Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Paki Bad Boys

Over at Cricinfo I just read a list of XI cricket bad boys according to Martin Williamson. He had one earlier in January as well.

Basically, Martin Williamson has put together 22 bad boys of cricket including teams and individuals who have been up to no good such as Botham and cannabis, Gibbs and match fixing, packer's rebels, Warne and drugs, other match fixers, and a whole lot more.

Even though Martin Williamson has covered a lot, I think he has missed out on some more interesting bad boys of cricket from Pakistan. I cover them here.

(Note: some of these may have been reported, while some are from first hand information available to the author).

The Carribean Rum
Starring: Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Mustaq Ahmed, Aqib Javed
On the eve of the first test match between Pakistan and the West Indies during Pakistan's tour of 1993, Pakistan's bowling attack was held up by the Grenada police at a beach. They were caught with rum, marijuana, and 2 suspicious looking females. The police held them on charges of marijuana possession and the 4 spent a night in jail as the first test was pushed ahead by a day. The incident was widely reported and the Pakistani press initiated a religious attack on them. Wasim and Waqar were the captain and vice captain of the team.

Son of a Pitch
Starring: Aamir Sohail
Back in the late 80s the Pakistan U19 or the Pakistan A team was on a tour of Zimbabwe. The XI for the next morning had been announced by the captain after a practice session and Aamir Sohail was not in it. When the teams turned up at the ground for the match they found that the pitch had been dug up and play was not possible. It was later found out that Aamir Sohail had paid the ground a visit the night before and dug it up because he was not in the playing XI.

Canadian Potatoes
Starring: Inzamam Ul Haq
By now a famous incident that took place in Toronto during one of the Sahara Cup tournaments between Pakistan and India. There was a spectator in the crowd with a mega phone chanting "aloo, aloo, aloo" (potato, potato, potato) at Inzamam every time the ball came to him. At a later stage during the match, Inzamam who had been fielding in the covers moved to 3rd man close to where the spectator was. As the over ended the 12th man - Mohammad Hussain, Pakistan's former offspinner walked around the boundary line with a bat. He handed the bat to Inzi who jumped into the crowd and threatened to beat up the man with the mega phone. He took a few swipes but missed as the security held him at the right moment. For once I would say, thank God Inzi did not connect - if he had he would have been serving time for murder. Instead he got suspended for a few matches.

Love in the Air
Starring: Shahid Afridi
The Pakistan team was flying back from Sri Lanka after a tour in the late 90s. In the flight, Shahid Afridi decided that he was in love with this girl sitting across the aisle. He walked up to her and declared his undying love only to see the girl's brother walk up and punch Afridi in the face. The Pakistani players held Afridi just in time otherwise the protective brother would have had his face disfigured. Recently in a TV interview Afridi was questioned about the incident and his reply was: "Today I am a father of 2, but back in the day I used to fall in love with every beautiful girl". Its funnier when he said it in urdu: "aaj to 2 bachon ka baap hu lekin jawaani ke dino me jo khubsoorat chehra dekhta tha, usse pyar ho jata tha".

Rocked at the Sun Fort
Starring: Hasan Raza, Atique Uz Zaman
The setting was the Sun Fort hotel in Lahore, the occasion was Pakistan team's camp at the Gaddafi stadium, the purpose was training for Pakistan's tour of England in 2001, and the incident was getting caught with call girls. Javed Miandad, the Pakistan coach at the time, caught Hasan Raza and Atique Uz Zaman with call girls in their hotel rooms. The 3 players were suspended for a certain period of time. The newspapers were full of religous attacks yet again. It was later reported that a hotel staff member had told Javed Miandad that some girls were visiting the players' rooms.

High on the Highway
Starring: Hasan Raza, Taufeeq Umar, Misbah ul Haq, Zulqarnain Haider
Drunk driving and carrying alcohol without a license is a grave offense in the UAE. Cars and licenses are confiscated and the guilty are put behind bars. The law here is quite strict.

The Eurasia Cup in 2006 was played in Abu Dhabi and involved the A sides from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and the international teams of UAE, Netherlands, and Ireland. Pakistan A defeated the lankans in their last group game and had a day off before the final against India A - availing the day off the 4 Paki players left for Dubai from Abu Dhabi around mid night. They were on their way back at 6am when the police hauled their car over for speeding. The driver was a local Pakistani friend of the players who was reeking of alcohol. On checking the boot of the car, the Dubai police found cans of beer and took the 4 players and the driver to jail. The players were only released on the insistence of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council and other top officials but not before 8pm on the eve of the final of the tournament.

Hasan Raza scored a match winning unbeaten 106 and shared a 4th wicket partnership of 174 with Misbah who scored 73 to lead Pakistan A to a 6 wicket win in the final the next morning. Taufeeq Umar gave them a solid start with a run a ball 40.

Casino Royale
Starring: Ijaz Ahmed
The 1999 World Cup final was to start at around 10am London time. The players woke up at around 7am to see Ijaz Ahmed walking into the hotel. When questioned he admitted that he was out all night gambling at some casino. Strangely enough he played the final and was let off scot free.

Match Fixers
Starring: Pakistan
There were too many players involved in this to list them down here and its a chapter that I hope remains closed in Pakistan despite Shoaib Akhtar coming out with disturbing facts. I know it was prevalent throughout the 90s and early 2000s, I hope to believe that after the 2003WC no player was involved in it, but I also know that its difficult to rid this menace off Pakistan when boys at the mere age of 16-17 are offered tens of thousands of Rs. back home to perform poorly for their clubs, departments, and regional teams.

Unfortunately, Pakistan will always have the image of "only bad boys play cricket" and their players will keep getting involved in controversies around the world. At the same time we are fortunate enough to have such intriguing characters playing cricket in Pakistan that we will continue to be entertained by them on and off the field.

None of them though reaches the heights of the bad boy image that Shoaib Akhtar has been able to create for himself. Or for that matter Shane Warne. who do you reckon is the bigger one? Warne or Shoaib? Or does Sir Ian Botham go above them?

Make your pitch on this post...



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15 Pitched:

  1. Ottayan said...
     

    W.G.Grace.

  2. Q said...
     

    Sorry for my ignorance Ott but Im not aware of WG's bad boy ways...

    How can anyone with a beard that long be bad?

  3. Anonymous said...
     

    btw Q, the guy who gave inzi the bat at the boundary was sadda champ mohadhussaeiyn!!
    great ambassadors these people are - just recently read Steve Waughs biography - and it's amazing the pride and passion with which he'd wear the baggy green. same goes for dravid. i dont think anyone after imran/javed have done that for pakistan. what a shame!!

  4. John said...
     

    excellent post.

  5. Cricket Guru said...
     

    Good post. I will bookmark this one.

    Did you forget the brawl just before the start of 2003 WC in South Africa?

  6. Obaid said...
     

    yes, great post Q! I also remember some incident where some Pakistani cricketer got beaten up outside a night club in Australia

  7. Q said...
     

    Anon - yes ur right it was Mohd. Hussain and not Mushtaq Ahmed.

  8. Q said...
     

    John and Cricket Guru - Thanks.

    CG are you talking about the night club brawl? That was during Pakistan's tour to South Africa at the end of 2002, not before the WC if I remember correctly. I think Saqlain Mushtaq was inolved in that but I don't remember exactly. I'll check up on this.

    Obaid, your talking about the same thing as CG - it was a night club brawl in SA and not Australia.

  9. Tazeen Javed said...
      This comment has been removed by the author.
  10. Q said...
     

    Thanks for the appreciation Tazeen. I emailed you but its been bouncing back.

  11. Atif said...
     

    Excellent post !

    i'm surprised to learn the Test match in WI was moved a day ahead while our bowling attack was being bailed out?

  12. Q said...
     

    Atif: Thanks for the comment and welcome to Well Pitched.

    It happened. Our pace attack, 2 of whom were captain and vice captain on the tour as well, were bailed out on the eve of the test, and our board requested the WICB to postpone the test by a day so that Wasim, Waqar, Aqib, and Mushy could recover from the "trauma".

  13. Husha said...
     

    Haha awesome article! Poor Inzi!

  14. Q said...
     

    Hey Husha,

    Just wondering how u stumbled upon this old piece?

  15. Husha said...
     

    Hey Q, I'm not sure. I think Google

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