The cricketing fraternity is yet to recover from the events that took place in the recent ICC Cricket World Cup final. A final that produced one of the best games the world has ever seen. But if you look at the winning English side closely, you might observe something that turned out to be a crucial component of their successful campaign.
It was the involvement of players who come from a different origin. Eoin Morgan, the captain of the England ODI side, used to play for Ireland. Jofra Archer, their leading wicket-taker hails from Barbados. While Ben Stokes, their main man, was born in New Zealand.
Over the years, Cricket has seen the rise of many such players who differ in their nationality and origin. Kevin Pietersen, Grant Elliott, Andy Flower, Colin de Grandhomme to name a few. The current set of international cricketers also includes a number of players who are from Pakistan origin. Australia, England, Zimbabwe, South Africa have welcomed some Pakistani origin cricketers and have been rewarded well by doing so.
Let’s take a look at five such Pakistani origin players who have been successful for other countries.
1. Imran Tahir (South Africa)
Imran Tahir. (Photo by Andy Kearns/Getty Images)
He bowls, he takes a wicket and he goes off on a celebratory run. A player who bowls with utmost passion and energy. This is South Africa’s evergreen bowler – Imran Tahir. He was born on 28th March 1979 in Sukkur region of Pakistan. His abundant talent helped him represent his country at the Under-19 level. He also played county cricket in England before taking a decision to settle in South Africa.
Tahir had to struggle in his initial days as he couldn’t meet the criteria for South African citizenship. But once the formalities were cleared, he soon became unstoppable. He has been instrumental in South Africa’s growth who often struggled to find a spinner in their ranks.
He has been their key spinner for years and has managed to pick 293 wickets in his international career so far. Soon after making his ODI debut, Tahir rose to fame with his performance in the 2011 World Cup where he ended as South Africa’s second-highest wicket-taker. He also recently became the oldest player (40 years and 64 days) to represent South Africa at the World Cup.
His contribution to South Africa has been immense and he will surely be missed in the near future as he has retired from the ODI format now.
2. Moeen Ali (England)
Moeen Ali. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
A British cricketer of a Pakistani origin – Moeen Ali is a terrific all-rounder who plays for England. Ali grabbed eyeballs when he scored big runs for Warwickshire in his early teens. He soon found his way in England’s Under-19 side and also led his nation in the World Cup 2006. He continued playing good cricket in the county championship before being selected in the national side.
Moeen, a versatile player, has been a great find for England. His all-round ability adds a lot of strength to the side. He has played really well in all the formats and continues to be a great asset for England. In his international career so far, Ali has managed to pick 276 wickets and has scored 4770 runs. His ability to pitch the ball in the right areas makes him a very good spinner on slower surfaces.
Moreover, his contribution down the order, especially in Tests in unmatched and has the ability to open the innings at times as well. He was also the part of England’s World Cup-winning side and will be looking to contribute more to the team’s cause in the near future.
3. Usman Khawaja (Australia)
Usman Khawaja. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
Usman Khawaja was born on 18th December 1986 in Pakistan. He shifted to Australia in the early stages of his life and developed into a better player playing in Australia’s domestic circuit. He also became the first player from New South Wales to hit consecutive double centuries.
Khawaja has the potential but hasn’t enjoyed a fluent career so far. Although little phases of poor form have interrupted his progress, the southpaw has managed to return back to his best. He was the key player for Australia in the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner, post the sandpaper gate. He offered Australia the stability that they were looking for. Khawaja has scored 4560 runs in his career so far and has a huge opportunity ahead with the Ashes around the corner.
But with Smith and Warner returning to the team, he is no more an automatic selection in the team now. Khawaja will have to keep consistently performing to keep his place in the squad. His World Cup was cut short due to injury and will be keen on attaining full fitness ahead of the Ashes.
4. Sikandar Raza (Zimbabwe)
Sikandar Raza. (Photo Souce: Twitter)
Sikandar Raza is a Zimbabwean cricketer who grew up in Pakistan’s Sialkot area. He moved to Zimbabwe in 2002 and played professional cricket for teams like Southern Rocks & Mashonaland Eagles. He performed consistently until he was noticed by the selectors. Raza was soon included in the preliminary squad for the 2011 World Cup but could not make the final team on account of his citizenship issues.
But soon he became a vital cog in the team and since making his international debut in May 2013. Raza is a very good all-rounder and has been a huge presence in the Zimbabwe team in the last few years. He was their key player in the 2015 World Cup and followed it up with many notable performances in the next three years.
His all-round show helped Zimbabwe seal their first-ever bilateral ODI series victory over Sri Lanka in 2017. Raza has scored 3880 runs along with 90 wickets to his name in his international career so far. With the ICC suspending Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), his future is in doldrums and might explore more options in the near future.
5. Adil Rashid (England)
Adil Rashid of England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Adil Rashid is an English cricketer born in Bradford, United Kingdom and is from Pakistan origin. England’s great county club Yorkshire was where Adil Rashid grew as a cricketer. He was a prominent leg spinner and also contributed with the bat which eventually led to his selection in the England U19 side. Adil’s remodelled action helped him big time as he developed into a better bowler hitting consistent line & length.
Adil Rashid had a very slow and tedious start to his international career. Having already made his international debut in 2009, it took him another 6 years to finally make it to the Test side. His debut series wasn’t a great one but he slowly picked up against mighty sides like India, when England toured the subcontinent.
Adil has grown a lot to become England’s most trusted spinner in recent times. He was their lead spinner in the recently concluded 2019 World Cup as well. Rashid’s leg-spin has fetched him 239 wickets at the international level and he continues to be a great addition to this champion England side.
~Written by Ameya Thakur
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