Rameez Raja: 14 facts about Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup hero

Rameez Raja, born August 14, 1962, is a former Pakistani cricketer who was more successful in One-Day International (ODI). Rameez is more famous for his stint as a commentator and on his 55th birthday, Suvajit Mustafi looks at 14 facts about the man who made invaluable contribution to Pakistani cricket. 

1.  Born on a special day: Pakistan came into being on August 14, 1947. The day is marked as their Independence Day and is observed as a national holiday. Rameez was born on the 15th anniversary of Pakistan’s Independence. 

2.  Cricket family: Rameez is the youngest of the three Raja brothers who went on to play First-Class cricket for Pakistan. Rameez followed older brother Wasim in the Pakistan team. Their father, Raja Saleem Akhtar, also played 10 First-Class games for Multan and Sargodha. 

3.  Cricketing debuts: Making his List A debut in March 1977 as a 14-year-old, Rameez made his First-Class debut a year later for Servis Industries and scored 25 and 10. Six years later, he made his Test debut against England and managed 1 in both the innings. A year later, against New Zealand, he made his One-Day International (ODI) debut and scored an inspiring 75 from 76 balls. He went on to be a more successful limited-overs cricketer. 

4.  Wasim and Rameez: When Rameez made his Test debut, he played alongside his older brother Wasim who was a star and at the twilight of his career. Wasim and Rameez were then the second set of brothers to play Test cricket for Pakistan after the Mohammad brothers — Hanif, Mushtaq, Wazir and Sadiq. 

5.  ODI cricket: After an impressive ODI debut against New Zealand, Rameez continued to be consistent in this format. He managed seven 40-plus scores in his first year itself. He may have retired with an average of 32.09, but he became Pakistan’s hero in World Cups. 

6.  1992 World Cup: In an international cricketer spanning 13 years, Rameez played 57 Tests for Pakistan and ended with a disappointing average of 31.83. However, in World Cups, from 16 matches, he has scored 700 runs at an average of 53.84. In the 1987 World Cup, Pakistan’s campaign ended in the semis and in 1992, they won the trophy with Rameez being one of the heroes. 

7.  Surpassing Viv Richards’ effort: Rameez became the second batsman after Viv Richards to register 3 World Cup hundreds. While Richards took 19 matches and four World Cups to reach there, Rameez took two editions and brought up the feat in his 13th game. 

8.  Another World Cup feat

When Rameez caught Richard Illingworth off Imran Khan in the final over the World Cup 1992, it was all over and Pakistan had won the cup. He became the first cricketer to take a catch from the last ball of the tournament. Later, in 2003, Darren Lehmann from Australia became the second man to do the same.

9.  Weird ways of getting out: In November 1987, he became the first batsman to be given out ‘Obstructing the field’ in ODIs. Against England, he was batting on 98 when he set off for a two. To avoid getting run out and complete his hundred, he stopped the ball with his bat and was given ‘out’. Earlier, in Perth, against the same team, Rameez was judged run-out when he was walking back to the pavilion after a catch had been taken off the bowling of Mike Gatting off a no-ball.

10.  MBA degree: Like his older brother Wasim, Rameez too is a highly-educated cricketer. He is an alumni of the prestigious Aitchison College in Lahore. He completed his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and has also worked for American Express. 

11.  Captaincy: In between 1992 and 1997, Rameez made sporadic appearances as Pakistan’s captain. He led the side in 22 ODIs, winning 7. And in absence of Wasim Akram, he also led in five Tests.

12.  CEO of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB): In 2003, Rameez was appointed the CEO of PCB. He played a role in the resumption in India-Pakistan ties. He was at helm when India visited Pakistan for a full tour in 2004 after a long gap of 15 years. Due to increasing media commitments, he quit from the position in August 2004. 

13.  Commentary: He is one of the most popular commentators in world cricket and is loved in both sides of the border. He is a regular face during the Indian Premier League (IPL) too. While he can fun, insightful, his commentary in the recent times has also seen gaffes. He has his set of detractors but he continues to amuse.

14.  Mr. Popular: Like mentioned before, Rameez’s popularity transcends borders and even brands have successfully cashed-in on the same.

 

Rameez’s is quite renowned for his stylish hairstyle, so how could a brand like this miss out!

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sportsmarketer , strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)