The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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- Some of Javed Miandad’s very best

Cutting Edge: My Autobiography By Javed Miandad, Oxford, Rs 495

That the author’s cricketing pedigree is crème de la crème in the history of cricket was never in doubt. The foremost batsman of Pakistan for over twenty five years, captain and coach of the national team several times over, Javed Miandad keeps select company indeed. Only seven other batsmen — two Australians, three Englishmen, one West Indian and one Indian, (yes, you read it right !) — have averaged over 52 and scored over 8,000 test runs in the history of cricket. And how about scoring the highest number of double centuries in tests after Bradman and Hammond' Did you know Miandad is the only cricketer ever to average 50 or more in tests throughout his entire career'

This highly readable book, co-authored by (read “as told to”) Saad Shafqat, is written in the same combative style in which Miandad played his cricket. You will not find him ducking any of the contentious issues which have plagued Pakistan cricket over the years. From doling out on-the-field advices to Imran Khan — or any of the numerous captains he played under — which were invariably implemented with great success, to naming the culprits, otherwise known as teammates, who were responsible for the numerous “revolts” against his captaincy over the years, this book has it all.

Miandad’s biggest scorn is reserved for Imran Khan and an entire chapter is devoted to how he was spitefully robbed of a triple hundred, overtaking the then magic figure of Sobers’s 365 not out. The occasion was the fourth test in January 1983 against (who else') India. Pakistan were two-nil ahead in the six test series and batting first. Miandad was 280 not out halfway at the drinks interval in the pre-lunch session on the third day when Imran declared, leaving him high and dry! To denigrate his captain he cites Gavaskar, allegedly his ally, stating “no other captain has done what Imran did that day”.

And in case you wish to refresh your memory about the 1986 Australasia Cup final at Sharjah, replete with Miandad heroics and his last ball six off a Chetan Sharma full toss, let me assure you it is there in all its glory. Ball by ball, the last eighteen of that miserable match. If you are not too familiar with the Bangalore test of 1986-87 series, when Sunnybhai hit a memorable 96 on a wicket turning square, you will be able to read it too in great detail because of the final result. The1992 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand which Pakistan won, rightly receives its pride of place. The surreal set of results involving other teams, which “were destined to happen” to enable Pakistan enter the semi-final, makes for interesting reading.

With regard to Imran’s highly criticized post-final speech in which he forgot to thank his teammates, Miandad sympathizes with his captain and in his inimitable style declares, “His (Imran’s) public-speaking skills were modest to begin with...”. The furore in Pakistan over his own retirement from test cricket and subsequent recall spans far too many pages to retain readers’ interest. Not so his in, out and in again as coach of the national team, involving deceit and the Machiavellian cunning of others, if you go along with the author.

The chapter, “Some of the Very Best”, in which the reader rightly expects Miandad to offer meaningful insights into the handful of truly greats he had played with or against in his test career, will prove to be hugely disappointing as the author has included a lot of good players with the truly greats, and in the process bracketed Pakistani chalk with the choicest of cheeses from around the world.

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