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Rameez Raja
Cricket no pic.png
Personal information
Batting style Right-handed batsman (RHB)
Bowling style Right-handed legbreak
Career statistics
Competition Tests ODIs
Matches 57 198
Runs scored 2833 5841
Batting average 31.83 32.09
100s/50s 2/22 9/31
Top score 122 119*
Balls bowled - 1
Wickets - 0
Bowling average - -
5 wickets in innings - -
10 wickets in match - n/a
Best bowling - 0/10
Catches/stumpings 34/0 33/0
Source: Cricinfo, 31 January 2006

Rameez Hasan Raja (born 14 August 1962 in Lyallpur (now Faisalabad), Pakistan) is a former Pakistani cricketer who is now a commentator and has become the voice of Pakistan cricket. He studied at the noted Pakistani institutions, Sadiq Public School, Bahawalpur and Aitchison College, Lahore, and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

Rameez was a right-handed opening batsman, and is a former captain of the Pakistani team.

Contents

Early career

Raja made his first class debut in 1978, at a time when Pakistan had a secure opening pair in the great Majid Khan and Sadiq Muhammad, and for many years there was little question of him making the national side, at a time his brother Wasim Raja was a regular in the side. When his chance came, it would be in a match against England, when Pakistan were fielding a depleted side. His performance was unimpressive, he was dismissed for 1 in both innings. However by that time with the retirement of several players and with many years experience in first class cricket, Raja was able to make a place in the team, although his role in the test side was always suspect. Nevertheless he would be one of a generation of players who would see Pakistan cricket rise to its greatest heights.

Test Player

Rameez Raja was always a doubt in the test side, though the lack of quality openers available to the side at the time meant that he was usually in the starting eleven and almost always in the squad. He was a member of the Pakistan side which drew the test series against the West Indies, in what were considered some of the best tests of all time. In 13 years of international cricket he would make only 57 appearances in tests and score only 2 centuries at the disappointing average of 31.83 and his place in the side would eventually be lost forever as better players such as Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail came through.

One Day Internationals

It was in the shorter form of the game that Raja would achieve his greatest success, and unlike the test team here he would be a regular and earnt nearly 200 caps. His attacking style was suited to this form and he scored 9 ODI centuries, at one time a Pakistan record. He was a member of the side that reached the semi finals of the 1987 World Cup. He would score two centuries, including one in a must win game against New Zealand, who has been unbeaten uptil then, a man of the match winning performance which would earn Pakistan a place in the semi-finals. In the final itself, Rameez would have the honour of taking the catch which would win the world cup; the image of him successfully taking the catch to dismiss the last England batsman has become one of the most famous in the history of Pakistan Cricket. Yet this would be the pinnacle of his career, within a year of this triumph he would be dropped from the side.

End of Career

Although he would make sporadic appearance until the 1997 season, including most notably as officiating captain when Pakistan removed Salim Malik after the match fixing scandle, as well as another appearance in a World Cup (the 1996 edition), he was never a regular after 1993.

After Cricket

He has been active as a commentator and an administrator since his retirement.

Controversies

Despite being a well liked and generally disciplined player, Raja has had his share of incidents such as

1987-88: Given out Obstructing the Field

Rameez rewrote the cricket record books when he became the first player in ODI history to be given out "obstructing the field" against England at Karachi in 1987. England had posted a daunting 263 for 6 off 44 overs (Graham Gooch 142 off 134, David Capel 50 off 40) and Pakistan needed to score an exact 6.0 runs an over to reach that target in the allocated 44 overs.

Rameez opened the innings with Shoaib Mohammad, who scored 37 off 62 balls at just 3.5 runs an over before he went back into the pavilion. Rameez too, only managed to score at 4.9 an over and reached 98 when the last ball of the match was bowled with Pakistan needing an impossible 25 runs to win. He hit it away and sprinted for the two runs that would give him his hundred, but was well short of the crease when the fielder's return came towards him, and Rameez knocked the ball away with his bat. He was thus the first batsman to be given out "obstructing the field" in an ODI.

1995-96: As Captain of Pakistan Cricket Team

Almost a decade later, he revisited the record books when he infamously captained Pakistan to their first Test home series loss against Sri Lanka in September 1995 — Pakistan's first defeat in a home series since 1980-81 when Clive Lloyd's West Indies side beat them 1-0 in a four-match series. Before being brought in as captain for the series, he had often opened the innings with both Aamer Sohail and Saeed Anwar at different times, but without much success. As captain, he did not open the innings in any of the three Tests and opted to bat at three, his preferred position. Rameez was sacked as captain after Pakistan lost the series and was replaced by Wasim Akram. He got a second shot at captaincy when, immediately in the next season (1996-97), he led the second string Pakistan team in two Tests against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, but failed to register a win. This was his final appearance in a Test match for Pakistan - as captain or as player.

2003-04: CEO of the Pakistan Cricket Board

Rameez also served as CEO for the Pakistan Cricket Board, simultaneously serving as a cricket commentator. He resigned from the post of the CEO in August 2004 citing increasing media commitments as the reason for his decision.

For the 2006 England Test series against Pakistan, he was a commentator on Test Match Special and Sky Sports.

Rameez's brother, Wasim Raja, also played Test cricket and his second brother Zaeem Raja played first-class cricket in Pakistan.

External links

Preceded by
Saleem Malik
Pakistan Cricket Captain
1993-1997
Succeeded by
Aamer Sohail







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