Zaheer Abbas - a truly great batsman?

Harsh Thakor

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On 24th July 1947 a child was born to Syed Ghulam Shabir and Kaneez Fatimain the Punjab city of Sialkot..a town eighty miles from Lahore, famous for its sports goods industryIt was just the time of the historic partition between India and Pakistan.Few could predict that the baby would emerge as one iof Cricket's graet geniuses.His father, Syed Ghulam Shabbir, a Government official engaged in plant protection, was an athlete. Of six younger brothers, four are cricketers and two hockey players, and he also has a sister. But for all his ability, swiftly recognised at school level at Karachi, Zaheer's path to the top was erratic.

Before the age of seven Zaheer patrticipated in village games.At times he would travel by bicycle.He would even cross ariver with the physical assistance of his friends to play amatch!Often the wickets were substandard.

Zaheer's father and uncle both encouraged him ,realising the youngster's prowess.His faterher was aseviceman and hsi uncle had jsut been appoionted alietenant in the army.Zaheer dreaded the services.His uncle promisd hi areward of Rs 100 for every centuy scored.

One of the most memorable facts about Zaheer i is schooldays was when his father told him "If you want to live alife of comfort he had to chose a career and work sincerely to make it asuccess."His father was going off on duty on an air-conditioned coach and let Zaheer feel he cool and comforts of his carriage.Later he took his son to a third class compartment in the train,to show him the contrast.



In his schol daysHanif Mohammad,Colin Cowdrey,Tom Graveny,Ted Dexter and Rohan Kanhai were his heroes.He placed Kanhai at the top.There was aperiod in his life when he almost sacrificed his Criket o concentrateon is studies.For anumbr of yaers he hardly held abat,graduating from Islamia college i 1969 afte doing his inter science.He made anominal effort at joining the army.However his haert was not in that career.

Earlier he had acaptained is school team and alos the Karachi Cricket board.He was so impressive in his play tat the Pakisatni INtrnatinal Airlines aclled him to join them./In 1970-71 he scored 5 centuries for P.I.A..(equaled Hanif Mohamad's record)Zaheer's maiden century i First Class ricket was his 197 agaisnt the erstwhile East Pakistan,in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophyat the Krcahi Natinal Stadium.

Before playing against England his one Test was against New Zealand at Karachi , 1969.

In a low-scoring match his contributions were a modest 12 and 27. He then seems to have aded from favour. There was a brief tour of Ireland with PIA in 1969 when his scores were 42, 67 and 44, and he was included in the Under-25 side which was to have visited England in 1970. The arrangements were cancelled amid the confusion of the South African trouble.




In 1971 in England Zaheer displayed his batting prowess for the first time when compiling an epic 274 against England at Edgbaston.Batting for a marathon 9hrs and 10 mins and registering 38 hits to the boundary revealed his great range of strokes ,majestic timing and phenomenal concentration.The ease with which he batted looked more like a batsmen giving fielding practice. In that knock he became the first batsman to omile 100 run sin the first class season.Zaheer had scored the fastest 1000 runsin England for a dozen years. “I was hungry for more and more runs., playing for mysef,the country and the record books. After each four I was only impatient for the next half-volley.”


Later Zaheer dispalyed his remarkable prwess yet again,but his time in adverse conditions.On a treacherous pitch facing the likes of deadly ’Derek Underwood’Zaheer compiled 138 out of 299.He batted like a surgeon performing a successful operation an incurable patient .The ball was viciously urning and Zaheer played like amaster on arain affected wicket.
His second wicket stand of 291 runs with Mushtaq Muhamad was a record for the country.



Zaheer recall recalls: "I needed to put my head down at the start, and make sure

Pakistandid not lose another wicket. The pitch was good and I felt I could master the bowling.

Once I was set I had no other thought but to carry on. After the first 50 I went to the next 50 and so on. When I passed 250 I put my sights on 300, and I would have gone beyond that if I had not got out." The final words emerge as if in apology.

The Playfair Cricket Monthly had this to say about what constituted a great player “Peter May could dominate any attack,as could Bradman and Compton.How do we view Zaheer Abbas?One man who watched the innings was Denis Compton who scored 278 at Trent Bridge in 1954,when he was mature player. He was such a great improviser, that he could throw off all orthodoxy to he four winds. However rigid we are in assessing Zaher’s performance in terms of the beautiful wicket and the mediocre English Bowling, it is still agreat innings which must qualify him for the list of the great players in the making.Time alone can tell. Have Pakistan produced another Hanif?”.

Quoting the 1972 Wisden Almanak "An England attack, short only of John Snow, which had defeated Australia was dismissed by Zaheer a as if he was engaged in a routine exercise. His timing and remarkable concentration produced an hourly scoring rate for nine hours averaging 30. Not once did he waver in skill and purpose."These traits were the base of Zaheer's great career.
.In that series which Pakistan was unfairly eluded of a win as a result of 25 run loss at Headingley Zaheer averaged 96.50.

In 1972, Zaheer gave some sparkling performances in Australia for the Rest of the World versus Australia.

In a firstclass Match against Western Australia he tore Dennis Lille to the shreds scoring an effortless Century.In the 3rd unofficial test he scored a majestic 86 on a bouncy track,impressing the Australian Crowds.



After failing in Australia and New Zealand in 1972-73 Zaheer compiled another Epic in 1974 at the Oval against England.This was his 240 at the Oval.The charasterictic roll of the wrists ,effortless drives and cuts were displayed all over again.Zaheer never looked like getting out seeming virtually impregnable,till he was bowled by Underwood.It looked as though he may surpass Gary Sober's then record 365 score.While batting he looked like a n emperor commanding his knights and pawns.

In the 1975 World Cup Zaheer displayed his innovative prowess for one day Cricket and scored an unbeaten 97 not ouit,the then highest Pakisatni World Cup score.

From 1972 Zaheer had joined Gloucestershire but it was in 1976 when he really showed his true mettle to dominate an English season.Zaheer complied 2554 runs at 75.11 and simply batted lik a maestro.Versus Surrey he scored 216 not out and 156 not out in the same game craeting aworld record unbeaten aggregate in afirtsclass match of 372 runs.Against Kent at Canterbury he repeated the feat scoring 230 not out and 104 not out.In that season his broad batting blade compiled.11 centuries and twice scored a double hundred and a hundred in the same match.He went on to cross landmark of 1000 runs Eleven times in a season playing for Gloucestershire ..In that season his broad batting blade compiled.11 centuries and twivce scored a double hundred and a hundred in the same match.At his best in 1976 Zaheer reminded one of Julius Caeasr or Alexander conquering territory after territory.

In 1976-77 in Australia Zaheer adapted superby on the fast Australian tracks and compiled 343 runs at 57.16.In the first tset he scored 85 and 101 ,in the second 090 and 52 but failed on a fast Sydney track in 1the final test.Zaheer executed some of the finest drives of DennisLillee.Pakistan gained a historic test win in Sydney which enabled them to draw a series against the most formidable side in the world.Subseqently that year Pakistan toured the West Indies for a 5tset match series.However apart from a fine 80 in the 4th test at Georgetown( where he shared a record 3rd wicket stand with Majid Khan to help Pakistan save the test match after trailing by over 250 run s in the Ist innings)he failed in a hard -fought series played against the West Indies played on Carribean soil.Pakistan just marginally failed to triumph,losing 2-1.He missed the firts 2 tests because of injury.

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In 1977 Zaheer joined Kerry Packer Cricket in Australia and the hostile fast bowling had a significant impact on his career.The prolonged barrge of short pitched and hostile fast bowling took its toll on Zaheer and he began to get intimidated by it.He produced some good scores in the 2nd season,but still could not match Viv and Barry Richards or the Chappel brothers.One of his most memorable knocks in the tornament was a spectaular 91 agaisnt he likes of Joel Garner and Andy Roberts. In 1978 against India Zaheer batted like an Asian re-incarnation of Sir Don Bradman.He aggreagated a then record for a 3test series of 583 runs scored at an average of 195 with scores of 176,96,235 not out ,34 not out and 42 runs.It was like seeing and Emperor commanding his subjects.His knock of 176 at Faisalabad was aclassic.Hussai Syed reported 'His off-drivind could not have been surpassed. and anything short was punished like an executioner behaeding a covict.This si the greatset innings I hve seen him play.,even thoug I have seen many of his great inings,world over."
After he reached his centuries it looked like subjects bowing before an emperor.He perced every part of the field dissecting all the field placings.The domination was reminiscent of a bomber destroying an airbase,however the execti was reminiscent of a surgeon peforming an operation with the most delicate touch and immaculate skill.Zaheer was instrumental in Pakistan beating India for the first time.
Zaheer failed the next season in Australia ,but in the 1979 Prudential World Cup in England put Pakisitan on the threshold of a historic win in the semi-final versus WEst INdies with an effortless 93..Zaheer seemed to struggle before against the Calypso pace quartet but that day played on of one day cricket's finest knocks.Even the good balls were dispatched to the fence in all parts and one ball was flicked for 6 of Michael Holding.The most hostile attack was put to shreds and looked absolutely helpless during a 166 run partnership between Zaheer Abbas and Majid Khan.Chasing 293 to win Pakistan were 176-1 before Zaheer fell and his team capitulated to defeat being bowled out for 250.It is the finest one day International inings perhaps scored against great pace bowling-sheer poetry in action.

In 1979-80 Zaheer had a nightmare on a tour to India averaging about 20 runs and Pakistan crashed to a 2-0 defeat after being firm favourites .Zaheer thought a spell had been cast by God.

His poor form continued in home test series in 1980 against Australia and West Indies However in 1981 he dominated the English season like a king scoring 2305 runs at 88.69,topping the first class batting averages..In that season he became the only player in first class Cricket who scored a double Century and acentury in the same match on 4 occassions.He scored 1000 run sin only 14 innings,including 365 in amatch.One was reminded of Barry and Viv Richards and Zaheer topped the First class averages averaging 88.69 with 10 centuries..Zaheer seemed to have comeback to his best .The opposition was devoured with the impact of a Muhaamad Ali but with the grace of singer Talat Mahmood.

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In 1981-82 Zaheer came back to form ina test series in Australia after missing the first test scoring 80 in the 2nd and 90 in the final .He made useful scores including a match-winning hundred in the one day triangular series.His 108 of 109 balls was an absolute gem when he made the likes of Lillee look like cattle fodder.However Pakistan were humiliated losing the test series and failing to qualify for the one day finals.

In England in 1982 Zaheer failed ,inspite of a well-made 75 at Lords in the 2nd test where Pakistan gained a historic win.In a hardly fought series Pakisatn were unlucky to lose 2-1 ,with crucial umpiring decsions goings against them.

In 1982-1983 against India at Home Zaheer was again re-incarnated as an Asian Bradman scoring 650 runs at 130 including 3 successive centuries.He started with 215 ,186 and 168.When he scored 215 he regsitered his 100 th fiest class hundred.He batted in scintilating style scoring 215 of just 24o deliveries.His innings at Karachi was simplay artistic and even a good ball was dispatched.When scoring 215 he registered his 100 th Cenury-the 1st Asian to do so.This was a truly emotional moment for him.The Indian bowling attack resembled ademoralised battalion who just faced acrushing defeat. Howeve Zaheers' strokes displayed the grace of a ballad dancer.He played an instrumental role i Pakistan avenging their humiliation on their previous Indian tour.Earlier versus Australia at home in that season Zaheer scored 90,126 and 52 averaging 89 runs.In 6 successive International games Zaheer scored centuries versus India . (3 in tests,2 in oneday games,one in first class)Zaheer was simply a batting machine.

In the 1983 World Cup Zaheer gave some fine displays ,notably his century that enabled Pakistan to beat New Zealand in the final league match and qualify for the semi -final.He tore Richards Hadlee and Co to the shreds with the most innovative of strokes.Zaheer avaerged 62run sin that tournament.He also scored a masterly 83 not out out of 193 against England in a league match for a demoralised Pakistan team who were deprived of Imran Khan bolwing.(Champion fast bolwer of that era) and 82 in the first match against Sri Lanka.

In 1983-84 Zaheer was awarded the captaincy on the tour of India.His ultra-defensive captaincy possibly deied Pakistan a victory in the 3rd test at Nagpur,where he scored a masterly 85.He batted consistently inAustralia,leading his team in the first 3 tests averaging 40 runs but his old touch seemed to be eluding him.n 1984 Zaheer was reappointed skipper in a home series against England in Imran Khan's absence and made useful scores which helped Pakistan win their first ever series versus England.He averaged 49 odd run s.

Towards the end Zaheer was not popular with his team mates and by 1985 was dropped.He led his team to a home series win against New Zealand and came close to leading his team to adrawn rubber in the return away series in New Zealand.However a 50 run last wicket stand for New Zealand between JohnBracewell and Jeremy Coney robbed Pakistan of a win in the third test.Sadly he retired on abitter note after he was dropped for the 2nd tset against Sri Lanka in 1985-86.He thought he was betrayed byu senior palyers.Demonstartions were staged in protest.For acricketer who all along exhibited such feline grace it was a sad ending.



Analysis of Zaheer Abbas

Zaheer was perhaps the most stylish batsman of all time.The grace he displayed by his strokeplay was more reminiscent of a pianist tapping his keyboard .His wristwork reminded one of or a violinist strutting the strings of his instrument while his imagination reminded one of a musical composer.His timing was majestic and it almost seemed that he was painting curves on a board.No batsman of hsi era had better timing or posessed such supple wrists which virtually guided the ball ,as though he was carrying a golden wand and not a bat.He may not have had the technical prowess of Sunil Gavaskar or Barry Ricahards,the brutal destructive power of Viv Richards but for sheer artistry with Gundappa Vishwanath he was class by himself.Zaheer's batting was reminiscent of that of the Golden age of Cricket in the 1920'

Technically,Zaheer was the best Pakistani batsmen after Hanif Mohammad and the most stylish of all.Zaheer excelled on both the back and Front foot and was a master of the drive on either side of extra cover.He pierced the most combative of fields with the skill of a magician as though cutting through an impregnable enemy barrier.Zaheer's batting blade produced some of the most imaculate flicks glances and cuts as well assolid hook shots.Often one got the impression that the ball would skid below the bat and knock of the stumps but before you could say Jack Robinson the ball would race to the fence.He was so lose-wristed that he could steer the ball at his own will through gaps in the covers or the legside.... On occasions he could move backward to forward or vice versa during the course of one stroke and yet send the ball crashing to the fenceThis maestro modelled himself on Colin Cowdrey and Tom Graveney,2 of England's most elegant and prolific batsmen with a unique style.

Below are some quotse on Zaherr abassos batting

Cricket historian Keith Ball:confusedtates “.He is an artist with an artist’s eye for the game. He tries to make every stroke ,a thing of beauty I itself.”His career is based on the desire to be remembered as one of the outstanding batsman of the era. Zaheer could never be described as selfish. He has he same grandeur as Archie Mclaren,the extra-ordinary backlift and full swing of he bat,p powerful forward strokes combined with strong back-foot play.His stance is relaxed but watchful. He adds aesthetic values to the game.

Gloucestershire Captain David Green states:He is as handsome a strokemaker as I have ever seen.. The beauty and elegance of his off-sideplay is such that it’s not difficulat to imagine his gracing Cricket’s golden age. Zaheer is not blessed with the physique of a Dexter or Viv Richards,so he has innovated different methods. He possesses a Edwardian grace to his batting.His strokes are wristy and the follow through is high and freeas by such methods maximum force is applied to the ball with minimum expenditure of pure strength. He wishes to dominate the good balls,which lesser players opt for inactivity.


Tony Lewis in 1976 when Zaheer was at his peak.:When he walks to the wicket his lean appearance e and his spectacles convey an heir of vulnerability. However at the wicket his cover driving is dazzling. His great art is to hit he fairly straight ball which is well p to him through the cover In this form he is impossible to restrain.



David Graveney:The best dispatcher o the bad ball I have ever seen His best shot is off the back foot through he offside.

Bob Willis:
“He remains vulnerable to he moving ball.He plays high pace extremely well off the backfoot ,using the speed of the ball to play his shots ,in the mode of Glen Turner.He plays beautifully on the offside, and is adept at playing he ball on the rise. I would always back a high-class seamer to outfox him.He is alos vulnerable to the short, rising ball .The place to bowl at him is at his nose-he does not fancy that at all...If you pitch it just outside he offstump he will murder you.”

Cristopher Martin Jenkins:Zaheer Abas could find himself in any all time imaginary eleven



Would Zaheer Abbas rank amongst the all time great batsmen like Jack Hobbs,Sunil Gavaskar,Sachin Tendulkar,Viv Richards and Brian Lara?

In first class Cricket statistically he can compare with the best.Zaheer compiled 34843 run swith 108 centuries in first class games at an average of 51.54 (Better than Viv Richards )He is the only Asian batsman ever to score 100 firs class centuries.He is the only batsmen ever to score centuries in both innings of first class match 8 times and score a double hundred and a hundred in the same match on 4 occasions.He scored 100 Centuries in only 658 innings.Only Don Bradman,Dennis Compton,Len Hutton and Geoff Boycott scored them in fewer Innings.He was faster than Walter Hammond and Viv Richards!In test matches he scored 5062 run sat 44.79.However Zaheer in test matches scored half his centuries versus India and did not have a great average aganist fast bowling...One criticism of Zaheer is that he was not as effective in a crisis as Majid Khan,Javed Miandad. or Asif Iqbal and often failed against genuine quick bowling.(averaged 0nly 17 versus the WEst Indies).For this very reason Partick Murlphy in his book 'The Centurions' states that Zaheer Abbas should not be placed amongst the pantheon of truly great batsman like Viv Richards or Greg Chappell.l.In his view Graham Gooch and other stars like Miandad, Inzamam and Mohammad Yousuf would be classified as great as they were prolific against the best pace attack of all time-the West Indies.He also did not have a great overseas test record.Many critiques feel these factors went against him being classed with all time greats like Viv Richards or Sunil GavaskarTo me however only a great batsmen could score 274 and 240 against an English attack comprising John Snow,Derek Underwood ,Tony Greig Etc,even if the pitches wee placid.On occasions he handled the likes of Lillee Etcsuperby,but was rattled by bouncers.Ultimately that is a moot point.Michael Holding,the fastest WEs Indian bolwer of all rates Zaheer 'a truly great batsmen.'For sheer grace and emotion only Vishwanath,David Gower and Rohan Kanhai have equalled him.Ravi Shastri and Javed Miandad rate him as the best ever Pakisatni batsmen .Javed places Zaheer in his all time team at one down postion!To me ,in the late 1970's he was the closest rival to the trio of Viv Richards,Greg Chappell and Sunil Gavaskar.His strike rate was remarkable.On slow wickets and against spin bowling he is the best batsmen I have ever seen. It is significant that Sir Garfield Sobers,the greatest cricketer ever rated Zaheer Abass as the 6th best batsman in the world in 1979 ,behind Viv and Barry Richards,the Chappell brothers and Sunil Gavaskar.Derek Underwood rated Zaheer as amongst the 3 best batsman he ever bowled to.

Zaheer was undoubtedly a geat one day International batsmem averaging a one time record average of 47.62.His improvisation was classical and he would be a serious contender in an all-time one day team.To me Zaheer was amongst the top 5 one day batsman of all and at his best in the Viv Richards or Tendulkar class.

I consider Zaheer Abbas the 2nd greatest ever Pakistani batsman.after Miandad.Tell me which player possessed such a vast armoury of strokes and such inventive batting ability?No Pakistani batsman could find the gap as comfortably as Zaheer or score runs as quickly. At his best he could change the complexion of a match more than any Pakistani batsman.Zaheer has the best record in first class Cricket, setting record after record in EnglishCounty Cricket,with Bramanseque flair. Zaheer also at one stage of his acre dealt with pace bolwing admirably.Look at how he encountered Lillee and Co.in 1976-77 down under andsome of the knocks he palyed for the Rest of the World in 1972 .It is no mean feat to score 2 double centuries in England.There were many series where Zaheer overshadowed Javed Miandad with the bat like in 1982-83 and 1978-79 against India;in 1981-82 in and in 1983-84 in Australia and in 1984 at home against EnglandIn the 1970’s Zaheer was almost in the Viv Richards,Greg Chappell or Sunil Gavaskar class .His 93 against West Indies I the 1979 World Cup is amongst he ten best one day innings I have ever seen.Above all Zaheer was a champion at one down.At his best Zaheer has dominated test series and matches more than any Pakistani batsman.I would confront Imran Khan when he says that he would not place Zaheer in the top flight of batsman.His brilliant first class record and strokeplay confirm his place in the all-time great batsman.In the modern era with the tracks relatively placid and the bowling attacks weaker,Zaheer may well have averaged above 50 in tests and been amongst the top one dayu International run getters.

Where Zaheer failed was as a captain where he was over defensive and uninspiring . He perhaps prevented Pakistan from winning the 1983 serise in India at Nagpur with ultra-defensive4 tactics..He hardly inspired the team like Imran Khan or had Javed Miandad's agressiveness.He could hardly give back to Pakistan Cricket what he got from it as an adminstrator or a manager as depicted on the last tour of England.The Internal politics and rivalries within Pakistani Cricket were instrumental in this.

Zaheer admired Rohan Kanhai,Sunil Gavaskar,Hanif Mohammad and Viv Richards as his best players.To him Rohan was the best he saw.He alos had ahigh opinion of Gundappa Vishwanath,the Indian equivalent of Zaheer.

To Zaheer what was of utmost importance was to be remembered.Till the game of Cricket exists Zaheer's batting will not be forgotten.His batting style was so unique that even calling him an 'Asian Bradman'would be innapproppriate.The grace he expounded and the joy he gave was infinite above everything else and when we see his batting on avideo it is more like hearing an al-time favourite Ghazal!

Written with refernce from 'Zed' by David Foot. and from Wisden cricinfo website.

Ma I NO Runs HS1 HS2 HS3 Ave 100 50
overall 78 124 11 5062 274 240 235* 44.79 12 20 10

One Day International Record

Mat I NO Runs HS1 HS2 HS3 Ave 100 50
0

overall 62 60 6 2572 123 11 113 47.62 7 13 2

First CLass Cricket

Scored 34843 run sat 51.54 inwith 108 centuries.

Below is atribute written by Wisden Almanak in 1984










"Zaheer's love of batting is manifested not through mere sterile occupation of the crease, with runs being scored at a rate dictated by the level of the bowler's competence, but rather through a will to dominate bowlers, almost irrespective of their skill or of the condition of the pitch. This is a characteristic he shares with his great contemporary, Vivian Richards. The shortish ball just outside of stump, which a player more prudent or less talented might studiously ignore, is to him there to be hit, and the same can apply to the straight, good-length ball, from which he scores with an ease and frequency which only Richards and perhaps Greg Chappell have matched in recent years. Such an ambitious approach carries its own penalties. Inevitably, attacking strokes aimed at good balls leave little margin for error. Zaheer, therefore, more that most, can be affected by slight loss of form; the flowing cover-drive, if edged, carries to slip in a way that the careful defensive prod does not. On balance, however, his attitude is fully justified by his record. The spectator must expect the occasional early dismissal, but in compensation he sees, when Zaheer is going well, strokeplay of a beauty which illuminates a utilitarian age.

Like all great players, he has an uncomplicated method. It is based first on correct footwork, so that he is positioned advantageously in relation to the length and line of each delivery. Secondly, though his backswing may not please the purist, the bat's downward path, which is much more important, is so strictly vertical as to satisfy the most pernickety geometrician. His power is derived from a high backlift, sweet timing and wristy acceleration of the blade at the moment of impact. It is this wristiness, together with the consequent free follow-through, that gives his batting its seductive bloom. When watching him, I am constantly reminded of Beldham's photographic studies of the heroes of cricket's Golden Age - of Fry, Trumper, Ranji and MacLaren."
 
POTW.

What a post.

Great read!
 
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Zaheer Abbas career is filled with highs and lows.
His record v/s India reminds of Ricky Ponting.
V/s India in India - 8 tests - 313 runs at avg of 28.45
v/s India on Pakistan - 11 test - 1427 runs at avg of 158.55

He had great record in Eng with Average of 56.06
But poor record v/s West Indies and New Zealand against them he averaged close to 20 both home and away.
He had decent record v/s Australia against who he averaged 44.09.
Home avg - 58.19
Away avg - 36.87

His ODI record is extremely impressive with average of 47.
 
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On this day 45 years ago Zaheer Abbas scored his first test century at the age of 23.

It was the highest score by any foreign player in his first test match in England.

He scored 274 in Edgbaston Test on a wicket which has a history of being Seamers friendly wicket.

It was Imran Khan's debut test and he would have taken lots of Inspiration from Great Zed's knock.


Zaheer Abass is definitely a legend of Pakistan Cricket. Players like Yousuf, Younis, Azhar & Asad improved as batsman when he was Manager and Batting Consultant of Pakistan Team.


Zaheer Abass is a true Ambassador of Pakistan and is well respected throughout the Cricket World. They call him " Asian Bradman ".

Zaheer's favourite modern batsman is Virat Kohli while he rates Sachin Tendulkar as the best batsman of last 30 years.
 
I rate him as the best ODI batsman we have produced and one of the top 5 overall
 
Miandad
Inzamam
Saeed Anwar
Saleem Malik
Zaheer Abbas

Top 5 Pakistani batsmen.
 
Hard pressed to find many Pakistani batsmen with a record in England and Australia comparable to Zaheer Abbas's. Few possessed his stylishness, grace and elegance at the crease.

He was a player like many of his contemporaries who hugely benefited from County cricket which was of a high standard then. Unlike today's players, they could hone their craft playing alongside and against top English and foreign players, and gain experience of overseas conditions.
 
On flat tracks, where would Zaheer Abbas rank amongst the great batsmen?

I remember Imran Khan stating that on flat sub-continent pancakes Zaheer Abbas was the best batsmen in the world.He dominated bowling attacks in a Bradmanesque manner resembling an emperor annexing territory after territory aginst India at home in 1978-79 and in 1982-83.He also scored 2 epic double centuries in England scoring 274 at Edgbaston in 1971 and 240 at the Oval ion 1974.Few overseas greats shave scored two double centuries in England with Gavaskar,Tendulkar,Lara,Border,Miandad and Greg Chappel being the best examples .It was simply a sight to behold watching Zaheer dissect a bowling attack resembling a painter making curves on a board.His willlow resembled a violin and his strokes reminded you of the sound from a musical instrument or verses from a poem.Be it his 215 at Lahore,186 at Karachi 235 n.o at Lahore,240 at the Oval or 274 at Edbaston Zaheer took batting art to regions of divinity. He would not just prod for many hours like Geoff Boycott or slaughter the opposition like Viv Richards.Zaheer in his most merciless onslaughts still possessed the grace of a bird flying.He blended the technical skill of a Geoff Boycott with the imagination of Brian Lara.On a flat batting track I rate Zaheer Abbas the best batsmen of the 1970's.


I find it hard envisaging Viv Richards,Tendulkar or Gavaskar surpass Zaheer Abbas at his best against India in 1978-79 and 1982-83 .To me in his prime he was the best attacking batsmen in the world on slow or flat tracks.Averaging 195 in 1978-79 and 130 in 1982-83 versus India speaks for itself.In those series he could even have given Bradman a run for his money.A good case for Zaheer being ranked amongst the top dozen or ten batsmen of all on docile or flat tracks.His staggering 1st class figures are also evidence of this where has overshadowed Viv Richards or Gavaskar.
 
His average against India in those tours spoke more about how bad the Indian attack in general was. That period was Indian cricket's greatest though this still won the 1983 World Cup in probably the greatest final shock of all time.

Zaheer was a good player, but I don't rate him as highly as others.
 
Zaheer Abbass at his best was more dangerous than Viv Richards. He was the flag bearer of brutal elegance style of batsmanship back in the day and still is. The world remembers him with respect and wishes he was more consistent and prolific overall.
 
At least he wasn't a chickenhearted choker. :abdv

Yet he is a better batsmen than any Pakistani batsmen not named Miandad (Tests only) in any format of the game.

Abbas was also accused of scoring soft easy runs in his career .So, that makes him a FTB + choker.

Choker > FTB + Choker!
 
Yet he is a better batsmen than any Pakistani batsmen not named Miandad (Tests only) in any format of the game.

Abbas was also accused of scoring soft easy runs in his career .So, that makes him a FTB + choker.

Choker > FTB + Choker!

Zaheer scored prolifically against top quality Australian pace attacks including Dennis Lillee down under.In 1976-77. Aggregated 343 runs at 57.16 and averaged 56.16 in 1981-82.which is commendable.Also tackled spin bowling stars like Bedi or Chandrashekar in 1977-78 and Kapil Dev in 1982-83.In England faced the likes of Derek Underwood and John Snow.Who can forget his 91 against a great Callpso pace attack in 1979 world cup semi-final.Alos some high scores on unofficially tour in 1972 representing world xi.On a flat batting trick he could even take the likes of Dennis Lillee apart.
 
The Asian Bradman - the only Pakistani in the club of a 100 first class centuries.

It was great to bump into him at the Pakistan vs New Zealand World Cup game last year at a ground he got a big double ton on in 1971.
 
I would put him in the Vishwanath, Gower and Martin Crowe class, not a real top-liner like Viv Richards, Gavaskar and Miandad.
 
Interviewed Zaheer recently.

Some very interesting stories from him about his career.

Watch this space for the interview.
 
I would put him in the Vishwanath, Gower and Martin Crowe class, not a real top-liner like Viv Richards, Gavaskar and Miandad.

Shouldn't Crowe be in a higher class to the other three- Zaheer, Vishwanath and Gower?
 
Shouldn't Crowe be in a higher class to the other three- Zaheer, Vishwanath and Gower?

I never thought so, they all averaged mid-forties.

Gower and Crowe played half their cricket in places difficult to bat in. Had they been born Aussies they would have averaged fifty each and be considered greats.
 
Zaheer Abbas, the legendary Pakistan batsman who enthralled fans with expansive strokeplay in his heyday, says the explosion of T20 cricket has changed the game so much that the cricket boards are now desperate to stage their lucrative leagues even in the face of a pandemic.

The West Indies board have announced that the 2020 Caribbean Premier League would be staged next month behind closed doors at just two venues in Trinidad and Tobago.

And the delayed Indian Premier League (IPL), the richest of all cricket tournaments, will be held in the UAE from September 19 to November 8, pending government approval.

The Indian cricket board would have lost more than $500 million if the IPL, which was scheduled to start from March 29, was cancelled.

But the postponement of this year's T20 World Cup due to the travel restrictions in Australia gave the BCCI the perfect window to salvage the money-spinner.

"Every country likes to play T20 matches to make money. Every country, you know, I am not talking only about India, but all of us because there is so much money involved in these tournaments these days," Abbas told the Khaleej Times over the phone from London on Friday.

The former Pakistan captain admitted that the cricket boards' commitments with their sponsors and the broadcasters needed to be acknowledged as well as the financial health of the sport while debating the merits of hosting such events during a global health crisis.

"They (the cricket boards) have so much commitments which they have to fulfil. As you know, the teams coming from the West Indies and Pakistan to England for the Test series, they were in quarantine for some time and they (the West Indies and England) played without a crowd," said Abbas, referring to the recent England-West Indies Test series which marked the return of international cricket following the Covid-19 enforced break.

"So that's why I am saying that even in the current scenario, every cricket-playing country would like to make some money. For that matter, all the cricket playing countries have to help each other."

But Abbas, the former International Cricket Council (ICC) president, would never back the governing body's plan to reduce Test matches to four days.

"You know I played the traditional game and one-day cricket. What I believe is that, yes you sometimes get results in four days, but it doesn't mean that we have to make Test cricket a four-day format," Abbas said.

"I know most of the matches are finishing in four days these days, but you don't have to reduce it to four days just because of that. Sometimes the weather plays a part and the fifth day comes into play when it's raining and when bad light stops play, you can't get a result in four days.

"So I don't see a reason to change the traditional format of the game. You already have T20 cricket, you have the ODIs, so there is no need to change Test cricket!"

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/cricket/zaheer-abbas-backs-bcci-decision-to-stage-ipl-this-year
 
Zaheer Abbass at his best was more dangerous than Viv Richards. He was the flag bearer of brutal elegance style of batsmanship back in the day and still is. The world remembers him with respect and wishes he was more consistent and prolific overall.

No chance. He has nothing that stands up to Richards 56 ball ton and 189*
Remember that Hussey at his best > Sachin at his worst. That is no way to compare players
 
Zaheer from all accounts was a dashing strokeplayer who possessed great flair and freedom

He and and a few others laid the foundation ofthe freedom of stroke play that many of his successors took on in the 90s and 00s

Zed was prolific and when set went brutally big Truly a pakistani great
 
No chance. He has nothing that stands up to Richards 56 ball ton and 189*
Remember that Hussey at his best > Sachin at his worst. That is no way to compare players
Many batsmen have scored a ton with lot less balls, even Misbah has fastest 100 that too in a test.
Having seen all these batsmen play in prime I have ro agree though Viv was atleast one level above Zaheer. Zaheer though was third best Pakistani batsman after Miandad and Inzi, considering all formats. Better than Mohd Yousuf, Younis K and Saleem Malik. To me he falls in same catrgory as G Chappel, Gower, Vishwanath, M Crowe and Alan Border.
 
Many batsmen have scored a ton with lot less balls, even Misbah has fastest 100 that too in a test.
Having seen all these batsmen play in prime I have ro agree though Viv was atleast one level above Zaheer. Zaheer though was third best Pakistani batsman after Miandad and Inzi, considering all formats. Better than Mohd Yousuf, Younis K and Saleem Malik. To me he falls in same catrgory as G Chappel, Gower, Vishwanath, M Crowe and Alan Border.

Agree with the other names all format (Border >>> as a test bat)
Chappell is very clearly a tier above him. Chappell is Richards/Gavaskar/Sachin level as a test bat and a very, very good ODI bat as well

His performances vs WI show the difference, Abbas was dire vs them
 
Agree with the other names all format (Border >>> as a test bat)
Chappell is very clearly a tier above him. Chappell is Richards/Gavaskar/Sachin level as a test bat and a very, very good ODI bat as well

His performances vs WI show the difference, Abbas was dire vs them

Yes he wasnt great from his stats against the WI but judging players via scorecards isnt the perfect way

I like to take the views of people who wstched him play and followed his career

From all accounts zaheer was a very fine player and very destructive once set
 
Yes he wasnt great from his stats against the WI but judging players via scorecards isnt the perfect way

I like to take the views of people who wstched him play and followed his career

From all accounts zaheer was a very fine player and very destructive once set

I agree with that, but Chappell is a great of the game
Abbas was great to watch when on song, but was very jumpy against top quality fast bowling, his struggles are obvious without looking at scorecards.
When he look statistically, a player with an away average or 37 just doesn't stack up. No hundreds, average of 18 from 8 tests vs WI
 
Only nine test centuries suggests he wasn't that special. On his day was a great stroke player.
 
No chance. He has nothing that stands up to Richards 56 ball ton and 189*
Remember that Hussey at his best > Sachin at his worst. That is no way to compare players

Brother what you see is a drop, what you do not see is an ocean.

Zabby did to the much feared Indian spin quartet what Viv Richards could only dream of. Viv was never able to dominate Indian spinners the way Zabby could and it is that reason why many Indians still regard him as a batting deity.
 
Brother what you see is a drop, what you do not see is an ocean.

Zabby did to the much feared Indian spin quartet what Viv Richards could only dream of. Viv was never able to dominate Indian spinners the way Zabby could and it is that reason why many Indians still regard him as a batting deity.
No doubt Zaheer is one of the greats against spin
However, against pace he was a scared batsman. His record vs WI is embarrassing
Still a very good player in total, but cannot be compared to Viv, who was very good vs spin, on top of being one of the very greatest vs pace
 
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