Last night, I divided my time between the EPL games as well as the T20 game between England and Pakistan. Though England did put up a fairly reasonable total, I felt fairly confident that Pakistan would pull through comfortably , and proceeded to watch the Chelsuck match. After subjecting myself to some extreme nazi-like torture of watching Terry and his groupies, I switched it back to the T20 game, where I witnessed Afridi getting dismissed cheaply, and a well-set Umar Akmal show lack of sense and self-destruct against a very impressive Swann.
I remember catching myself saying , “O Oh….same old same old…” ,exactly when Razzaq walked in. 46 runs, 18 deliveries, 5 sixes and 11 heartbreaks later, he walked out, giving the Greens the win. In the process, he tore through the flesh of the debutant Shahzad and ripped his heart out in the penultimate over. He also gave his trademark ” my eyes are made of glass so don’t eff with me” look at the bowlers once.
As a fan of an opponent’s team, Razzaq has been one of the most dangerous cricketers around. I used to have sweat beads on my forehead whenever I’d see him mark his run-up and disguise his menacing triple-reverse-swinging-in-you-mofo-face-doosra-leg cutting -arm ball as innocous looking deliveries. I did a little bit of digging around.
Razzaq vs Sachin
I’m not quite sure why, but the only images that come through my mind is full length deliveries which would sneak through the gate, leaving the master flummoxed. I decided to look at Sachin’s dismissals against the Pak bowlers – especially those who’ve dismmised him most often. For good measure, I threw in Lee and Pollock, and you’ll see why.
So there you go. Lee and Pollock have dismissed Sachin 9 times, which is the most amongst all bowlers that Sachin has gotten dismissed by. I also added the legends Wasim and Waqar just for kicks, though it would be a tad unfair since the duo were phasing out when Sachin was entering his prime.
So that leaves us with Mahmood and Razzaq, who’ve dismissed him 6 times each, with Akhtar close on their heels. Now add Razzaq’s respectable 30+ batting average to this, and you’ll see his value.
Yesterday’s innings got me thinking. Razzaq got in when his team was in a very precarious position, and he took them across the finish line in style. I wanted to check on his finishing abilities as a batsman. I reasoned out that a No 6 or No. 7 batsman such as him would really need to score about 30+, and get his team across the finish line. For comparison’s sake, I took Mark Boucher , who’s done this often for SA. I scratched my head and groin a lot but couldn’t come up with anyone else at the moment. It just didn’t strike me at all. If you do have a name, let me know, and I can add it to this analysis. I also added Michael Bevan, who’s the richter scale for finishers.
Now now, stop drooling over Bevan’s statistics for a bit.
Pay attention to the cells highlighted in yellow. Out of 30 such innings that Razzaq has played during his career for a winning cause of 30+ , he has remained not out 17 times (more than half the time)!! This indicates that he more often than not sees the game through. He also has cleared the fence 51 times in this span – solidifying his stature as a clean striker at No. 6 or 7, which is just what a team needs when it’s going for runs/or chasing.
Chase , you ask? Well sample this. Out of those 30 innings, Razzaq has scored 30+ 11 times for a winning cause, remaining not out in 7 of them! His average zooms up to almost 150, with 5 of those 11 half-centuries coming in a chase!!
Compared to that , Boucher has done this 13 out of 34 times with 8 Not outs. His average increases to to 108. He has 3 half-centuries during the chase.
Razzaq has to be one of the most dangerous and destructive players at that position. He’s 30, and he can still contribute. Pakistan’s undergoing a period of transition (watch out for the next post).
My question is, why not Razzaq for the captaincy post?