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Pakistan’s Greatest Cricket Moment Ever?

Posted on December 1, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, History, People, Sports
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Adil Najam

With Yusuf breaking two important records – highest number of centuries and highest runs in a calendar year – one feels good. Not only for Yusuf, but also because the news from teh cricket field is good; and is about cricket!

Inspired by Yusuf’s feat and by Khalid R. Hasan naming his Pakistan Dream Teams, I thought I should throw into the mix this video of what might be the greatest – or at least one of the greatest – moments in Pakistan’s cricket history. Miandad hitting a sixer off the very last ball (from Cheetan Sharma) to clinch the final of the Sharjah Cup from India, on April 18, 1986.

I just came across this very interesting essay by author Kamila Shamsie in Prospect, where she writes about “one match against India made us think that we Pakistanis were capable of anything.” It makes for compelling reading.

But before I quote from the essay, here is some compelling viewing. A video clip of that fateful – some would say historic – last over (the quality is so-so and who-ever put that promo right over the running score scroll deserves banishment).



And now to Kamila Shamsie’s remarkable essay, titled ‘The Big Six’. It really is worth reading in full, but here are some excerpts:

Do you remember where you were when…? When Pakistanis of my generation say this to each other there are several ways in which the sentence might end: when Zia was killed; Bhutto was hanged; democracy returned; Pakistan went nuclear; troops withdrew from Kargil; the military took over, again. But, more often than not, the sentence ends: when Miandad hit that six.

April 18th, 1986. Political tensions between the two countries had prevented either cricket board from hosting the other since India’s 1984 tour of Pakistan, which was cancelled midway after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. In the 1986 one-day tournament-the first Australasia Cup, held in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates-the two teams from the subcontinent, India and Pakistan, were not scheduled to face each other unless they met in the final. Which they did.

…Chetan Sharma was brought on to bowl the last over. Sharma’s figures leading into that over were a respectable 8-0-37-2, and he had no way of knowing that he was just one over away from the end of his career… Sharma bowled. A full toss. Miandad struck the ball. We heard the commentator, Iftikhar Ahmed, say, “He’s hit that!” and before the ball even cleared the boundary line, Miandad raised his hands skyward, yelled “Tauseef!” and started running down the pitch as the commentator, Mushtaq Mohammed, screeched: “IT’S A SIX!”

It was much more than a six. Prior to Sharjah, Pakistan had lost six of their nine one-day matches against India. After Sharjah, Pakistan was to win eight of the next nine matches between the two, including five on Indian soil. By the time the one-day world cup began in 1987, just a year and a half after “that six,” only the West Indies-with players such as Richards, Haynes and Walsh-were more favoured than Pakistan to win that ultimate one-day tournament.

But even these facts and figures don’t sum up the way that match at Sharjah changed the psyche of Pakistani cricket. After Sharjah, both the team and the fans came to believe that there was no such thing as a losing position. Victory was always possible, even if it required something as improbable as Saleem Malik scoring 72 runs off 36 balls in Eden Gardens, Calcutta, against the Indians (who, many said, lost that match because of the ghost of Sharjah), or bowlers and fielders coming together to take six English wickets for 15 runs, sending the English team crashing from a very comfortable 206 for 4 to 221 all out (World Cup 1987).

… The odd thing is, I didn’t actually start watching cricket until several months after that Sharjah match. The West Indies tour of Pakistan in 1986-87 marked my initiation into the love of the game-but like almost every other Pakistani I know, I will swear on everything I hold dear that I remember watching the match. My friend Humair insists that my memories of the game must arise from watching the endless replays. He remembers quite clearly that we had a literature exam the next day, and is sure that I must have been closeted away with The Merchant of Venice rather than wasting my time watching a cricket match to which I then had no real commitment. But the match was in April-and we didn’t have exams until May. Clearly I’m not the only person whose memory of 18th April is suspect.

Was this really the greatest moment in Pakistan cricket’s history? If not, then what was?

39 Comments on “Pakistan’s Greatest Cricket Moment Ever?”

  1. Altamash Mir says:
    December 1st, 2006 12:38 am

    Oh man…I still remember that moment !!! It was as if we had defeated the world…Javed Miandad was absolutely the best batsman of his time…
    Anyway…anybody watching the Pakistan-West Indies series ?

  2. Owais Mughal says:
    December 1st, 2006 1:37 am

    in the title photo Javed looks more like the soccer player Diego Maradona the moustaches

  3. Owais Mughal says:
    December 1st, 2006 1:40 am

    this was indeed a turning point for cricket in Pakistan after which they started believing in themselves.

  4. TURAB says:
    December 1st, 2006 2:53 am

    A real proud moment to watch that clip and pride goes to peak due to players like Mohammad Yousuf … Keep it up and God Bless us all….

  5. YLH says:
    December 1st, 2006 3:21 am

    Oval 1954 was Pakistan’s greatest cricketing moment…

    MCG 1992 was the second greatest moment…

  6. Khalid R Hasan says:
    December 1st, 2006 3:56 am

    For Tests, the Oval Test does stand out. The Sharjah Six must however be the defining moment in the modern era and certainly in one day cricket.

    For a tense run chase,though, I would say the 1992 World Cup Semi Final against New Zealand must rank along with the one at Sharjah. Here too Miandad played a vital rearguard role, but was now second fiddle to the new generation. Pakistan were down and out until the young Inzamam played what is probably still the innings of his life. When he was out, there was still some way to go and it looked like Pakistan’s hopes had gone with him, but when Moin Khan came in and hit a six right away, the whole of Pakistan must have jumped out of their chairs with renewed excitement.

  7. Eidee Man says:
    December 1st, 2006 4:08 am

    Well I was 2 years old so I don’t remember Miandad’s six. However, I do remember that World Cup final match with Wasim Akram, Inzi, Imran Khan and crew. It was the very first time my mother let me skip my Quran lesson…without much effort!!!!

    But the greatest part about that day was when they won the match with that last ball….I heard a roar going through the whole neighborhood. I think that was the first time I consciously felt proud of being a Pakistani (not that I was anti-Pakistan…I was just 8 years old).

    They pulled it outta nowhere in ’92…..here’s to a repeat in ’07! cheers!

  8. ayesha says:
    December 1st, 2006 5:07 am

    Concur with Eidee Man. I don’t remember The Six, but I do remember the 92 WC final! It was almost trance-like and a what a moment to cherish and enjoy!

    Here’s to 2007!

  9. December 1st, 2006 5:13 am

    Miandad’s Six is more memorable than WC92 final because the match was against India. The match become more thrilling when those old Indian women started crying after the six. Offcourse *young* Shaikh Rasheed was also another factor to remember that match :D

    Miandad also earned lots of money in and out of Pakistan after that shot and people kept giving me different gifts for more than an year.

  10. December 1st, 2006 5:15 am

    [quote post="440"]Mushtaq Mohammed, screeched: “IT’S A SIX!â€

  11. Haseeb says:
    December 1st, 2006 6:43 am

    Adnan, Iftikhar Ahmad is the commentator… Mushtaq was the expert with him… you hear his voice hear right at the beginning…. squeakish voice…

  12. Zafar Shamsi says:
    December 1st, 2006 7:38 am

    April 18, 1986 was my 20th birthday. I could not have asked for a better present. Javed Miandad belongs to the class of cricketers who bring nothing but glory to the countries they play for.

  13. December 1st, 2006 9:04 am

    Thankyou Haseeb sahib.

    Speaking of local commentators, those were days when people like late Omar Qureshi,Munir Hussain and Chishti Mujahid were well known figures among radio listeners.

  14. zamanov says:
    December 1st, 2006 12:00 pm

    The sheer drama of Miandad’s last ball six in Sharjah can probably never be matched, but Pakistan’s greatest cricket moment in modern times has to be the win at the World Cup 1992.
    Even though two of the greatest players to play for Pakistan (Imran and Javed) had the most opposing personalities but no one could ever doubt their will to play for Pakistan and their desire to win for the glory of their country. True leadership is when you can motivate and lead people whom you may not agree with to perform at their best for a larger cause. Sadly, something that has been amiss in the present cricket team (and the nation).

  15. Mamoon says:
    December 1st, 2006 1:09 pm

    Still remember that famous six, it certainly did rose pakistani cricket to new heights reaching their peak in 92 wc.
    This also reminds me one funny incident associated with this. Non striker was Tauseed Ahmad ( off spinner) and when pakistan won the match both batsmen started running towards the pavilion in joy as well as fear of the crowd invasion. In came the police with batton charge. The leading police man swung his DANDA on one of the civilian, who acted swiftly and poor chap who came in range of that was Tauseef! His back must ve been remained sore after that. If you see that again on tv, its easily visible.

  16. December 1st, 2006 1:35 pm

    This is off topic, but only slightly. But since I am travelling and unable to do a proper post on this I thought I should at least raise it.

    Today is World Aid’s Day. Here in Nairobi you cannot escape that fact on TV, posters, everywhere. But I just saw on TV (while watching the highlights of Pakistan’s victory against WI) that the WI team, the umpires and all of the Pakistan team were wearing red Aids ribbons on their shirts. Was immensely happy and even proud to see that gesture from the team.

    Have been meaning to do a post on rising cases of HIV/AIDS in Pakistan and will do so soon.

  17. Khalid R Hasan says:
    December 1st, 2006 9:45 pm

    If I remember rightly, there is one curious thing about the Sharjah match that shows how important beating India is to us. In those days there was no “final” so though this was the last match, the tournament winner was decided on a league basis. The third team was England, and for Pakistan to win the tournament, they had to beat India within 33 overs or so. Thus England actually won the tournament!
    Could someone please confirm if my memory is correct, or whether I’m recalling another occasion at Sharjah?

  18. December 2nd, 2006 7:34 am

    The next famous SIX in sharjah was hit by Qadir against WestIndies.

  19. Sohaib says:
    December 2nd, 2006 8:14 am

    Can someone please quote the lyrics in full to the Bushra Ansari song, “ek chhakay ke miandad ko 100 lakh milein gay”?

  20. Mamoon says:
    December 2nd, 2006 7:18 pm

    Right first to answer Khalil question. No, actually it was a final match between pakistan and india. Final of austral-asia cup. So it was australia who was the third team.
    Shoaib, lyrics were like
    “ek chhakay ke miandad ko 100 lakh milein gayâ€

  21. Asma says:
    December 3rd, 2006 5:58 am

    Lolz well yah I remember traces of this song a bit too … it re-ran so many times afterwards … tauseef becharay ko … Intyeresting post and moments …!

  22. Wajahat says:
    December 3rd, 2006 2:06 pm

    1. Miandad’s six at Sharjah.
    2. Last group match against New Zealand, Semi Final and final of the 1992 WC.
    3. 1982 Lord’s test. Even PTV had also started showing that match live. A rare thing back then.
    4. Imran Khan’s magnificient bowling spell in Karachi test against India in 1982.
    5. Banglore test win in 1987.

    On a sadder (if thats a word) note.
    1. Pakistan, a favorite in 1987 world cup, losing to Australia in the semi-final at Lahore.
    2. Gordon Greenidge hitting a match winning 4 to Imran Khan on the last ball of the match. Pakistan vs WestIndies, ODI at Karachi, 1980.
    4. Neil Foster (with 9 batsmen out) edging Wasim Akram for 4 with just 3 more balls remaining. Pakistan vs England. ODI at Edgbaston, 1987.

  23. December 3rd, 2006 3:58 pm

    I remember both the Miandad six and definitely the 1992 semi-final and i think the sheer Herculean effort it took to get to that mammoth total makes the latter a HUGE feat. The Miandad six can obviusly keep it very close company. The World Cup final came nowhere close to these two in terms of sheer drama and fun.

  24. December 4th, 2006 9:39 am

    I was at home in our old home in New Garden Town, Lahore. Matthew Cuthbert was dying between the pages of ‘Anne of Green Gables’– so I don’t know which my pulse was racing for more: an old man the victim of financial fraud or two countries who wouldn’t merely recite what we were taught at school: it’s not winning or losing, but how you play the game. Miandad’s sixer smashed through the TV frame and into my lap where Anne closed with a bang. And the really precious memory– the next hour calming my grandfather, a heart patient, into not having a hallelujah heart attack.

  25. pindiwalla says:
    December 5th, 2006 11:10 pm

    I was on the GT road – had just crossed Hasan Abdal – all the cars/trucks/buses had stopped and were parked at the side of the road listening to the commentary on the radio… It was as if an invisible weapon had disabled all the cars…

  26. Aijaz says:
    December 6th, 2006 6:27 am

    Well , I would say what I found from different cricket related press , that this was the match from where We Pakistanis learnt wining.

    Even Imran khan repeatedly mentioned the physcological effect it had on Pakistan cricket ,specially against INDIA.

    To me this was the defining moment in Pakistan Cricket.Although Winnning Wcup 92 or other memoments of cricket history would make us proud but technically the tunning point was this six.

    Once I read on some cricket related side that the edge Pakistan took with Javed Miandad`s six was lost with Aamir Sohail`s bangalore Shot ( 1996 WC.) :) some thing also very debateable.

    For Question asked previoulsy it was First Austral-Asia cup including all cricket teams from Asian and Australian continent.(There were some successive Austral-Asia Cup one of which made Waqar Younis famous.)

  27. December 6th, 2006 6:40 am

    Does anyon have clip of test match between pakistan and WI in which Saleem[Malik/Yousuf] played with fractured hand and faced Marshall?

  28. Akif Nizam says:
    December 8th, 2006 3:57 pm

    I can’t even count how many times in the last 20 years (boy, i’m old!) the following comments by Iftikhar Ahmed have reverberated in my head:

    â€

  29. adnan H says:
    February 28th, 2007 9:54 pm

    I was 15 back then when Miandad hit the famous six, I remember we were all so nervous before the last ball, I didn’t even wanted to see it but it was hard to avoid looking at the TV screen and we jumped with joy after we saw the hit, we knew pakistan had won. Pakistan’s cricket changed after that match and so did india’s, india was a very confident side after WC 83.

    As for WC 92, I had migrated to US and I didn’t even know that pakistan had won the final for almost 2 days after the final. I lost almost ten years of pakistan’s cricket until the WC 99 when the commentry was finnaly available on the internet.

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