The Pakistani wicket-keepers who couldn’t stay long
Wicket-keeping is one of the most important aspects of cricket; those who have grown up in Pakistan during the last 30 years, first watching Rashid Latif and later Kamran Akmal, know how much a good ‘keeper matters. However, there have been a few glovemen in the same period who were unable to cement a place for themselves in the Pakistan side, despite being as much talented as the ones who replaced them. Let’s take a look at some of these players, and discuss what actually went wrong for them. Read on:
Nadeem Abbasi (1989)
Nadeem Abbasi was amongst the many wicket-keepers who played for Pakistan during the last three years of Imran Khan’s tenure as Pakistan Captain. He was sort of a stop-gap arrangement between Saleem Yousuf and Moin Khan, with the former continuing till the late 1990, and the latter taking over in the same year. He, however, managed to feature in what was the last series between Pakistan and India in 1989, and impressed the Captain with his ‘keeping and batting. Nadeem continued to play first-class cricket for a dozen more years after his three Test appearances in 1990, but couldn’t return to the international arena despite impressive display at the domestic level.
Atiq uz Zaman (2000)
Things would surely have been different for Atiq uz Zaman had he been born either a little earlier or a little later. He became a contender in the era of Moin Khan and Rashid Latif, played in their absence and retired to pursue coaching, where he is successful and respected. In his only Test match, he nearly won Pakistan the match for his 25 runs in the second innings made the match interesting. With five dismissals in his first appearance against the formidable Sri Lankans, he should be content with his performance. The three ODIs further consolidated his position as the third best wicketkeeper in the country, with the other two remaining active during Atiq’s own first-class career.
Humayun Farhat (2001)
Humayun Farhat may have been a wonderful performer in domestic cricket, but his international presence was short-lived due to various factors. First, he was in contention during the Moin-Rashid era, and when he did become eligible for a comeback, he chose to represent Lahore Badshahs in the unofficial Indian Cricket League, thus closing the doors of international cricket on himself. He is also one of the few players who failed to register a single dismissal in Test Cricket, although his record in ODIs was a little better. With highest scores of 28 in Tests and 39 in ODIs, he could have been a contender but Kamran Akmal took over the wicketkeeper’s job as he was a better batsman (if not a wicket-keeper), and Humayun Farhat remained a one-Test wonder for his country.
Mohammad Salman (2011)
He was nearly 30 when he got the chance to represent Pakistan at the highest level. With more than a decade of first-class experience, he was expected to last long in the international arena but couldn’t despite impressing all with his tidy work behind the stumps. He was one of the many wicketkeepers tried as Kamran Akmal’s replacement after the disastrous World Cup, and although he was much better behind the stumps, he wasn’t as good as the eldest Akmal in front of it. With 2 Tests, 7 ODIs and 1 T20I to his name, he remains one of the lucky ones to represent Pakistan and manage both a catch and a stumping in all three formats. Sadly, his luck ran out after 2011 and in five years, Mohammad Salman was a former first-class cricketer who could have been a first-class performer, had luck not deserted him.
Omair Alavi ([email protected]) is a freelance broadcast journalist