Game One: Lost
Game Two: Won
Game Three: Washout
Game Four: Lost
Game Five: Lost
That’s how Pakistan’s performance graph looked like after the first five matches of the World Cup in 1992. Anxiety reigned in the camp; the fans were heartbroken; an exit from the group league seemed imminent. The star-studded team had prepared for months for the big tournament.
It’s been 28 years since, but Moin Khan still remembers that meeting with captain Imran Khan, which changed the approach of the team. From being a sloppy starter, the side went on to doing the unthinkable — winning the World Cup title for the first-time.
“We started off poorly. After the first few matches, we just had three points. Then, we had a meeting with Imran bhai. He gave us some tips and requested all the players to give their opinions. Whatever the players said in the meeting, we started following those things,” Moin told Sportstar on Wednesday.
Being a 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman then, it was the first World Cup campaign for Moin. He learnt from his seniors. “The meeting was important because once the players spoke their mind, all of us realised what are the areas we had to work on. At times, a player doesn’t understand where he is going wrong. But for us, things changed thereafter…”
On the morning of March 11, Pakistan defeated Australia by 48 runs. Aamer Sohail top-scored with 76, while Aaqib Javed scalped three wickets. “That was the turning point of our campaign. Imran bhai had created a great atmosphere in the camp, where players backed each other, gave necessary inputs. And after the Australia game, we did not look back…” Moin reminisced.
And with just one convincing win, things changed dramatically for Pakistan. The players looked confident and there was no room for negativity in the dressing room. “We thought nobody could beat us from hereon and it is this confidence that kept us going. It was a turning point in my career, for all of us,” Moin said.
For the youngster, the highlight of the tournament was the semifinal against New Zealand. In a close game, Moin played a breezy knock of 20 off 11 deliveries to guide the team home. That’s one memory he still cherishes.
“I feel I was just lucky to be part of that team. That particular innings in the semifinal was special. I still remember hitting a huge six over the extra-cover off Chris Harris. That was perhaps the biggest thing in my career then,” said a nostalgic Moin.
In his long and illustrious career, Moin featured in 69 Tests and 219 ODIs for Pakistan, and even featured in two more World Cups — in 1996 and 1999.
Even though he was part of the ‘Immy Army’ — as Imran’s team of 1992 is fondly called — Moin doesn’t consider it as the best ever Pakistan team. “In my opinion, the team which played in 1999 World Cup (under the captaincy of Wasim Akram) was the best. Even the team of 1996 was very good, but my favourite was the one of 1999, where we lost to Australia in the final.”
March 25 remains a special day for Pakistan cricket. It’s been three decades almost, but still feels like yesterday.
Credit: Source link