March 25, 1992 Remembered!!

By Tayyab Balagamwala

It was 17 years ago on a beautiful evening of March 25th when Imran Khan’s cornered tigers rose to the highest honor possible in the game of cricket by winning a great game and lifting the coveted Waterball Crystal trophy which conferred the title of World Champions on them in front of 87182 people present at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as well as billions of people tuned to the television set.

The Pakistani nation was ecstatic and it meant the world to them. I remember venturing out immediately holding the Pakistani flag and the crowds on the roads were enormous with people dancing and celebrating like crazy.

What made the win special was that Pakistan had literally risen like a cornered tiger and belied all expectations. They were almost kicked out of the tournament but a rain caused draw against england in which the team had been bundled out for a mere 74 granted them a crucial point which helped them qualify for the semi finals. Of course hosts Australia winning over west indies in the last round robin game was helpful as Pakistan’s run rate was terrible and in case of a tie on points with the Windies, they would not have qualified. It was God’s gift to Pakistan when they qualified for the semis and they never looked back from there onwards. The rise of a star Inzamam ul Haq in the semi finals when he gripped victory from the clutches of the New Zealand team followed by remarkable performances by wasim Akram, jawed Miandad and Imran Khan in the final meant Pakistan had achieved what had been long expected from them over the last decade or so.

What is even more intriguing is that this 1992 team was not the best of teams Pakistan has ever produced. In the 1975 and 1979 world cups, Pakistan had the likes of asif iqbal, Imran Khan, Sarfaraz Nawaz, Javed Miandad and Zaheer Abbas but couldnt win the world cup. In 1987, Pakistan were favorites to win the world cup but lost in a semi final by 18 runs when steve waugh bashed salim jaffer to all corners of the park. In 1996, Pakistan was perhaps at its strongest but a comical transfer of captaincy to aamir sohail in the quarter finals instead of to javed miandad or waqar younis saw pakistan losing out when they should have won easily. The 1999 team was the best so far with the likes of wasim, waqar, abdur razaq, shoaib, saqlain at their prime. However, what happened in the final is not even worth writing except for maybe the brilliance of shane warne in his bowling and a splendid catch by mark waugh of pakistan’s wall, mr. wajahatullah wasti. 2003 and 2007 are perhaps best forgotten and not even worth mentioning except for a mention for Bob Woolmer who proved himself to be a true patriot and died of shame after Pakistan lost the match against ireland. Anyways compare the team of 1992 to the Pakistani teams of other tournaments and what you have is a stark disparity in strength of the team in other years as compared to 1992. Just a very simple difference is that in 1992 Pakistan’s 4th bowler was Iqbal sikandar, an unheard of spinner and to top it all 5th bowler was ejaz ahmed, who was included primarily as a batsman. Anyways, they say that luck favors the brave and in 1992 Pakistan proved themselves as worthy competitors and true champions by peaking at the right instance.

unfortunately, pakistan’s luck has run out in world cups since the 1992 world cup. Some blame it on pcb, some on the captains, others on match fixing and a few on luck going bad. Regardless of what the situation is or the real reason is and regardless of the current state of affairs of the pakistan cricket team, we have in our history a golden day which must be celebrated and cherished for generations to come!!!… and the lesson to learn from that victory is that every cloud has a silver lining so despair not because the pakistani team shall rise again and we shall win again and the trophy shall be ours again!!… someday!!

  1. It’s amazing how these cricketing memories mean so much to us all. As an England fan I will never forgot Vaughan’s team of 2004 parading the Wisden Trophy around the Oval after winning their 7th consecutive Test.I hope Pakistan can shine in the upcoming T20 world cup – it would be fitting memory to the policemen who died in Lahore.

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