T20 World Cup: Pakistan’s 1992 hero Ramiz Raja reveals Imran Khan’s speech to the team

In the run-up to the final at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Raja, who was part of the 1992 team, echoed the charismatic Imran Khan’s “short” pep talk



by

James Jose

Published: Sun 13 Nov 2022, 6:45 AM

As the current Pakistan team brace for the biggest moment of their careers, the man who knows what it feels like to hold the coveted trophy gave a stirring speech to the boys and recalled 1992 50-over World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan’s speech.

In the run-up to the final at ‘The G’ — the magnificent cauldron that is the Melbourne Cricket Ground — Ramiz Raja, who was part of the 1992 team, echoed the charismatic Imran Khan’s “short” speech, as he gave a pep talk to the current team, in the dressing room at the MCG.

“You know we had the shortest World Cup speech, by the way,” former captain Raja told the team.

“But when we went out there, there were 90,000 people. Imran (Khan) was the captain and he told us that this is probably not going to happen ever again in our lives and careers. Just go out there and enjoy this (moment). No need to do anything else. Don’t second guess your performance. Just go out there and enjoy the atmosphere. You don’t get such moments in our career. Just go out there, relax, and approach it with confidence, with a strong body language and give it your absolute best,” he added.

Raja, who is the current chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), said that it has been a great comeback by the team after being in danger of being eliminated from the competition at the Super 12 stage.

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Pakistan, who suffered a heartbreaking last-ball defeat to arch-rivals India in their opening game at the MCG, were then stunned by Zimbabwe at Perth. But they bounced back with twin wins — against the Netherlands and then South Africa at Perth and Sydney respectively. Still, they were in danger of making an early exit despite beating Bangladesh at the Adelaide Oval but were thrown a lifeline by the Netherlands, who knocked over South Africa.

“Congratulations. It has been a tremendous fightback, an incredible fightback, an incredible comeback. You should be proud of yourselves. And this is because of unity. When you play for each other, when there is unity, it defines in the performance. And going forward, whatever happens, give it your 100 percent,” the 60-year-old said.

Raja also paid a glowing tribute to the coaching staff, who played a vital role in the team’s progress.

“And to all the coaching staff, thank you so much. It has meant a great deal to the fans in Pakistan. There is a unified stance that we have had, it is a unified dressing room. And people are loving everything that this team is doing. There is a lot of good vibes, energy now, I was just telling them (players) that don’t worry about the critical aspect of performance. There will be critical analysis of the game, and some will go over the top but that shouldn’t stop us from performing. As I said, success is the best way and don’t worry about anything else. Go out there, enjoy,” said Raja, who played 57 Tests and 1987 One-Day Internationals.


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