Exclusive: Don't give up, Pakistan's 1992 World Cup legend Miandad tells Babar's team

Winning and losing is part of the game. Don’t put too much pressure on the team, Miandad appeals to Pakistan’s public

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Iconic Pakistan batsman Javed Miandad. (ICC Twitter)
Iconic Pakistan batsman Javed Miandad. (ICC Twitter)

Published: Sat 12 Nov 2022, 10:01 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Nov 2022, 10:50 AM

Just a couple of months before Diego Maradona became the biggest footballing icon by almost single-handedly winning the 1986 World Cup for Argentina, it was Javed Miandad that attained mythic status in Pakistan.

Miandad embraced immortality with the greatest one-man show in cricket that culminated in his last-ball match-winning six against India in the Austral-Asia Cup ODI final at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.


Cricket was never the same again after Miandad’s masterpiece – a 114-ball 116 not out – that was way ahead of its time.

Six years after the Sharjah classic, Pakistan set up a final clash with England in the 1992 World Cup against all odds at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.


But they were in big trouble against the formidable England team, losing two early wickets in the final. And again it was Miandad that came to the team’s rescue as his defiant partnership with skipper Imran Khan set up Pakistan’s famous victory.

There are shades of 1992 in Babar Azam’s Pakistan that had a nightmarish start to their campaign in the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

Babar’s team eventually bounced back to reach the semifinals, albeit with a helping hand from the Netherlands that stunned South Africa on the final day of the Super 12 stage.

Now as Pakistan gear up for Sunday’s final against the same team – England – and on the same ground – MCG – 30 years after the 1992 ODI World Cup triumph, Miandad has one advice for the team: don’t give up.

“If you saw that match (1992 final), how we played, then you know that this can happen. It’s cricket and anything can happen. So my advice for them is that ‘don’t give up and go until the end and keep faith in your ability’,” Miandad told Khaleej Times over the phone from Karachi.

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“For the batsmen, I would just like to tell them one thing, just occupy the crease and keep going and you will get runs. For the bowlers, just concentrate on what you are bowling, the areas you are bowling.

“Basically, cricket is the same game for everybody whether you are a young player or an experienced player. They are all playing the same game. Nothing changes. The only thing is how you are playing in the middle, whether it’s bowling or batting.”

But the iconic Pakistan cricketer also had piece of advice for the cricket-mad Pakistani public.

“Nobody wants to lose. That’s the main thing. But that’s why the players also come under pressure. The problem is in our parts of the world, the public puts too much pressure on the cricketers. Please don’t do that,” he said.

“When you see Australia, England or New Zealand, they are not so bothered. If they lose a match, their public accepts it because it’s just a game of cricket.

“So in countries like India and Pakistan, the public should not worry so much about winning and losing. It’s part of the game. It’s a game, it’s not war. If you don’t do well, you don’t deserve to win.”

In terms of cricket in Sunday’s final, executing the skills will be the key, according to Miandad.

“They (Pakistan team) have been playing cricket for a long time, they know winning and losing is a part of the game. They need to know what they have to do and how they will do that in the middle. They need to execute their strategies in the middle,” he said.

“Cricket-wise they know what the England bowlers are going to do, their spinners and pace bowlers. I wish them good luck, it’s the final match of this T20 World Cup. Whoever plays better cricket, will win this match.”

Finally, the former Pakistan captain appealed to the governments to resume bilateral cricket between India and Pakistan.

“Cricket is good for both countries. There is no problem between the common people of the countries. People in both India and Pakistan should see cricket only as a sport and nothing more,” he said.

“We are neighbours. I have one message, you know. We have one life, so let’s enjoy this life. What are people going to get from wars?

“Look at Europe, they don’t have borders, you can drive from one country to another, you even don’t need visa.

“I hope that one day people in India and Pakistan will not need a visa to travel to the other country. It will be great for cricket as well because India will get to play more cricket in Pakistan and Pakistan will be able to play cricket in India!”


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