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Pakistan in 1999: the allure, the magic, and the heartbreak

It was a year when everything came together… until it fell spectacularly apart.

There was something magical about Pakistan in 1999… till they time they crumbled.

For a generation of Pakistan fans, the year 1999 meant much.

Shoaib Akhtar emerged as a force of nature.

Shahid Afridi provided a glimpse of his otherworldly powers.

Wasim Akram was poised to turn into leader of the stature of Imran Khan.

Saqlain Mushtaq spun a web around the world’s best.

Saeed Anwar scaled new heights.

Abdul Razzaq was one of the most versatile cricketers around.

The team won two Tests in India. They claimed the Asian Test Championship. They won ODI tournaments for fun. They reached the World Cup final. And they had the team to challenge that great Australian side.

They were pounded in the World Cup final. They lost the Test series in Australia 3-0.

The team were never the same again. And for many fans, it spelt a loss of innocence.

Ahmer Naqvi (@karachikhatmal) and Hassan Cheema (@mediagag) were two such fans.

They join Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee) to chat about the hope that the year brought… and the disappointments that left deep scars.

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Related:

Documentary on Pakistan’s tour to India in 1999

The Haal of Pakistan – Osman Samiuddin

The Unquiet Ones – Osman Samiuddin

India. Pakistan. Chennai. 1999. – Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

The most important sociopolitical trend in Pakistan in the 2010s – Ahsan Butt

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Lead image from here

One Comment

  1. Tarun Tarun

    Nice pod! The Pak team of 1999 was their all time best. Outrageous talent in that squad. It was a pre-cursor to the start of one of the most dominating runs of wins in cricketing history and the coming together of one of the all time best test teams.

    Watching the series as a teenager in Chennai my memories are blurred due to restricted access to Cable TV. Looking at the scorecards and youtube videos now I think Pak bowling did not live up to expectations. They let Australian batting run amok in Brisbane and Perth. They pushed Australia in the second test for sure where a once in a lifetime innings by Gilly basically resulted in a jailbreak and cemented Gilly’s legend in his very second test!

    To me the telling performance was Perth which encapsulates why subcontinental teams ( India 🙁 ) struggle on bouncy tracks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WccuP-D_KY

    Pak batting perhaps could not handle the bounce and the perfect lengths that the Aus bowlers bowled. And Pak bowlers got carried away with the bounce and bowled consistently short – which Ponting and Langer feasted on.
    The other major factor is of course the quality of slip/gully catching. Aus know the precise lengths and placement of those catchers behind the wicket and used the short ball smartly. This is something subcontinental teams were not used to – given the lengths the quicks were used to bowling in Asia.

    For the India series that followed the Australians were primed and ready . Star sports hyped up that series as “Barood”. What happened there was Chamatkaar ( balaatkar). Sigh! It was probably a true reflection of where those three teams stood relative to each other given the conditions.

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