Umar Akmal is a step closer to learning when an appeal against his three-year cricket ban will be heard after an independent adjudicator was appointed.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Sunday that former Supreme Court judge Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar would hear the appeal.

Announcing the appointment, the PCB said: "The independent adjudicator will now decide on the date of the appeal hearing. As soon as this is confirmed, the PCB will make the announcement."

Akmal was issued with his ban from all cricket in April, after two alleged breaches of the PCB's anti-corruption code.

The limited-overs specialist, now 30, was accused of "failing to disclose to the PCB vigilance and security department (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the participant to engage in corrupt conduct under this anti-corruption code".

Akmal, who was provisionally suspended on February 20, could have faced a lifetime ban.

The batsman has played 121 ODIs and 84 Twenty20 Internationals, also featuring in 16 Tests between 2009 and 2011.

Meanwhile, the PCB waved goodbye to several leading figures from within its ranks on Sunday, amid a slew of personnel changes within the organisation and the national cricket academy.

"Mudassar Nazar, Haroon Rashid, Mushtaq Ahmed and Agha Zahid finish their innings at the PCB today," the board said on Twitter.

"While the PCB thanks and wishes them well, it also welcomes Nadeem Khan, Saqlain Mushtaq, Grant Bradburn and Asser Malik."

Grant Flower expects Pakistan run machine Babar Azam to "break a lot of records" but fears there is a danger he could regret taking over as captain.

Babar is the top-ranked Twenty20 international batsman in the world and has established himself as one of the best players on the planet in all formats.

The 25-year-old was named T20I skipper last October and also took the ODI captaincy this month.

Flower recognised the elegant right-hander was a special talent when he first started working with him as Pakistan batting coach and believes he is destined for greatness.

He told Stats Perform News: "Babar is brilliant.

"The first time I saw him play and first time I worked with him - when I threw balls at him at the academy in Lahore - he picked up length so much quicker than the rest of the players and I think that's the hallmark of a great batsman.

"If you look at some of the best players in the world like Steve Smith, Virat Kohli et cetera, they pick up length really quickly and play the ball late, have a great eye and hand-eye coordination. He has that and I think he is going to break a lot of records.

"Even in T20 cricket he plays normal cricket shots and that is also the sign of a great player. As long as he stays humble, which I'm sure he will as he's a good bloke, there is no reason why he can't be one of the best and he already pretty much is."

Sri Lanka batting coach Flower hopes Babar thrives as a leader but fears his form could suffer due to the extra pressure on his shoulders.

The former Zimbabwe all-rounder said: "He's got a good cricketing brain but there's a lot of politics in Pakistan cricket and a lot of pressure from the public.

"If you start losing, it's one thing being the best batsman but that will put pressure on your batting skills and it can all come tumbling down pretty quickly.

"We've seen with great players in the past the pressures that captaincy can bring, but some players get better and if he gets better then the world is his oyster. Time will tell.

"But he seems pretty positive about it, I read what he said in an interview when he got the captaincy. I wish him all the best and hopefully all positives come with that."

 

- Grant Flower was speaking on behalf of The Conservation Games, a first-of-its-kind initiative from the Zambesia Conservation Alliance. To watch Grant in action, visit and subscribe to the Conservation Games channel on YouTube.

Christopher Henry Gayle is arguably the greatest One-Day International batsman the West Indies has ever produced but today his innings in the Ultimate XI ODI edition came up short.

Gayle had, yesterday, avoided the cut and made the final six among contestants vying for the honour of being one of the two best openers the game has ever seen.

According to the SportsMax panel of experts, Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar would form the greatest partnership the game to ever grace an ODI cricket pitch.

That would leave other greats like South Africa’s Hashim Amla, Sri Lankan legend Tillakaratne Dilshan, Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar, and, of course, Gayle as bystanders.

According to the SportsMax Zone, Sharma and Tendulkar are also the best it could come up with from the shortlist of 12, of course, the Zone did not do the culling of the herd the panel did yesterday.

For the unitiated, Rohit Sharma has scored as many ODI double hundreds as there are people who have scored them, while Tendulkar is by far and away, the heaviest ODI runscorer in the history of the sport and their picks may be hard to disagree with.

Unless, of course, you’re a Fanalyst.

Fanalysts have, so far, chosen Chris Gayle as one of their two openers and have also disagreed with the choice of Tendulkar to be the man to join him, instead going for Sharma.

Tendulkar, is at this point, the reserve option for the Fanalysts, but that could all change.

Have your say in the conversation by going to SportsMax.tv and clicking on the banner, or following the link here.

Imran Khan played 175 matches and scored 3709 runs at an average of 33.41. His highest score was 102 not out. His best ODI bowling figures were 6 wickets for 14 runs, a record by any bowler in an ODI innings in a losing cause.

In their own way, these figures present a picture of just how good Imran Khan was in his playing days for Pakistan. He also made himself into an allrounder worth a place for his batting alone, and captained Pakistan as well as anyone, rounding off his career with the 1992 World Cup, the only time Pakistan ever won the title.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Imran Khan Niazi

Born: October 5, 1952, Lahore, Punjab

Major teams: Pakistan, Dawood Club, Lahore, New South Wales, Oxford University, Pakistan International Airlines, Sussex, Worcestershire

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

ODI Career (Batting): Pakistan (1971-1992)

Mat        Inns     NO     Runs      HS        Ave        BF         SR       100s      50s     

175        151       40      3709      102*      33.41     5105      72.65        1        19      

 

ODI Career (Bowling): Pakistan (1971-1992)

Mat     Inns      Balls      Runs     Wkts      BBI        BBM      Ave       Econ      SR         4w      5w     10w

175      153       7461      4844      182        6/14       6/14      26.61     3.89       40.9       3         1          0

 

Career Highlights

  • Current Prime Minister of Pakistan
  • Captained Pakistan to the 1992 World Cup title
  • Tallied 3709 runs at an average of 33.41

Inzamam-ul-Haq is perhaps one of the most well-known and respected Pakistani cricketers of all time. Inzamam made his ODI debut in 1991 in a series against West Indies, where he delivered a good performance, scoring a half-century in one of the two matches he played. Inzamam was handpicked by Pakistani cricketing legend Imran Khan for the 1992 ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand. The relatively unknown player was disappointing at the start of the tournament. However, he started delivering crucial performances at the most important stages. He guided Pakistan to victory in the semi-finals by scoring 60 runs off just 37 balls. This was followed by another side-savings innings of 48 runs, leading to Pakistan’s maiden World Cup triumph.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Inzamam-ul-Haq

Born: March 3, 1970, Multan, Punjab

Major teams: Pakistan, Asia XI, Faisalabad, ICC World XI, ICL Pakistan XI, Lahore Badshahs, Multan, National Bank of Pakistan, Rawalpindi, United Bank Limited, Yorkshire

Playing role: Batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

 

ODI Career: Pakistan (1991-2007)

Mat Inns    NO Runs    HS Ave BF  SR  100s     50s  4s  6s     Ct  St

378     350     53  11739  137*    39.52   15812  74.24     10  83  971     144     113     0 

 

Career Highlights

  • Second batsman to score 10,000 runs in One-day Internationals
  • Won Allan Border medal in 2003.
  • 60-run innings from just 37 balls guided Pakistan to 1992 Cricket World Cup final.  
  • 2nd batsman to score 10,000 runs in ODIs
  • Once held record for most half-centuries in ODIs (83)
  • Pakistan’s highest run-scorer in ODIs (11,739)
  • Scored 10 ODI centuries      

Saeed Anwar almost never hit a ball in anger, though the 938 boundaries and 97 sixes he struck over the course of his 14-year career would suggest otherwise. But in Anwar, grace and timing were equal to great power. The batsman was capable of destroying most bowling attacks the world had to offer at the time and the margin of error was very small for anyone facing the Pakistani. Anwar’s 194 was once the highest ODI score ever achieved until Sachin Tendulkar put paid to the record. Anwar’s foot movements were the picture of efficiency, little shifts of weight giving him the leverage to punish anything slightly offline. His favourite shots meant cover fielders had a lot of work to do recovering balls from the boundary, but they could at least forget about cutting them off, so good was the placement Anwar showed throughout his career.

   

Career Statistics

Full name: Saeed Anwar

Born: September 6, 1968, Karachi, Sind

Major teams: Pakistan, Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan, Karachi, Lahore, United Bank Limited

Playing role: Opening batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

 

ODI Career: Pakistan (1989-2003)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave      BF          SR        100s     50s    4s          6s     

247     244      19     8824      194    39.21   10938     80.67     20          43     938        97

 

Career Highlights

  • Pakistan's leading century-maker in ODIs (20)
  • Broke VIV Richards 13-y-o ODI record score in amassing 194
  • Most runs for Pakistan (12,113)
  • Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1997

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts remains hopeful a squad will travel to England for a limited-overs tour in September.

The coronavirus pandemic has put the English season on hold until at least July 1, yet the England and Wales Cricket Board is still working on proposals to stage international games on home soil in 2020.

A scheduled Test series with West Indies in June had to be postponed but could still be part of a rearranged fixture list, with action potentially getting under way in early July.

Pakistan could also still visit to play Tests and Twenty20 games, while Roberts declared there is "some chance" Australia will make the trip - so long as there are no health risks - later than originally planned.

England were due to take on their Ashes rivals in a trio of T20 fixtures and a three-match ODI series in July.

"I think there's some chance we could send a team over," Roberts told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

"Obviously we won't jeopardise the safety of the players, but the best test of that is the West Indian and Pakistan tours of England before we're due to tour. We hope they go off without a hitch."

Wasim Khan, chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board, told Sky Sports' Cricket Show that they intend to pick a 25-man squad for a tour that will see fixtures staged at biosecure venues.

"We are trying to get to England early July so that we can get the quarantine done," Khan said.

"If we can practise during that time then great, if not then it gives us just under three weeks to practise.

"We are told there are going to be two venues (to stage matches). We have not been told which the two venues are. We are also told there is going to be a third venue, which is going to be our base while we are in England."

There is a strong cricket theme running through sporting history on May 21 – as well as an unforgettable outing for Manchester United.

Saeed Anwar dazzled during a stunning innings for Pakistan that put him in the one-day record books, while the date is also notable in the history of Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians.

As for United, they were crowned champions of Europe for a third time in their history, but only after battling back from the brink to beat familiar foes in a dramatic final.

 

1997 – Anwar powers Pakistan with record-breaking knock

Anwar set an ODI record as he thrashed India's attack around Chennai, the opener making 194 from just 146 deliveries.

The left-hander hit 22 fours and five sixes – including three in a row off leg-spinner Anil Kumble – as he contributed the majority of Pakistan's final total of 327-5 in the Independence Cup fixture. The next highest score in the innings? 39.

Sachin Tendulkar eventually dismissed the centurion with the score on 297, though he made just four with the bat in India's unsuccessful reply. Despite a hundred for Rahul Dravid, they were bowled out for 292 to lose by 35 runs.

Anwar sat at the top of the highest scores list alone for 12 years until Zimbabwe's Charles Coventry matched his effort. However, in February 2010, Tendulkar set a new benchmark when he became the first batsman to score a double century in a one-dayer, doing so against South Africa.

2008 – Red Devils hit the spot to be crowned European champions

Moscow staged an all-Premier League final with a dramatic twist, with Chelsea missing their chance before United sealed glory.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the opening goal for the Red Devils when he headed past Petr Cech, but Chelsea levelled before the break when Frank Lampard reacted quickly to a deflection to score.

There were no further goals in the remainder of the 90 minutes or extra time, meaning spot-kicks were required. Ronaldo was surprisingly the first to miss, meaning John Terry had the chance to seal victory with the Blues' fifth effort.

Yet the Chelsea skipper crucially slipped and lost his footing at the point of contact, sending his strike against a post. Into sudden-death kicks it went and, with the score at 6-5, Edwin van der Sar guessed correctly to deny Nicolas Anelka and secure the trophy in the Russian capital.

2017 – Johnson does just enough as Mumbai win again

Mumbai Indians claimed a third IPL title thanks to a thrilling one-run victory over the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant in Hyderabad.

The eventual champions slipped to 65-5 in their innings but Krunal Pandya led a lower-order recovery, making 47 to get his side up to 129-8. Pune reached 98-2 in reply but despite a half-century from Steve Smith, came up agonisingly short.

After a late collapse left them needing 11 off the last over, they lost two wickets off as many deliveries at the start as Mitchell Johnson held his nerve with the game – and the trophy – on the line.

Needing four off the final ball to win (and three to tie to force a Super Over), Dan Christian was only able to pick up two as Washington Sundar was run out.

There has never been a greater batsman out of Pakistan than Javed Miandad. The former Pakistan captain was an obvious talent even as a teenager, becoming the youngest man at 19 to score a Test double hundred. But Miandad’s career was remembered, perhaps too often for those years when his best was behind him, the Pakistani great playing for 17 years in Tests and a further two years in ODIs.

But when he was good, there was nobody better. Miandad achieved some remarkable things, like his back-to-back hundreds in the West Indies on the 1987-88 tour and big double hundreds against India and England.

Miandad’s greatest ability was to find runs everywhere. He could never be pinned down, using the angles, he was adept at dropping balls into gaps and sauntering off for a single. A bowler never got the chance to work on a plan for Miandad because he would not stay put for long enough.

But that isn’t to say Miandad didn’t have all the shots. He did. He cut the ball beautifully and powerfully. He was one of the first to produce the reverse sweep with any regularity and if you bowled badly to him, your figures would tell. He learned how to play on the hard, bouncy surfaces in Australia and in England’s arenas of swing in time, becoming one of the world’s best batsmen, anywhere.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Mohammad Javed Miandad Khan

Born: June 12, 1957, Karachi, Sind

Major teams: Pakistan, Glamorgan, Habib Bank Limited, Karachi, Sind, Sussex

Playing role: Batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Legbreak googly

 

Test Career: Pakistan (1976-1993)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave     100s     50s   

124      189     21     8832     280*   52.57      23      43    

 

Career Highlights

  • Scored 8832 runs at an average of 52.57
  • Hit 23 Test hundreds and 43 half-centuries
  • Youngest player to score a double century in Tests (19 years & 140 days)

Younis Khan makes up the group under which you could put the headline, modern greats.

Younis started his Test career brightly, scoring a century on debut, but that didn’t make him an instant hit. Unlike many Asian batsmen, Younis was not fluent, a strong bottom hand making for muscular efforts rather than the silky timing that comes with the top-hand dominant players from Asia, but he has still managed innings to remember.

In Bangalore, for instance, Younis scored 267 and 80 not out in one match, a match that needed the knocks if Pakistan were to beat India. Younis can also count himself as one of the few cricketers to boast a triple century. While that triple came on a flat track, it was not without pressure, as Younis had to come out against Sri Lanka late on day two, all while staring into the barrel of a massive total.

There has been much turmoil surrounding Younis with a captaincy steeped in conflict, a sacking, and a refusal of the post when offered to him a second time. Still, as much fell apart around him, he continued to score, turning inward to a resolve that led to a brilliant career with the bat.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Mohammad Younis Khan

Born: November 29, 1977, Mardan, North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)

Major teams: Pakistan, Habib Bank Limited, Nottinghamshire, Peshawar Cricket Association, Rajasthan Royals, South Australia, Surrey, Warwickshire, Yorkshire

Playing role: Middle-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium, Legbreak

 

Test Career: Pakistan (2000-2017)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave        BF       SR       100s    50s

118      213     19     10099    313    52.05    19375   52.12      34      33  

  

Career Highlights

  • 1st Pakistani to score 10-thousand runs in Tests
  • Most centuries by a Pakistani in Tests (34)
  • First batsman in history to score five centuries in fourth innings
  • Scored six double centuries in Tests
  • Scored 10, 099 runs at 52.05

Ireland will not play an international at home in 2020 after limited-overs games against New Zealand and Pakistan were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Black Caps were scheduled to visit in June and early July, playing a trio of Twenty20 fixtures in Bready before a three-match one-day series at Stormont.

A further two T20 contests were due to take place against Pakistan, listed for July 12 and 14 in Malahide, but those will also not go ahead as originally planned.

The latest update from Cricket Ireland follows on from the cancellation of the three ODIs against Bangladesh in May, though chief executive Warren Deutrom revealed there was no other option in the face of an ongoing global health crisis.

"We deeply regret that we can’t provide any international cricket at home to our fans this year, but we were always up against it with our entire home international programme coming in the first half of the season,” Deutrom said in a statement.

"We want to extend once again our sincere thanks to all those that worked so hard to facilitate what would have been 15 matches across seven venues over three months in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and England.”

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White remains hopeful the tour can be rearranged for a later date, adding: “I know our players, support staff and Black Caps fans were very much looking forward to the upcoming visit and are disappointed this decision needed to be taken."

Ireland are also set to travel to England for three one-dayers in September. It is possible that series is moved from the original dates, Cricket Ireland confirmed, with discussions still ongoing.

England players will be able to undertake individual training sessions from next week ahead of a potential resumption of international cricket in the country.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced skills-based sessions can be carried out at various county grounds while behind closed doors, thereby adhering to distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bowlers will be the first to return, doing so on a staggered basis with a coach, physio and - where possible - a strength and conditioning coach in attendance.

Both players and staff will have their temperatures checked prior to the training sessions, while dressing rooms and other facilities at the venues being used will be closed.

After a two-week period for the bowlers, batsmen and wicketkeepers will start their individual programmes as the ECB begins working towards playing fixtures during the English season.

"These are the first steps for players return to training ahead of international cricket potentially resuming later this summer," Ashley Giles, managing director of the England team, said.

"The safety of players, staff and our community is our first priority throughout this protocol. We are committed to adhering to public health guidelines and government directives intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"To be clear, we will only train and potentially play cricket behind closed doors if we know it is absolutely safe to do so and is fully supported by the Government.

"We are in constant dialogue with players, coaches and counties to determine what is possible during this period and what facilities will be available to us.

"We are thankful that we have a united front across all of cricket’s stakeholders to prepare the players in a safe and secure environment."

England's Test series with West Indies, originally scheduled for June, was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, while Australia, Pakistan and Ireland are still due to visit this year.

The England women's squad is expected to be able to resume training in late June, while the ECB is continuing to work with the 18 first-class counties to "ascertain when a 'back-to- training' protocol can be rolled out" for the domestic game.

Wasim Akram is the best left-arm fast bowler of all time. He has mastered all types of deliveries, slower balls, inswingers, outswingers, seaming in, seaming out, he could do it all at will it seemed. On some occasions he would swing it one way, then seam it another, leaving batsmen in a quandary about what to do. To top it off, Akram had a vicious bouncer that came from imperceptible extra effort.

Jimmy Adams, a stodgy defensive player from the West Indies, who at one time was the world’s best Test batsman, said Akram was the most difficult bowler he has ever had to navigate, rating an unbeaten 48 he scored against him in a match where the Pakistani pacer took 11 wickets on his way to 398, as the best he’s ever played.

Akram also formed one of the most dangerous Test duos in the history of the game with a certain Waqar Younis and it is no surprise that the latter would make a list like this as well.

The two would open with terrifying spells, then as the ball got older would return to unleash reverse swing on their opponents. Together, the two would take 559 wickets in just 61 Tests, just as dangerous, if not more so than the great West Indies pairing of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose which yielded 421 in 49. Akram, Imran Khan, and Younis are the only three Pakistani bowlers to take more than 350 wickets in Test cricket.

Akram’s only failing may have come with the bat. He was the natural successor to Khan but though he proved to be just a good a fast bowler, his average of 22.64 is well below what his talent would suggest.

Akram has three Test centuries and seven 50s in his 104 matches, with a best of 257 not out against Zimbabwe in Sheikhupura.

  

Career Statistics

Full name: Wasim Akram

Born: June 3, 1966, Lahore, Punjab

Major teams: Pakistan, Hampshire, Lahore, Lancashire, Pakistan Automobiles Corporation, Pakistan International Airlines

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Left-arm fast

 

 

Test Career: Pakistan (1985-2002)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs    Wkts    BBI        BBM        Ave      Econ   SR      4w     5w      10w

104     181     22627    9779      414      7/119    11/110     23.62    2.59    54.6     20      25        5

 

Career Highlights

  • Most wickets by a left arm fast bowler in Tests (414)
  • Joint 3rd most Man of the Match Awards (17)
  • Averaged 23.62
  • Highest score as a number 8 in Tests (257)

Babar Azam has been confirmed as Pakistan's new one-day captain, while Azhar Ali will remain in charge of the Test team.

Batsman Babar is to lead his country in white-ball cricket for the 2020-21 season, the Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed on Wednesday when announcing the new list of central contracts for the upcoming campaign, which begins on July 1.

The 25-year-old averages 54.17 in his 50-over career for Pakistan and sits third in the International Cricket Council’s batsmen rankings, behind India duo Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.

He had already replaced Sarfraz Ahmed in charge of the Twenty20 side but will now be skipper in the ODI format too, though it is unclear when Pakistan will next be in action.

A one-day tour to the Netherlands was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning they may not play a 50-over fixture until they take on South Africa in October.

Ali, meanwhile, is to continue in the Test job, with Pakistan scheduled to play a three-match series against England during a tour that also includes a trio of T20 games.

"I want to congratulate Azhar Ali and Babar Azam for getting captaincy extensions," Misbah-ul-Haq, chief selector and head coach, said. "This is absolutely the right decision as they also require certainty and clarity on their future roles.

"I am sure they will now start looking to the future and start planning so that they can build sides that can perform at the expected levels."

Meanwhile, Naseem Shah and Iftikhar Ahmad were the two new additions to receive central contracts – but Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz were all absent from the 18-man list.

Amir and Wahab "remain in contention", however, as Misbah is hopeful the experienced duo can help aid the development of Pakistan's up-and-coming fast bowlers.

Misbah said: "The selectors have made the tough decisions to leave out Amir, Hasan and Wahab but considering Hasan missed most of the season due to an injury and Amir and Wahab decided to focus on white-ball cricket, this was the right move.

"However, Amir and Wahab are senior and experienced bowlers and they remain in contention as we believe they can still contribute to the Pakistan men’s cricket team and also mentor our young battery of fast bowlers."

Jimmy Adams never made our Jamaican BestXI West Indies Championship team and that may be the most unfortunate omission of the lot, with others like Alfred Valentine, Nehemiah Perry, Roy Gilchrist, and Alan Rae also missing the cut.

However, there is no doubt that Jimmy is one of the finest competitors the West Indies has produced and his efforts slowed a degradation in the region’s cricketing fortunes in no uncertain terms.

On May 29, 2000, on the final day of a Test series against Pakistan in Antigua, visiting captain Moin Khan stood on the verge of history.

Moin was about to be the first Pakistan captain to win a series in the Caribbean. But Jimmy, the captain of the West Indies at the time, stood in his way.

Pakistan would eventually earn a series victory in the Caribbean, the hosts capitulating almost 20 years later, but on that day, Jimmy was determined not to suffer the ignominy of losing at home.

The three-Test series was tied at 0-0, making the final Test very much a final.

Pakistan had been sent into bat on the first day but had been bowled out early on the second morning for 269 on the back of Mohammad Yousuf’s unbeaten 103.

The West Indies hadn’t fared much better in their first innings, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s 89 and Jimmy’s 60 barely get them over the mark to be all out for 273. Jimmy had bat four hours for that 60, while Shiv’s defiance had lasted even longer, the Guyanese batsman holding out for five and a half hours.

I say holding out because Pakistani left-arm pacer, Wasim Akram, was in his element, taking 6-61 in that first innings to outdo Courtney Walsh’s 5-83 in the same stanza.

But Pakistan were in for more trouble in their second innings as the West Indies pairing of Curtley Ambrose (3-39) and Reon King (4-48), demicated the Pakistani lineup, restricting them to just 219. Inzamam-ul-Haq stood firm with a fighting 68 that included a pulled six through midwicket off Ambrose and Yousuf, who made 42.

Three days of the Test had elapsed and the West Indies had the two remaining to chase down 216 for victory. Seemed easy enough at the start, but on a wearing pitch and with masters of the art of bowling the reverse swing like Akram and Waqar Younis running in, who knows.

There was also the formidable spin threat of Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq as well as the dangerous, largely underrated Abdul Razzaq.

At the end of day four, the picture did not look any clearer, as Jimmy Adams on 15 would return on the final morning with the score on 144-4.

Openers Sherwin Campbell (6) and Adrian Griffith (23), had not given the middle order puch protection, but Wavell Hinds (63) and Shiv (31) had sought to restore some composure to the innings, but they too had fallen before the fourth day had ended, Akram the orchestrator of three of the four wickets.

Ramnaresh Sarwan was to enter the fray on the final morning and much was expected of him if the West Indies were to overhaul the 72 runs needed to win the match. A draw certainly wasn’t in question.

But Sarwan fell victim to the brilliant Akram, who snared his fourth wicket, getting the diminutive right-hander out leg before.

Ridley Jacobs then committed a sin early on the final morning, going run out for five. With Adams and the bowlers at the crease at 169-6, the West Indies were treading murky water.

Defeat was in the air, but so was Jimmy.

Franklyn Rose didn’t last long, waiting around for just 13 balls for his four runs, while Ambrose scored eight runs that included a six.

He was almost run out in the interim but it never mattered as Mushtaq would prove his undoing.

Things looked grim but the West Indies were getting ever closer.

Rose had gone at 177-7, and Sir Curtly had taken the Windies to 194-8.

King stayed around long enough for Jimmy to score a few runs and take the score to 197-9, but Akram struck again, bowling him all ends up as the pacer took an inelegant waft at a straight delivery.

Out came Courtney Walsh, who after his five-for in the first innings, and 1-39 from 20 miserly overs in the second, would not have expected to have more work to do, but he did.

The West Indies were still 19 runs adrift and nobody but nobody wanted to see Walsh, who had the unenviable record of not scoring on 36 occasions.

And Walsh could have, and likely should have been given out off the second ball he faced, as he was caught bat pad off the bowling of Mushtaq. Umpire Doug Cowie didn’t see it and there was no third umpire to plead Mushtaq’s case.

But Walsh would have to face more of Mushtaq because Jimmy was not letting him anywhere near Akram.

“When Walsh came in, I remember telling him that the only chance we had was for him not to face Wasim. He said fine, and that he would do the best he could against Saqlain or whoever else it was from the other end. I told him, "Look, either it will work or it won't work, but it's going to take time. I'm going to refuse runs because I'm going to try not to have you face Wasim," Jimmy recollected.

The crowd at the Antigua Recreation Ground gave Jimmy a hard time for refusing runs, booing and the like, but they never understood what he did and what he had the discipline to employ. Akram was a master and would not need too many deliveries to get rid of Walsh.

But calamity was never far away and Walsh and Jimmy ended up in the same crease during what should have been an easy run.

“I can't remember where the ball went. All I know is that Courtney was ball-watching. I just thought at some point he would actually look at me and run. I said to him, "Courtney, you've got longer legs than me, so you need to try and get up to the next end." And Courtney was telling me: "Well, I might have longer legs, but you are still quicker. So you give it your best shot."”

Fortunately, Mushtaq and Younis Khan conspired to miss the catch in the former’s case and throw poorly in the instance of the latter.

Adams, somewhere around 2pm on the final day, would dab a ball into the outfield with the scores tied and that would be the end of that.

Akram would end the game with 11 wickets, two short of 400, and Jimmy, in his second series as captain, was over the moon, scoring 60 and an unbeaten 48.

“For West Indies it was a good end to a very tight Test match. But I will never discuss that Test without paying tribute to Wasim. He is the best fast bowler I have ever played, not just in that Test, but in my career. I put more value on that 48 than probably most of my Test hundreds because of the situation, the pressure, the quality of the bowling,” Jimmy would say of the game years later.

Page 1 of 8
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.