Home > Features > Moments in history >

Abdul Razzaq: Talented all-rounder who did not quite get his due from Pakistani selectors

Talented all-rounder who did not quite get his due from the Pakistani selectors

Abdul Razzaq is a wonderful talent and a true utility player, and will consider himself unlucky to have been underutilized by Pakistan © Getty Images

Born on December 2, 1979, Abdul Razzaq was one of Pakistan’s most effective all-rounders and rated by the great Sachin Tendulkar as one of the toughest bowlers he has faced. Prakash Govindasreenivasan parses through the career of the six-foot Pakistani, who could’ve reached greater heights but for inconsistencies and controversial choices.

Around 12 years ago, when a young 20-year-old boy ran in to bowl to the Zimbabwean batsmen in a One-Day International (ODI) at Lahore, many around the world would’ve thought they had spotted the next Imran Khan.

Abdul Razzaq was never as quick as Imran, but not many batsmen could understand his pace or his line and length. Razzaq didn’t look like a lethal bowler by any stretch of imagination. But nevertheless, he was a hard worker and had a machine-like mechanism that allowed him to run in and bowl similar deliveries for hours together. His run-up was as simple as it could be and often tricked batsmen into taking him lightly and gifting their wicket to him in the process. For a bowler who bowled medium-pace on flat subcontinental wickets, Razzaq was gifted with the ability to bowl it in the right areas as often as he tried. He was a tricky customer with the unusual power to skid a few deliveries into the batsman and leave them flabbergasted. As a medium-pacer, his knack of getting the ball to reverse gave him the edge while bowling on sub-continental pitches where he has picked up a lot of wickets. So much that Sachin Tendulkar rated him as one of the toughest bowlers he ever faced.

As a lower-order batsman, he was often compared to South Africa’s Lance Klusner. There was uncanny resemblance between the two in the manner in which Razzaq would clear his front foot out of the way to go for a big heave.

His batting was all about power and brute force. His strong arms allowed him to clear almost every field he stepped onto. What set him apart from other lower-order batsmen has been his ability to assess a situation and play accordingly. In a situation where his team would require just 20 runs off five overs, he would not play a single rash shot and look to take his side through. In that sense, he was an intelligent finisher of the game.

Razzaq could’ve been the complete player that Pakistan would’ve loved to have but for his inconsistencies. He had the ability to be excessively effective with both bat and ball but failed to do so over a long period of time. He often performed in bursts, prompting the selectors to ponder over his selection.

Razzaq’s most memorable performance came against India at Hobart in 2000 where he scored a 57-ball 70 to help his side set a target of 263 for India to chase. After a swashbuckling innings laced with four fours and two sixes, Razzaq came back to run through the Indian batting line-up to end with five for 48 in 10 overs.

Another crucial performance from him came in Pakistan’s game against Sri Lanka at Jaipur in 2006 where he picked up four for 50 in 7.2 overs and struck 38 off just 24 deliveries in a closely-contested ODI. He also became the youngest cricketer to take a Test match hat-trick when he dismissed Romesh Kaluwitharana, Rangana Herath and Ravi Pushpakumara at Galle in 2000.

Talented all-rounder who did not quite get his due from the Pakistani selectors

Razzaq was a tricky customer with the unusual power to skid a few deliveries into the batsman and leave them flabbergasted © Getty Images

After announcing his retirement from international cricket, Razzaq went in search of greener pastures and found himself in England, playing for Worcestershire. He even signed up for the Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2007 which ruled him out of being selected for Pakistan. He backtracked on his decision to retire, but played two full seasons for Hyderabad Heroes in the ICL. After quitting from the ICL, he was taken back into the international fold for Pakistan in 2009 and played in the Twenty20 World Cup in England which Pakistan went on to win. He played a big role in Pakistan’s successful campaign in that World Cup as it helped him get back into the scheme of things for his national side.

Razzaq’s lack of diplomacy has been the cause for his constant ouster from the national side in the recent past. Belonging to a setup that isn’t considered the most organised in the World, Razzaq often found himself challenging the establishment and losing his spot in the side. In the most recent and bizarre exclusion from the side in the T20 World Cup semi-finals against Australia in 2012, Razzaq went about blaming captain Mohammed Hafeez for his axe. Consequently, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) imposed a heavy fine on the player who later said he had nothing against his captain and his outburst was merely emotional.

Being such a wonderful talent and a true utility player, Razzaq will consider himself unlucky to have been so grossly underutilized by Pakistan and would’ve hoped to have made a much bigger impact on the game.

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is an Editorial consultant at CricketCountry and a sports fanatic, with a soft corner for cricket. After studying journalism for two years, came the first big high in his professional life – the opportunity to interview his hero Adam Gilchrist and talking about his magnificent 149 in the 2007 World Cup final. While not following cricket, he is busy rooting for Chelsea FC).

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test: Australia's practice session

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Rohit Sharma gave a fantastic account of himself: Sanjay Bangar

Yuvraj Singh flays media for twisting statements on future in international cricket

India A beat Sri Lanka by 88 runs in tour match; Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Karn Sharma shine

Kevin Pietersen saga: Stuart Broad, James Anderson saddened by bullying claims

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

West Indies crisis: Trinidad and Tobago condemns West Indies’ pullout from India tour

MS Dhoni told me there’s nothing called ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’: Pankaj Singh

All-India PSU T20 Tournament: Oriental Insurance defeat HPCL

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in favour of Najam Sethi as ICC President

Justice Mudgal Committee report on IPL spot-fixing to be submitted on November 3

Highest identical scores in both innings of a Test

Younis Khan — perhaps Pakistan’s greatest batsman ever

India A vs Sri Lankans tour match: Players look to make the most of opportunities

Viv Richards: How did he perform against the West Indian quicks?

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

Diet Tip #38: Choose whole wheat flour over white flour

Super Nani quick movie review: Rekha and Sharman Joshi’s melodramatic film is unintentionally funny

Apple replaces user’s iPad for free after NASA rocket mishap

Xiaomi poaches Donovan Sung from Spotify to lead international product development: Report

Bigg Boss 8 day 39 highlights: Upen Patel becomes the new captain, Puneet Issar continues to play games, Ali Quli Mirza bitches about Sonali Raut!

How to sterilise your baby’s feeding bottle in 5 easy steps

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here