Aamer Sohail’s Exclusive Interview: 5 Pakistan vs England Memorable Moments of All Time

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Amir Sohail lead

Over the years, the England vs Pakistan series comprise of some highly debatable yet memorable incidents stretching over decades that are still reminisced by Pakistani cricketers. The cricket series have always been one of the most controversial yet nail-biting matches of all time!

The first test at Lord’s this year saw Pakistan beat England by a margin of 75 runs. They dedicated the victory to the Pakistan Army who trained the cricketers at the Abbottabad training camp.

Amir Sohail lead

Brandsynario caught up with the former Pakistani Captain Amir Sohail to talk about his early days of cricket and shared his views on some of the most controversial Pakistan vs England moments of all time!

Amir Sohail was studying pre-engineering in government college Lahore when the cricket administration enticed him to play cricket- the sport then became his hobby and later on a passion!

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Picture Credits Sporting Heroes

Sohail made his first-class debut back in 1983- he was a left-handed opening batsman and occasional left-arm spin bowler. His playing career spanned eighteen years. Sohail played 195 first-class and 261 List A Limited Overs matches. This included 47 Test matches and 156 One Day Internationals for Pakistan.

A passionate batsman, Sohail first appeared for the national team in a 1990 one-day International against Sri Lanka. He played an integral part in the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Aamir Sohail, the former chief selector and the man responsible for Pakistan’s first test win over South Africa during his tenure as the captain, gave his insights on the World Cup 1992 win, the Ken Palmer & Aquib Javed spoiler incident and the many controversies that are now a permanent part of Pakistan vs England series.

Six years ago when Pakistan traveled to England, no one had imagined that it would be a single career defining moment for three-star cricketers of the Pakistani cricket team, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.

The spot-fixing scandal engulfed the cricket loving nation and after six years, is once again being highlighted as Pakistan takes on England at Lord’s. 

Amir sohail
Picture Credits Sporting Heroes

One might think, that the spot-fixing scandal six years ago was the incident that shook Pakistani cricket; however, that is not the case. Over the years, each Pakistan vs England encounter has given us its fair share of drama.

According to Amir said  “1992 will always be a special year for Pakistani cricket fans. Winning the World Cup, having one of the best bowling attacks in the world, it seemed like everything would change for us despite having a shaky start to the tournament.”

But all changed when Pakistan immediately went on the tour of England right after beating them in the final of the ’92 World Cup.

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Picture Credits Sporting Heroes

The 1992 series was marred by ball tampering incident involving Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram and umpire Ken Palmer.

The duo was accused of ball tampering and tensions ran high after the incident.

“Basically, it was a huge tour for us. We had just won the World Cup. And straight away we had to tour England. It actually attracted a lot of attention and the profile of the player’s skyrocketed. The media were after us but it turned out to be a very successful tour”, Aamir Sohail recalled his first ever tour where he debuted against England.

When asked about his thoughts about the ball tampering incident, Sohail replied, “The first day the ball was zipping everywhere. Rameez and I were cursing as to why we were batting first on that pitch. We should have bowled. But that when we decided we should not just hang around and attack the bowlers and it worked out quite well.

I think the incident was blown out of proportion and misconstrued. You have to realize things were quite hot while the series was going and any small incident could trigger your emotions. I think both the parties should have reacted appropriately. It wasn’t the case and it was sad. Umpires and players should respect each other. I think after this incident a lot of people realized how cricket should be played”, he added. But of course, this is not only what Aamir Sohail remembers this tour for; The 1992 tour also marked his test debut and his double century against England at Old Trafford.

Come 2006 and once again Pakistan and England series is in the spotlight with another ball tampering controversy, this time involving then captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and umpire Daryl Hair.

 

“That was just disappointing. I think if the umpire was acting within the rules and regulations we should have respected that. It was all about communication. We should have spoken in a polite manner to the umpire and asked him what was happening and what the problem was. It should have been dealt with in a proper manner.

It was embarrassing for Pakistan to leave the field and forfeit the match. It was not good news for cricket anywhere, especially Pakistan that is always marred with controversy and in my opinion we could have dealt with it in a better way”, Sohail said

Fast forwarding to 2016, the Pakistani cricket team is once again touring England, exactly six years after the ball tampering incident.

When asked what his thoughts were about Pakistan’s 2016 historic win at Lord’s where Misbah ul Haq and Yasir Shah both got their name on the coveted Lord’s honors board, Aamir Sohail states

“Pakistan had to wait a long time for this. And it was impressive the way the players assumed their role, conducted themselves and executed the plans. It was fantastic to see them acknowledging the Pakistani Army and the way they celebrated it was different but it has got everyone’s eye”.

“I think it tickles everyone’s fancy because nobody was actually expecting Pakistan to win in a straight way,” he said.

With the second test match fast approaching, the expectations are very high, especially from Yasir Shah and Mohammad Amir who picked up just two wickets at Lord’s.

“After winning the first test match the expectations are high. The Pakistani players and the think tank need to be aware of it. A few things were amiss with the English cricket team in the first test and they will be burning the midnight oil to prepare properly and eradicate the mistakes made in the first test.

I’m hoping the Pakistani team is going to be well-prepared ad one step ahead of the English team”, Aamir Sohail added.

When asked about Mohammad Amir and his comeback,

As the expectations were very high and some people, even though he was off the boil. He didn’t bowl badly. The only thing lacking was he was not trying to swing the ball. He was focused on generating a bit of pace. I think he must have learned that in English conditions you have to ball a few quicker deliveries, but at the end of the day it’s the swinging or seaming the ball that does the trick.”

“I’m not sure whether rehabilitation works or not but what they must have gone through must have taught them a lesson and made them a better human being, and they must refrain from wrongdoing and that is what we are hoping for too,” he added. 

Read about the 5 Pakistan vs England most controversial moments of All Time below:

1. Ken Palmer vs Pakistan -1992 03rd test

‘The Sweater throwing Incident’

Fresh from a Lords win just a week prior, there was a sense of animosity between the two sides. The allegations of ball tampering were doing their rounds and the English bowlers were adamant on using the short pitched deliveries against our top 05. The effect was not as planned by the then English captain Graham Gooch, the seasoned pro who was still hurting from the World Cup final loss. The major culprit was in fact, Devon Malcolm.

He threw a barrage of bouncers at the Pakistani tail and the usage of profanity was never amiss. Well, they say when in Rome, do as the Romans. Malcolm got a taste of his own medicine when he came out to face Aquib Javed.

Looking at it from a neutral point of view , the Pakistani team overdid the tactics. Malcolm was nowhere close to a batsman. Persistent no-balls were called by Ken Palmer, officiating that test match. Tempers were lost, and it looked there was no sense of control from anywhere. This led to it being one of the most infamous incidents during that tour and one which is instilled in the enthusiasts memory.

2. The W’s strike at Lords- 1992 02nd Test

‘The Bat wins it this time’

The 02 W’s , recorded nemesis of the English Team with the ball in hand. Such was the effect they had in tandem, they echoed the old line of the past, ‘’if Lillee doest get ya, Tommo will. Pakistan’s test team was undefeated in England since 1987. The 92 and 96 tours were purely Wasim and Waqar.

One can imagine their partnership with the ball wrecked the English batting juggernaut but it is hard to fathom till this day their 40 odd unbroken 9th wicket partnership which led to a thrilling two-wicket victory.

The emotions of that win have been captured on the cover title page of Osman Samiuddins “The Unquiet Ones”. Certainly, one of Pakistan’s finest victories.

unquiet ones cover

The book is one of the greatest publications defining the dramatic, tortured, heroic and tumultuous moments of Pakistan cricket history. The title cover shows Amir Sohail hugging Wasim Akram and Saeed Anwer

When asked about him being on the cover title of the book Amir said that he was not aware of it!

3. Hair Raiser at the Oval-2006

Ball Tampering incident 4th Test

Ball tampering news has always been a tabloid regular and the Pakistani bowling artillery has from one way to another been accused of such wrongdoing. From the days of the famous Oval win back in 54 to the recent times of Sarfaraz, Imran, Wasim, and Waqar.

This infamous show reel came about on the fourth day, Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove ruled that the Pakistani team had been involved in ball tampering. They awarded five penalty runs to England and offered them a replacement ball. That was the final draw for then captain, Inzamam ul Haq.

Hair and Inzi

In a rare, never seen a display of emotional angst, he led the team out in dissent. In the protest, the Pakistani players refused to take the field after the tea break. After 30 minutes the umpires removed the bails, declared England winners by forfeiture. An international incident was peaking with a first of its time coverage in South America. Cricket went global for the wrong reasons.

The Pakistani team took the field 25 minutes later, but the umpires stated that the game had ended the moment the bails were removed.

The Test was abandoned and the match awarded to England. The ICC, ECB, and PCB later affirmed that the decision to award the match to England was in accordance with the laws of cricket. Inzamam was acquitted of ball tampering, although opinion remained divided as to whether the markings on the ball indicated tampering.

4. The Inzi Ballerina Dive

4th Test , Leeds-2006

Inzamam-ul-Haq undoubtedly is one of Pakistan’s greatest batsmen and when in flow, his outings were a treat to eyes. Thanks to YouTube, we can keep watching those delightful strokes that he played throughout his illustrious career. However, Inzamam is a YouTube favorite for another reason. His career consists of being dismissed from the pitch in unique ways.

Be it his bizarre dismissals (which includes a list of run outs, where his partners too got dismissed several times) or his innocently spoken unintended but hilarious interviews, fans never get tired of typing ‘Inzamam’ in their search bars. It was the fourth Test of Pakistan’s tour to England in 2006 at Leeds, Inzamam batting on 26, tried to sweep a Monty Panesar ball.

He lost his balance and dived over the stumps. He almost managed to hurdle them but unfortunately, his belly flicked it. If it was some other mere mortal, this would’ve passed the brain waves, but with someone with a great pedigree, this is not to be missed.

5. The Jumping Botham & Imran’s 300th

Leeds 1987 3rd Test

The memorable tour of 1987 is still etched in people’s memory. Imran Khan led an inexperienced bunch of young upstarts against an English team who had just defended the Ashes in Australia. Under Mike Gatting , they were the best team going around in both formats. However , this would be the tour to mark the passing of the guard.

A young Wasim Akram, showing that he was here to stay, and by upstaging the old king, Ian Botham, a new era was upon the game. Hilarious to the viewer , where Beefy was a young Wasim Akram, showing that he was here to stay, and by upstaging the old king, Ian Botham, a new era was upon the game.

Hilarious to the viewer , where Beefy was copped by a lethal Yorker which left him completely inelegant in posture, and his stature was now matched by Imran , taking his 300th wicket in the test . An Icing on the cake , Pakistan won the test by an innings, leading them to their first series victory in England.

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Contributed by Onusha Ahmad & Nasr Saeed.