Pakistan’s cricketing heroes recount historic 1992 World Cup victory

ISLAMABAD: 25 years have passed since the 1992 cricket World Cup. This was a sporting spectacle that gave all Pakistanis joy, hope, and virtually a new life to the cricket-mad nation. 

An entire generation was born after 1992 which does not even know these players—the heroes that brought the World Cup to Pakistan. Geo News celebrates the silver jubilee of Pakistan’s historic 1992 World Cup by inviting the greats of the team in a special show aired on Saturday 10:00PM.

The show was hosted by former opener Ramiz Raja and attended by the captain of the winning team, Imran Khan, and others key players from the side.

Wasim Akram, Moin Khan, Inzamamul Haq shared the inspirational journey of Pakistan’s only World Cup victory in One Day cricket besides sharing the memorable moments they had together in Australia.

The final of the 1992 the World Cup was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne on 25 March in which Pakistan defeated England by 22 runs to lift their first ever World Cup trophy.

In 2009, Pakistan managed to win the T20 world cup under the captaincy of Younis Khan.

It was Pakistan’s greatest sporting victory and since then green-shirts have never been able to lift the trophy.

Ramiz started the show with a quip, telling cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan that they were still scared of him and asking him if he had really expected to lift the World Cup trophy with such a ‘phateechar’ side.

“You were all very young then, and I was almost 40. You were all very young that was why you were all afraid of me. But I didn’t bite,” replied Imran in a jovial mood.

“I have played three World Cups. In those conditions, the 1987 team was our best team, the favourites. In 1992, we lacked two match-winning players – Saeed Anwar, a match-winning opening batsman, and Waqar Younis, a match-winning bowler. There can be at most three or four match-winners in a team, and if you lose two of them, then your chances are low.”

“We were the first to reach Australia, and I think we played six matches,” said Ramiz, as Wasim added: “From what I remember, we lost all the practice matches that we played. There was one against a side of over-40-year-olds in Canberra. We even lost that game.”

Imran said the strategy behind reaching Australia well before the World Cup – 25 days in advance – was that the conditions Down Under are very different from Pakistan.

“There were so many new players in the team. Inzamam had never gone to Australia. Mushtaq had gone once. It’s difficult to both bowl and bat in Australian conditions. So we went there early to adapt to those conditions,” he said.

Ramiz said he had noticed that the current team still had the same problems of consistent batting and fielding as they had 25 years ago, to which Imran replied that if the structure of domestic cricket in Pakistan is not improved, the condition would remain the same even 25 years later.

“You noticed the difference in PSL? Only because these are regional teams. There was probably not even a single player from Quetta, but the whole of Balochistan was backing the team. For Peshawar [Zalmi], I don’t know how many players were actually from the province, but the whole of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was backing them,” said the former skipper.

“This is why I have pushed for a long time for regional team. If grounds are preserved and there is grass, then obviously the players would learn to dive,” he said.

As Ramiz spoke of a special bond between Imran and Wasim as fast-bowlers, Wasim shared how Imran cared about his diet and would stop him from eating burgers.

Imran Khan, Ramiz Raja, Moin Khan, Mushtaq Ahmed, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Wasim Akram, and Wasim Haider shared these and many other memorable moments from the 1992 World Cup in the informal conversation on Geo News.

Near the end of the show, the former greats celebrated the silver jubilee by cutting a cake specially arranged by Geo News.