Z is for (Z)aheer Abbas the Pakistani who was the nemesis of Indian spinners during the eighties – #BlogchatterAtoZ #AtoZChallenge 2019

Z is for (Z)aheer Abbas the Pakistani who was the nemesis of the Indian spinners during the eighties – #BlogchatterAtoZ #AtoZChallenge 2019

Today I am going to bring you the tale of a cricketer who was a simply superlative batsman of the eighties and was the nemesis of the famed Indian spinners. Most people of this generation would not be aware of this famous Pakistani, but I still remember how he used to hit bowlers all over the field in the eighties and he was simply a treat to watch when in full flow. So for the letter Z, it is going to be none other than the Pakistani batting maestro Syed Zaheer Abbas Kirmani.

Zaheer Abbas was born on 24, July 1947. He belonged to that rare breed of professional cricketers who wore spectacles. Zaheer made his Test match debut in 1969. In his very second Test match, he proved his mettle by scoring 274 against England. This is still the fourth-ever highest score by a Pakistani batsman. This was the first of his four Test double-centuries. Younis Khan and Javed Miandad are the only other batsmen from Pakistan who have scored a greater number of double centuries. 

The last of Zaheer’s double-hundreds was was an innings of 215 scored against India in 1983. This was the first of three centuries in consecutive Tests, and also his hundredth first-class century. Zaheer Abbas and Geoffrey Boycott are the only two batsmen to have scored their hundredth first-class centuries in a Test match. In 1982/1983, Zaheer Abbas became the first batsman to score three consecutive hundreds in one-day internationals. He was such a skilled and brilliant batsman that he was sometimes referred to as the ‘the Asian Bradman’, and is regarded as one of the finest batsmen in the history of cricket.

In addition to other epithets, he was also, fondly called the “Run Machine”. He was also very successful in first-class cricket. He was the first Asian batsman to score one hundred first-class centuries. He played county cricket in England and had a long stint with Gloucestershire. He joined Gloucestershire in 1972 and played for the county for thirteen years. 

During this time he scored more than a thousand runs in the majority of the thirteen seasons he played for them. He also made over two thousand runs in a single season on two occasions (1976 and 1981) for the club. During his stint with Gloucestershire, he played 206 first-class games, scoring over 16,000 runs. He averaged 49.79, hitting 49 centuries and 76 fifties. 

Zaheer Abbas is the only player to have ever scored a century and double century in a first-class match four times and in all these innings he was unbeaten. Sunil Gavaskar often says of Zaheer, ‘He was the anathema of the Indian spinners during the eighties’. He also once said while commentating, that the Indian players would often say to Zaheer, “Zaheer Ab-bas karo”, which translated means “Zaheer, please, stop it now”.

Abbas was appointed the captain of the Pakistani team in 1981 and 1984. He retired from international cricket in 1985. He has also officiated as a match referee in one Test match and three ODI matches. He has also worked as the manager of the Pakistani national team. In 2015 he was appointed ICC president. He was the third cricketer after Colin Cowdrey and Clyde Walcott, to be appointed to this post.

Zaheer Abbas scored 346 runs in a 4 match ODI series in 1982 which is the record for the most number of runs by any batsman in a 4 match ODI series. Overall Zaheer Abbas played 78 tests and scored 5,062 runs at an average of 44.79 with 12 centuries and 20 fifties. He has also taken 3 wickets. He has played 62 ODIs and scored 2,572 runs at an average of 47.62 with 7 centuries and 13 fifties. An enviable record indeed.

With that, we come to the end of the A to Z blogging challenge and this series on sportspersons. I hope you enjoyed reading about the sporting greats and their tales.  I would like to add a note here. This series was intended to bring out sportspersons of all hues. Consequently, there are some names included that are unorthodox. These unorthodox choices ware of those sportspersons who in my opinion were extremely skilled but did not shine to their true potential for several reasons. I hope I have done justice to this series and have highlighted people who are of interest.

Tags – #BlogchatterAtoZ 2019 #AtoZChallenge 2019

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