Aaqib Javed: 14 facts about the man who was youngest to claim an ODI hat-trick

Aaqib Javed, born August 5, 1972, is a former Pakistani fast-bowler, who played a role in the side lifting the World Cup in 1992. On his 45th birthday, Suvajit Mustafi looks at 14 interesting facts about the bowler who had mastered reverse swing and could swing the ball both ways.

1. First-Class debut at the age of 12! In October 1984, Aaqib made his First-Class debut at the age of 12. Playing for Lahore Division, Aaqib opened the bowling and picked three wickets in the second innings.

2. …and he didn t know it was a First-Class match! Aaqib was in school then and till recently he didn t know that. Rahul Bhattacharya writes in his book, Pundits of Pakistan , that when he [Aaquib] was asked about that game, he replied, That was a First-Class match? I remember playing one match when I was in school, but…

3. Noticed by Wasim Raja: Aaqib had gone for a camp and all he was given was two balls, which didn t impress Wasim Raja. Aaqib describes the event, There was such a crowd. People were talking, hanging about. It was easy not to get noticed. After I finished, I kept watching the trials from the sidelines. The more boys I saw, the more I began to realise that I was actually quite good. He went to Wasim and asked him for another chance, he was given that and he impressed. He was selected for the camp and emerged as the most talented out of the lot. Wasim then selected him for the under-19 World Cup.

4. When Rameez Raja thought Aaqib to be a fan! Imran Khan wanted a young Aaqib to tour India and organised his kit. He was told to reach Lahore airport and he did so. No one knew Aaqib and he met Rameez Raja there and greeted him. Rameez thought that he was a fan who had come for an autograph and felt weird when Aaqib just stood there. Later Rameez came to know that Imran had got him to play for Pakistan.

5. Third youngest Test cricketer: Aaqib made his Test debut at 16 years and 189 days. When he was handed the national cap against New Zealand at Wellington, he was then the second youngest cricketer to play in Tests. It wasn t a memorable one as he went wicketless for 160 runs. Two months before this, he made his One-Day International (ODI) debut against West Indies at Adelaide. Aaqib got the prized scalp of Richie Richardson.

6. Steamrolling the Indians at Sharjah

For any Pakistani cricketer, very few feats are as valued as when it is against India. In October 1991, a 19-year-old Aaqib wrote the record books at Sharjah when he became the youngest bowler to pick a hat-trick in ODIs. He picked seven for 37, which was then the best bowling figures in the format. His hat-trick included the wickets of Ravi Shastri, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar.

7. 1992 World Cup hero: Not many 19-year-old have achieved what Aaqib did in 1992. Under the leadership of Imran Khan, Pakistan won the World Cup Down Under. The teenager filled in very well as the opening bowler for an injured Waqar Younis. He picked 11 wickets in the tournament at 29.81 and at an impressive economy of 3.86. In the grand finale, he picked the wickets of Alec Stewart and the dangerous looking Neil Fairbrother, giving away only 27 runs from his quota of 10 overs.

8. Umpire Roy Palmer controversy

In 1992, during a Test against England, umpire Roy Palmer was unhappy with the way Aaqib had greeted the England No11 Devon Malcolm. Aaqib had bowled a bouncer and Palmer thought he was overdoing it. Aaqib and Pakistan captain Javed Miandad were unhappy with this. To make things worse, Palmer called it no-ball when the bowler bounced another one. More drama unfolded when Aaqib felt that the umpire was rude while returning his sweater. In his autobiography, Miandad made it clear, Though pitched short, Aaqib s deliveries were not getting up above waist height. I don t care which way you look at it, that s just not a bouncer. This is the point I made to umpire Palmer. Many people felt I was unnecessarily confrontational in that incident. This is a regrettable misinterpretation. I was trying to make a point, albeit forcefully. Aaqib was right and umpire Palmer was being unfair to him.

9. Last international game at 26!: Aaqib lost his consistency in the mid and the late 90s. Pakistan have historically had a great pool of fast bowlers and with the likes of Shoaib Akhtar emerging, Aaqib lost his way. He played his last international match at the young age of 26 and couldn t script a comeback. ALSO READ: 11 cricketers whose international careers ended prematurely in their 20s

10. Love affair with India: Aaqib has won the prestigious man-of-the-match six times in his ODI career four of which were against India. He picked 54 wickets against India at 24.64.

11. Adil Burki s brother-in-law: Aaqib is married to famous Pakistani singer Adil Burkey s sister, Farzana.

12. Guiding Pakistan under-19 to a World Cup triumph: A World Cup winning player himself, Aaqib later coached Pakistan s under-19 side to victory in the 2004 U-19 Cricket World Cup.

13. Clean image: Aaqib was important to the Pakistani set-up in the 1990s and that was a time when several allegations of match-fixing had haunted the side. Aaqib is regarded as one of the cleanest players and has never allowed the shadow of match-fixing to fall upon him. He called punishment for players involved in PSL spot-fixing in 2017, however he defended Sharjeel Khan as there weren’t enough evidences.

14. Move to UAE after frustrations with the Pakistani set-up: He is currently the coach of United Arab Emirates (UAE). For over a decade Aaqib served Pakistani cricket as a coach in several capacities. He was a coach with the Under-15 team, then the Under-17 team, and then with the Under-19 team that won the World Cup in 2004. He was also the assistant coach of the national team and chief coach at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) academy. He was getting frustrated as there was no progress and others were passing him for the more important jobs. In an interview with Wisden India, Aaqib said, I was getting sick, but didn t know what to do. I got no recognition in Pakistan. The system is in a mess. No one knows what s going on. So when we came here for the Test series against England in 2012, which we won 3-0, someone from UAE cricket offered me a job. My first reaction was, What! Are you mad or what? But then I spoke to Mudassar Nazar (the chief coach as the ICC Academy in Dubai) and my wife and daughter wanted me to move, so it was done.

(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)