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KARACHI: Present and past members of the Pakistan national cricket teams today joined to celebrate one of the most iconic and memorable moments in country’s cricket history – a 22-run victory over England in the final of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in front of more than 89,000 spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
While Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Nida Dar, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Younis Khan reflected on the impact of Melbourne win on their careers, members of the 1992 side Aamer Sohail, Aqib Javed and Mushtaq Ahmed shared their experiences and the champions mind-set with current members of the national teams.
The World Cup victory was the catalyst for future triumphs, including back-to-back ICC U19 Cricket World Cup titles in 2004 and 2006, ICC T20 World Cup 2009 trophy, lifting of the ICC Test Championship mace in 2016 and the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 victory at The Oval.
When Pakistan won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, it became only the second country after India to win all four ICC Majors – the World Cup, the T20 World Cup, Champions Trophy and the ICC Test Championship mace.
Younis Khan, who was 14 years old in 1992 and subsequently became the second Pakistan captain to win a major ICC event in 2009 before finishing as the most successful Test batsman, said: “The final of the 1992 World Cup is the only match of which I watched every ball. It was the month of Ramadan and I did not move from where I was sitting, even for Iftar[to break the fast]. I remember every ball of that match and it inspired me to win a trophy for my country and luckily Pakistan won the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup under my captaincy in 2009.
“The 1992 World Cup victory changed the landscape of Pakistan’s cricket and after that we dominated the 90s.”
Misbah-ul-Haq, who was then 17 years old and 24 years later lifted the ICC Test Championship mace, said: “It was an important milestone in our cricketing history and I remember that match. I was in FSc. We had to get up early in the morning to watch the matches and I have special memories of that event.
“That win inspired me to take up cricket. I used to play with tape ball before the 1992 win, but after it I started to play with the cricket ball. The way Javed Miandad and Imran Khan led the side and the way youngsters like Inzamam-ul-Haq, Wasim Akram and Aqib Javed rose to the occasion, I still remember everything as it is. Those moments became the shining light for me throughout my cricketing career and I applied them in my captaincy.”
Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was then a five-year-old but captained Pakistan to ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2006 and ICC Champions Trophy 2017 titles, said: “I was five when Pakistan won the World Cup and it is one of those moments which stay with you from the childhood. I started to play cricket after that win.
“I think it revived cricket in the country and it gave us the stars in Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed and Moin Khan who went on to become legends. That victory remains a huge motivation for us as after it we went on to win the Asia Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017. Such victories inspire the coming generations to push themselves.”
Mohammad Hafeez, a school-going 11-year-old in 1992 who went on to represent Pakistan in ICC events and was a member of the side that won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, said: “It remains a moment of great pride for every Pakistani and it influenced me into becoming a cricketer. I was only 11, such events inspire you as a kid and I salute those heroes who inspired me to take up the game.”
Nida Dar, Pakistan’s most successful bowler in Women’s T20Is who was five years old when Pakistan came from behind to win the title, said: “I was nearly five and we as a family used to sit together and watch cricket. There was a lot of happiness in my house and it was very special how my cousins celebrated the win. It made me realise that it is a huge thing to become a cricketer.
“It was at that moment that I decided that I will become an all-rounder and represent Pakistan. It is now that I realise that how much effort it takes to win such a big moment and how much strategy sessions and planning goes into it. It was a very special moment for the whole country.”
Meanwhile, members of the champion squad – Aamer Sohail, Aqib Javed and Mushtaq Ahmed – held mentoring sessions with the current crop of cricketers to provide insights about the successful journey. They furthered shared their thoughts on what it takes to develop a champion mind-set.
Aamer Sohail, who scored 326 runs in the tournament at 32.60, while speaking to Amad Butt, Asif Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Danish Aziz, Haider Ali, Imam-ul-Haq and Saud Shakeel, said: “Despite enduring some heavy losses we somehow stayed in the hunt. Before the do-or-die match against Australia, a meeting was called where each and every member of the squad including the junior ones were asked to contribute and identify the mistakes we were making.
“That meeting turned a corner for us and we never looked back. In cricket at times a lot of challenges are mental but I firmly feel that having a solid technique can help overcome lack of form, my message for all you youngsters is simple, make your technique as solid as you can and it will pull you through tough situations in your playing career.”
Aqib Javed, who took two for 27 in the final while speaking to Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf, said: “Lack of form is due to the creation of self-doubt, champions or people with champions’ mindset have the ability of overcoming their doubts. We were of course doubting ourselves because of our poor start, but our leader Imran Khan had no doubt that we will win the tournament. After our win against Australia, we gained momentum which helped us all the way to the final.
“My worst and most favourite memory of the tournament came in the space of two balls, in the semi-final against New Zealand, Mark Greatbatch hit me for a massive six and the ball rebounded of the stands and landed near my bowling mark. Next ball, I wanted to bounce him out but due to the short size of the boundaries at the Eden Park (Auckland) and fearing a top-edged six, I changed my plans almost in my delivery stride and bowled a slow off-spinner which I had never ball before in a match, the ball totally bamboozled Greatbatch and bowled him as he was deceived in the air and off the pitch, I was overjoyed and fondly remember the ball to date.”
Mushtaq Ahmed, who took three for 41 in the final while speaking to Nida Dar, Shadab Khan and Usman Qadir, said: “A champion’s mind does not give-up! We were down and out but our captain Imran Khan never had doubts about us or about us winning the tournament. He kept motivating us and through our hard work we changed our fortunes midway in the tournament and ended up making history.
“By the time the final was played, the entire team had become super confident. I was also extremely confident about my ability as I was bowling really well. Graeme Hick was England’s in-form batsman but I felt he was weak against leg-spin especially googlies. When he came into bat, I wanted to bowl at him and get him out. By the grace of Allah, everything went according to my plan as I dismissed him lbw with a sharp googly which he failed to read, that wicket gave us tremendous boost and pegged England back in their chase.
“The 1992 World Cup reminds us that we should never give-up, fight till the very end and have confidence in our ability which comes with sincerity, hard work and practice and a never-say-die attitude.”