1952-2006: Wasim Raja dies playing cricket!

Posted on August 23, 2006
Filed Under People, Sports
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Adil Najam

Wasim Raja — one of the most elegant batsmen ever; a swashbuckling heartthrob who seemed to be from a different era all-together; the thinking man’s cricketers; the last of the ‘gentleman players’; someone who was always a job to watch playing and an even bigger joy tyo spend and eveniong talking cricket to — just died.The news is too fresh, the details too uncertain, and my emotions too strong, for me to write a proper post. But here is the news from CricInfo.

Wasim Raja, the former Pakistan batsman who went on to become an ICC match referee, has died while playing for Surrey Over 50s at Marlow in Buckinghamshire. He was 54. “Wasim had a big heart attack on the field,” said a Surrey spokesman. “He felt dizzy, and mentioned this to the slips, saying that he felt he had to go off. He was carried off but then collapsed on the boundary.”

Wasim, the brother of Rameez Raja, was a bearded left-hand middle-order batsman, whereas Rameez was a clean-shaven right-hand opener. Wasim could bowl, too; brisk, flat top-spinners rather than legbreaks, pioneering the style followed by Anil Kumble and Shahid Afridi…. He might have made a good Pakistan captain in a rather old-fashioned amateur swashbuckling fashion, but coming from the country’s elite, studying in Durham and marrying an Englishwoman, he tended to be above the political battle…. He played 57 Tests between 1973 and 1985, scoring 2821 runs at 36.16 with four hundreds, the best of which was 125. He also took 51 wickets at 35.80 with a best of 4 for 50.

Read an earlier tribute to his cricket, here.

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16 responses to “1952-2006: Wasim Raja dies playing cricket!”

  1. Naveed says:

    I loved the flow of his run-up when he bowled, the cliched “poetry in motion” style and my word, what power with the bat. Thanks for the memories & May Allah grant his soul eternal Peace

  2. jugnoo says:

    I have not seen him playing but have heard about him from my dad.Really its a great loss for his family & for cricket too. he loved playing cricket as much that he died even playing that.

  3. I never watched him playing cricket.May God give Sabar to his family member.

  4. Adil Najam says:

    Naseer, 1977 v. WI… that was Raja’s series. His highest moment… but it came too early in his own career.

    Personally for me, that was also the series that turned me into a serious cricket lover…. I was down with jaundice and was bed ridden… I had also just gotten a transistor radio somehow … so it was me and the cricket commentary on it all night (this was before we had TV cricket)…. so, as you can see, Raja ruled for me, literally…… Later, I did a stint as a cricket reporter for The Muslim and got to know Wasim Raja a little (only a little) better… he was always the hero and me the starry eyed fan ;-) The last time I met him, I think, was during the 1987 Reliance World Cup that India and Pakistan hosted together… which was also the end of my cricket writing.

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