The Rise of the “Master of New Ball”

The Rise of the “Master of New Ball”

Until recently Pakistan has been quite lucky in the department of fast bowling, as Pakistan had iconic fast bowlers in every decade. However late 1980s, 1990s and 2000s can be considered as best era for this department. During this time arguably the best pace men played for Pakistan. One such gem of a fast bowler was Aqib Javed.

Pakistani fast bowlers are mostly known for doing better with an old ball, especially due to the reverse swing effect, however, Aqib was the exception in the lot. He was natural out swinger and master of the new ball. Imran Khan termed him as the quickest learner among his three most talented disciples Wasim, Waqar and Aqib.

Aqib has always been there to serve Pakistan when the prime fast bowlers were absent. However, there is one bowling spell that will always define Aqib and his career. That very spell came in the final of Wills Cup in October 1991 at Sharjah.

Batting first, Pakistan scored a handsome total of 262 and in those days such total was enough to put psychological pressure on the chasing side. Knowing the Indian team will be in pressure of making quick runs to meet the required rate per over Aqib Javed exploited the situation with his pace, swing and ability to take wickets. In this process, Aqib became the youngest bowler to achieve an ODI hattrick and also made the record of best bowling figures in ODI – a record that lasted over a decade.

Sidhu was the first victim of Aqib who was caught behind the wicket. After only 15, a spree of LBW started when Aqib sent Ravi Shastri, Captain Azharuddin, and Sachin Tendulker back to pavilion on three consecutive balls. At 129 when Indian batting started to look stable Aqib made a comeback and bowled Kapil Dev. After a couple of deliveries Sanjay Manjreker – the highest scorer – also fell prey to Aqib’s brilliance. The seventh wicket came in after couple of overs as Manoj Parbhakar was caught by Amir Sohail and Aqib completed the legendary spell of ten overs taking 7 wickets off 37 runs.

Pakistan won yet another final at Sharjah against India, and Aqib was awarded Player of the Final.

Let’s relive those memories through these highlights of that spell.