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).

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4: Naman Ojha out for 40

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4: Century for Ahmed Shehzad

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Zimbabwe lose Sibanda in first over

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Ahmed Shehzad hits 2nd Test ton as Pakistan surge ahead against Australia in 1st Test

Shakib Al Hasan takes 6-wicket haul on return to Test cricket

Zimbabwe bowled out for 240 by Bangladesh on opening day of 1st Test

India vs Sri Lanka 2014 schedule announced: Cuttack to host 1st ODI

Zimbabwe 179/5 against Bangladesh at Tea, Day 1

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Top Sex Positions: Frog Princess

Pakistan’s apex court admits plea against 2013 polls

OMG! What was Anushka Sharma doing with Virat Kohli at a hospital?

Writing about Clean India a service to nation: Narendra Modi

How to make tamarind or imli packs for hair and skin

NGOs pursue education for all

Developers of ‘Room’ app claim Facebook copied their idea, may pursue legal action

Sundar Pichai gets elevated, will reportedly oversee most Google products

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Nwe Zealand vs South Africa 2014: Dale Steyn senses fear among South Africa batsmen despite good show

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here