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Raja, Akram reveal turning point, surprising moment of 1992 World Cup campaign

Akram revealed that the Men in Green had even lost to an over-40 side before the tournament

PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s legendary former fast-bowler Wasim Akram and former batsman Ramiz Raja, who were a major part of the country’s World Cup winning side in 1992, talked about the turning points and surprising moments of their historic World Cup campaign in a YouTube video on Wednesday.

Raja revealed that the Pakistan side, who were the first to arrive in Australia for the tournament, had a miserable start but able leadership kept them driven towards their goal of achieving glory.

“There seemed to be a selection process when we first got to Australia because we were the first team to show up. Our captain wanted us to acclimatise to the conditions and we took several extra players. We were losing to mediocre teams there and our confidence was low. We were trying out different combinations. Then we suddenly played West Indies and lost badly. We kept losing but one thing we had was the quality leadership of Imran Khan which kept us engaged,” said Raja.

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The 57-year-old claimed that a combination of desperation and a right direction led to performances that surprised the world.

“We were thinking forward after every loss. We were battle hardened and ready to play our best cricket because of that initial time,” he said. “When a team comes into desperation mode and you know that your direction is right, you take a leap that surprises everyone including yourself. Individual performances started coming out. Everyone started pinching in. If you play as one and you want to win with a noble cause [building a hospital] nothing can stop you. The desperation mode and our spirit turned everything around.”

Akram revealed that the Men in Green had even lost to an over-40 side before the tournament while the team still held on to hope even after defeats in the initial stages of the tournament.

“We even lost a game against an over-40 team. Our condition was really bad. Imran Khan still gave us confidence that we would win. We peaked at the right time. We defeated one of the favorite teams of the tournament New Zealand. We had faith that we could beat them,” said Akram. “Once we started winning, we knew that we would keep the momentum going. Ramiz in the end took the final catch which was a great moment.”

The legendary pacer stated that a newspaper article helped him bowl faster and with confidence which ended up helping the Men in Green in their pursuit of a maiden World Cup victory.

“Before the game against Australia, when I was having breakfast I saw the newspaper. I wasn’t controlling the new ball very well. The newspaper quoted Imran as saying that Wasim should be bowling fast. I think I started bowling as fast as I could after that and that helped me get wickets. My favorite moment and the highlight of my career was taking those two wickets in one over,” he concluded.