend!
    @Saj any idea what he felt like playing under IK and what he thinks about him?

  31. #31
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    What a class personality

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corridor of Uncertainty View Post
    @Saj any idea what he felt like playing under IK and what he thinks about him?
    Which games did he play under Imran Khan's captaincy?


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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Which games did he play under Imran Khan's captaincy?
    He played under Imran when imran became captain in 1982 - England series, home india series, World Cup 83. Funnily enough with our bowling so depleted with Imranís injury in that tournament it was a strange sight to see Zaheer as quite a regular bowler.

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    Zaheerís point about coaches is a salient one. Bottom line is a player must learn from experience. He must understand his game, work things out. You need to have a level of autonomy, inner competitiveness and ambition. This is manifest especially in the current Pakistan team where noone knows how to approach an innings. No one can change gears. Itís the same default of 30 strike rate for every new test batsman whatever they situation.

    Coaches can help fine tune both your technique and mindset - but it should be fine tuning. You need to have a lot in the locker too.

    Speaking of the class of Zaheer as a batsman, I remember an exhibition over 35s game in the mid 90s. Zaheer could barely run, was out of shape, heíd been retired for over a decade. But even then he danced down the pitch and hit a couple of majestic sixes straight down the ground prompting Michael Holding in commentary to say: ďwell, If youíve got it, you got itĒ!

    Sums it all up.

  35. #35
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    The greatest all time Pakistan batsman.

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    Actually Zaheer Abbas needed a lot of help from 1980-86.

    He still had the beautiful timing, but he was a wreck mentally.

    He was just like Jonathan Trott in 2013-14. He was gone in the head, and his batting against pace was a mix of cowardice and slogging.

    It was so sad to watch.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corridor of Uncertainty View Post
    @Saj any idea what he felt like playing under IK and what he thinks about him?
    I think this answer from Zaheer gives some insight into this:

    The Pakistan dressing-room is never a place for the faint-hearted

    Pressure is always there and there is naturally always more pressure on you when you are the captain. I went to India as skipper in 1983 and we didn’t lose any matches, so I came back in-tact as the skipper on such a high-profile and tough tour. That was a very strong Indian team which was full of confidence as they had won the World Cup a few months earlier and for us to draw the series in their own back-yard was a very good effort. I had two stints as Pakistan captain and unlike others I never really felt any additional pressure. The Pakistan dressing-room is never a place for the faint-hearted especially when you are the captain and if you show any weaknesses, your team-mates will be the first to find them and take advantage of them. Everyone is different and captaincy is a huge responsibility in cricket, but thankfully when I look back at my two stints as skipper of Pakistan, I look back at it with pride and satisfaction and without any regrets.



  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I think this answer from Zaheer gives some insight into this:

    The Pakistan dressing-room is never a place for the faint-hearted

    Pressure is always there and there is naturally always more pressure on you when you are the captain. I went to India as skipper in 1983 and we didn’t lose any matches, so I came back in-tact as the skipper on such a high-profile and tough tour. That was a very strong Indian team which was full of confidence as they had won the World Cup a few months earlier and for us to draw the series in their own back-yard was a very good effort. I had two stints as Pakistan captain and unlike others I never really felt any additional pressure. The Pakistan dressing-room is never a place for the faint-hearted especially when you are the captain and if you show any weaknesses, your team-mates will be the first to find them and take advantage of them. Everyone is different and captaincy is a huge responsibility in cricket, but thankfully when I look back at my two stints as skipper of Pakistan, I look back at it with pride and satisfaction and without any regrets.
    It's just strange I have not heard Zaheer talk about Imran much or vice versa. They played together for over a decade. Had been captains. County for many years, Kerry Packer, 1980(?) player revolt (that quintessential Pakistani thing of the 80's-00's) and much else.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corridor of Uncertainty View Post
    It's just strange I have not heard Zaheer talk about Imran much or vice versa. They played together for over a decade. Had been captains. County for many years, Kerry Packer, 1980(?) player revolt (that quintessential Pakistani thing of the 80's-00's) and much else.
    Professional rivalry I guess

    Have a read of the comments by Sarfraz Nawaz regarding Imran Khan.

    I did the interview for Wisden.



  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junaids View Post
    Actually Zaheer Abbas needed a lot of help from 1980-86.

    He still had the beautiful timing, but he was a wreck mentally.

    He was just like Jonathan Trott in 2013-14. He was gone in the head, and his batting against pace was a mix of cowardice and slogging.

    It was so sad to watch.
    When I started watching cricket in the early 80's, it was all Imran, Miandad and to an extent, Qadir, but really those two. Sarfraz was a medium paced containing bowler in the 80s and I never saw his fearsome side. Mohsin Khan had the glamor although you didn't see much of that because he'd keep getting out to Marshal early doors. Saleem Malik overshadowed him with some outrageous innings which took the attack to the opposition. Wasim Raja even more so, but in the 80's, he was more Afridi'esque in his batting prowess (six and out) than the sparklier version of Gower/Sobers he was in the 70's.

    Miandad was monstrous. Scored hard runs, everywher. Was always coming in at 12/2 or something. Those who judge Miandad only by his stats against West Indies (which by the way, were all put to rest in that 88 tour where he was a colossus on murderous fast bowling paradises and even moe bloodthirsty umpires), they just don't know what he was to Pakistan cricket in that decade - in fact all the way till 93-94. Carried them like Atlas on his shoulders, all the while goading the opposition. 50 average from start to finish, over 125 tests home and away, with a team that won more than it lost, doesn't happen in vacuum.

    Imran of course was something else. My real memory of his bowling is just one: he would get wickets in each spell he came on and the opposition knew he was the only real threat Pakistan had in bowling that they had to see through, before someone like Jalaluddin or Mohsin Kamal would come on. For much of 80's, this was the case (together with Qadir to some extent) until Wasim came along. But they just couldn't. He would inevitably get someone out, and then the ball would start talking and he'd have a bunch of wickets and Pakistan would be out batting in no time. It happened in England, in West Indies home and away and all other countries. That is when he was bowling. He didn't bowl in 85 tests against Australia because of injury but I remember him scoring a pair of 70's in a test there when the rest of the team scored not much at all. Despite being highly rated, his batting is severely underrated today, and I'd argue so is his bowling. He was better, more effective than Akram even if he had fewer tricks. The couple of tricks he did know, the vicious in dipper, the suddenly rising snorter and the subtle away swinger, were in my opinion, the equivalent of Messi being only a left footed player, but then, what a left foot.

    If you believe cricket was invented in 1992, you'd ignore what Pakistan was, how it fought cricket wars and how much it owed to its stalwarts.

    It contained those battles fought in England, India and West Indies. But when Imran wasn't playing for 3 years, it also contained stalemates that would make watching paint dry an olympic sport by comparison.

    This includes those 5 day borefests, in India and Pakistan (3 tests each in both countries, all drawn), which Zaheer speaks so fondly of 'not losing', and which I must also admit I watched with open mouthed amazement because to me they were pinnacles of sport (simpler days). But to a neutral, they were excruciating. I mean Tahir Naqqash was our opening bowler. Azeem Hafeez once took 5 wickets in an innings and I thought we had found left handed Dennis Lillee. Most of the matches used to be spinners (Iqbal Qasim, Tauseef, Random) bowling maidens until maidens. Those were the games where slowest hundreds and double hundred records were created ad nauseum. Qasim Omer and Shoaib Mohammad with strike rates in single digits on their most swashbuckling days were our trump cards to ensure draws.

    Zaheer I don't recall doing much unfortunately. He was a fading force from early 80's. I don't even recall his one day exploits of which he was one of a kind talent. All I remember is his style which was beautiful. One Sri Lankan player I read in 'Akhbar e Watan' recalled how Zaheer adjusted from front to back foot in a flash to a rising ball, and how he caressed it through the covers to the boundary in one languid motion; left the entire Sri Lankan squad in awe.

    And you can't ignore his style. As close to Richards as possible in imperiousness - before fading away.

    It's a shame I didn't see him in his prime but from what I have read of his endless double centuries in England, his total domination of India, his hundred 100's, his partnership with Majid in that iconic world cup chase that faded away in the end and his pioneer white ball craft, must have been some player.

    Pakistan desperately needs documentaries of its genuine greats in their lifetimes.

    Or we'd continue thinking our cricket was invented from 92 onwards - which is such a disservice to that calypso squad of the 80's.

  41. #41
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    Some news sites reporting this, attributed to sources:

    Zaheer Abbas has been shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU)

    Abbas was taken to the hospital three days ago after which he had to be given put on oxygen support. The family of the cricketer has requested his fans to pray for his speedy recovery.

    According to sources, Abbas had contracted COVID-19 while staying in Dubai on his way to London.

    After reaching London, he complained of kidney pain and was diagnosed with pneumonia.

    "He is currently on dialysis and the doctors have advised him to refrain from meeting people"


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  42. #42
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    Former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas has been admitted to the ICU in Saint Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, in the City of Westminster in London a few days after he was tested COVID-19 positive. According to a report on Pakistan news Channel Goe News, Abbas was on oxygen support and after three days on it, he has been shifted to the hospital.

    According to reports, Abbas contracted COVID-19 positive when he was travelling to England from Dubai. While he complained of kidney pain and was diagnosed with pneumonia after he arrived in London.

    “He is currently on dialysis and the doctors have advised him to refrain from meeting people," the sources said as per quoted by a new site.

    Abbas is on dialysis and is feeling weak so meeting him is prohibited, said the source.

    https://www.news18.com/cricketnext/n...n-5416753.html
    Last edited by Saj; 22nd June 2022 at 23:18.


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    Gee whiz, pneumnia is not good at all. Wishing this legend all the very best, get well soon, God be with you ZED Bhai!

  44. #44
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    All the best to Zaheer.

    Wish him a speedy recovery.

    Sounds bad!



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    Hang in there Zed.

  46. #46
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    Hope he feels better soon!

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    This is scary. Hope he recovers soon.

  48. #48
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    Zaheer's brother Sagheer speaking to media:

    “He is on dialysis due to discomfort in lungs and because of complications in breathing he has been put on oxygen support"

    “Zaheer Abbas has not completely improved yet, therefore everyone is requested to pray [for him]"


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