Former captains hail team’s journey for the last 64 years
By: K.R. Nayar
Dubai: It has been a fascinating journey for Pakistan, who are playing their 400th Test match that started in Dubai on Thursday, after playing their first Test in the same month 64 years ago (from October 16 to 18, 1952) at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi against India.
Gulf News spoke to Pakistan’s two former captains Rameez Raja and Waqar Younis during the historic occasion.
“It’s a great achievement, to be part of the rich legacy and what we have achieved as a cricketing nation has been tremendous. The last six or seven years has been very tough on these guys because they have been playing away from home, yet they have not lowered their guard and battled hard and it shows the work ethics and how good they have become as a Test unit. So I am so happy for Pakistan cricket, they are still alive and kicking and be part of the rich history is great,” remarked Rameez, who had played 57 Test matches.
Waqar, who had captained the team and was until recently the coach of the squad, said: “I am very proud of having played for this country not only as a captain but as a player and as a coach and been a commentator too. I have always backed my country and I feel proud of it.”
Waqar then went on to elaborate why it is so special. “I was just looking at the statistics from the 1970s to 1980s and half of the nineties and we can see that Pakistan have done really done well in Test match cricket. We are now starting with the pink ball and that is also something new. It’s nice we have taken the step which is also history and hence it is a very good, proud day.”
Pakistan are currently ranked No. 2 in Test rankings after conceding the top spot to India recently.
Rameez feels that the Pakistan team’s future looks very good. “I think we are in safe hands. It is good this transition is taking place under the guidance of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan because, like today in this Test match, there are two debutants [Babar Azam and Mohammad Nawaz]. So slowly the nucleus is being formed around young shoulders. It is important to encourage the young talent in the dressing room. They are fearless, they are winning and with no politics and it is just merit-oriented selection. So a lot to look forward for everyone.”
Veteran Pakistan cricket reporter Qamar Ahmad, who was reporting his 423rd Test match, was also honoured with a commemorative coin. “I am delighted at being honoured during such an occasion. I had reported Pakistan’s 200th, 300th and now the 400th Test match. In fact, as a reporter it feels nice to have reported more Test matches than even my country has played,” said Qamar, whose first Test match as a reporter was the 1971 Test match between England and Pakistan at Lord’s.