Amost 30 years ago, Javed Miandad’s gigantic six made him Indian cricket’s most wanted. Today he wants India to recognise him as a cricketer first rather than a relative of Dawood
2/2/2016 2:47:37 PM
|written By : Rajdeep Sardesai|
One ball to go, four to get. Millions on either side of the Line of Control glued to their television sets, Ram and Allah being invoked in parallel worlds, cricket fans waiting to erupt in lavas of emotion. On strike, Javed Miandad, a warrior of many India-Pakistan battles. Bowling to him, Chetan Sharma, a young fast bowler, probably a shade quicker than expected for a relatively short man. This was 1986: you didn't expect sixes to be hit for fun, not even in the desert of Sharjah.
The next few seconds were a blur. A low full toss was smoked over square leg: a cathartic moment that would win Miandad many cash prizes and define the India-Pakistan rivalry for several years. In the gloom around me, I clenched my fists and let out a shriek: "He has done it, the guy has bloody well done it!" While my friends were moaning, I wore an almost self-congratulatory grin, as if I had half-expected the seemingly impossible from a cricketer we loved to hate.
A little over a year later, I found myself in England playing for Combined Universities against the Pakistanis, my presence more a reflection of the declining standards of varsity cricket than any recognition of my talent. The thought of playing against Miandad was exciting. But when the Pakistan team bus arrived in Oxford, he was missing. He had chosen to stay back in London to rest rather than make the trip and compete with struggling undergraduates. I made my disappointment known to a Pakistani official. He retorted, "Haven't you Indians grown sick and tired of watching him bat!"
Historian Ramachandra Guha has a delightful Miandad story to share. India was playing Pakistan in a tense World Cup quarter-final in Bangalore in 1996. As the run rate climbed, Miandad tried to take a non-existent single and was run out. It was his last international match and as he left the ground, Guha got up to cheer him. "What are you applauding him for?" asked the man in the next seat. "Because he is a great player and we may never see him play again!" was Guha's response. Pat came the sharp reply: "Thank God I will never have to see that bastard play again!"