Abdul Razzaq, born December 2, 1979, was one of Pakistan’s leading One-Day International (ODI) players in the early and mid-2000s. A cunning bowler and a belligerent batsman, Razzaq could walk into the side on the basis of either discipline. 

On his birthday, Shiamak Unwalla takes a look at the man who played an impressive 265 ODIs for Pakistan.

1. All-rounder par excellence

Razzaq is one of only four One-Day International (ODI) players to complete the double of 250 wickets and 5,000 runs. The other three are Sanath Jayasuriya, Shahid Afridi, and Jacques Kallis.

2. Jack of all positions

Razzaq is one of the few batsmen to have batted at 10 out of the possible 11 positions in the batting order in ODIs. The only position he has not batted at is No. 1, i.e. taking first strike in an innings. He has batted the most at No. 7 (84 times), while he has batted at No. 11 just once. His highest average (49.75) comes at the No. 5 position.

3. African delight

Razzaq has scored three ODI tons. Coincidentally, all three have come against African sides; He made 107 not out and 112 against South Africa, and 109 not out against Zimbabwe.

4. Bangla basher

Razzaq scored Test hundreds against Bangladesh in two consecutive innings —nearly a year apart. He scored 110 not out at Multan in August, 2001, and played his next Test only in January 2002 where he scored 134, also against Bangladesh.

5. The Spinach and The Snail

The Boxing Day Test between Pakistan and Australia at Melbourne in 2004-05 was a rather strange one for Razzaq. He scored a 76-ball four not out in the first innings, and followed it up with a 74-ball 19. However, what stood out about the match was that Razzaq fell seriously ill on the field. He started feeling dizzy, vomited, and had trouble breathing while on the field. His condition was later rumoured to be due to a strange fixation with eating nothing but Spinach for days!

Zakir Shah, Pakistan’s then-board operations’ manager told The Melbourne Age, “Somebody told him to have spinach all the time. So he loves spinach and wherever he goes he says spinach should be part of the diet, in Pakistan particularly. The other team-mates tease him and call him Popeye the Sailor Man.”

6. What’s in a name?

There is some confusion over Abdul Razzaq’s first name, with the name “Abdur” being used as well. This is due to the fact that Razzaq’s real name is in fact Abdur, but he changed it to Abdul in 2002.

7. Domestic mercenary

Razzaq has played for a number of domestic First-Class, List A, and Twenty20 sides, among which are: Asia Cricket Council XI, Lahore City, Khan Research Laboratories, Lahore Blues, Pakistan Internaitonal Airlines, Middlesex, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, Lahore, Lahore Ravi, Worcestershire, Surrey, Leicestershire, Sialkot Stallions, Hampshire, Melbourne Renegades, Duronto Rajshahi, Wayamba United, and Pakistan A.

(Shiamak Unwalla is a proud Whovian and all-round geek who also dabbles in cricket writing as a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)