Twenty years ago, on January 18 and 20, Pakistan achieved in Australia under the leadership of Wasim Akram what they had never done with even Imran Khan in charge
Twenty years ago, on January 18 and 20, Pakistan achieved in Australia under the leadership of Wasim Akram what they had never done with even Imran Khan in charge. They won the tri-series -- a regular feature of Australian cricket calendar back then -- defeating West Indies in the first and the second finals.
Interestingly, in that series, Pakistan tamed Australia on three occasions although that side had such great players as Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Michael Bevan, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Mark Waugh and Jason Gillespie. That Australian side had much more experience than the current one that Pakistan are facing now.
And the West Indian side had such players as Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Carl Hooper, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, and Ian Bishop.
In comparison, Pakistan had quite a young side. Mohammad Wasim, Shahid Afridi, Zahoor Elahi, Mohammad Zahid and Shahid Nazeer had made their international debuts only a few months ago. Mujahid Jamshed and Ijaz Ahmed Jr played their first and last One-day Internationals during that series.
Pakistan did not have the services of their regular opener Saeed Anwer, experienced middle-order batsman Salim Malik as well as Aqib Javed, who had been part of the pace attack for the preceding eight years.
But many of Pakistan’s young guns played superbly against the two mighty sides. Young Mohammad Waseem, who had come from the Under-19 squad a few months ago, was the fifth highest scorer in the tournament. He scored 282 runs, averaging 35.
Saqlain Mushtaq, who had made his debut only 15 months ago, took 17 wickets in 10 matches.
Shahid Afridi grabbed 11 wickets in nine matches. He was the fifth highest wicket taker. Afridi was phenomenal in the first final. He took three wickets, dismissing opener Campbell, Lara and Jimmy Adams.
He then scored a fluent half century as an opener to set up a solid platform for the chase.
Young Shahid Nazir was superb in the second final as he dismissed Lara, Jimmy Adams and Phil Simmons, giving just 14 runs in 10 overs.
Among the seniors, only Ijaz Ahmed was successful. He averaged more than 43. Aamer Sohail averaged only 25 and Inzamam 20.
Wasim Akram managed to win the series by excellently utilising his bowling arsenal. He himself took 15 wickets in 10 matches and got the best out of Waqar Younis, who grabbed 11 wickets from six matches.
In the second final, Pakistan batted first and managed only 165. Only four of their batsmen had scores in double figures. But Pakistan won due to their bowlers’ brilliance. None of their five bowlers gave more than three runs per over. And they struck at regular intervals. The only partnership worth mentioning was between Roland Holder and Ambrose, their eighth and ninth batsmen.