An unquiet history: an interview with writer Osman Samiuddin

81 All Out  > Conversation, Listen >  An unquiet history: an interview with writer Osman Samiuddin

Our special guest this week is Osman Samiuddin, a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo and author of The Unquiet Ones: A History of Pakistan Cricket

One of the finest contemporary cricket writers, Osman has had a ring-side view of the triumphs and disappointments of Pakistan cricket over the last two decades. His match reports, profiles, and long-form features are both timely and timeless, both a work of journalism as well as a first draft of history.

Talking Points:

  • Growing up in Saudi Arabia and learning about cricket
  • Pakistan in India in 1986-87 – watching the series on VHS tapes
  • Tape ball cricket in Karachi
  • The impact of The Cricketer Magazine in Pakistan
  • Falling in love with Pakistan cricket in the 1990s
  • Afridi’s fastest hundred, Basit Ali – the new Miandad, Asif Mujtaba’s last-ball six
  • Osman’s first cricket interview – with newly appointed captain Rashid Latif
  • Interviewing Wasim Akram, covering the 2003-04 India tour and the 2005-06 Pakistan tour to India
  • The commission to write a history of Pakistan cricket – and the challenge of finding a structure
  • The tumultuous years in Pakistan cricket: 2006 to 2010 – Inzamam’s walkout, Bob Woolmer’s death, terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers, spot-fixing…
  • Traveling around Pakistan, and feeling a sense of belonging
  • Fazal Mahmood’s crazy confidence
  • Imran Khan’s influence on fast bowling – the seminal spell in Sydney in 1977
  • Javed Miandad and the quest for Izzat
  • Wasim Akram – the hero and a cricket writer’s ideal
  • The Pakistani tendency to pull of wins from hopeless situations – the phenomenon of Haal


Osman Samiuddin (@osmansamiuddin)

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee)


Pakistan’s quicks get into the swing with tennis balls and electric tape – Osman Samiuddin – The Guardian

Ode to a magazine – Osman Samiuddin on The Cricketer Magazine – ESPNcricinfo

Saleem Malik’s 72 (36) in Eden Gardens – YouTube video

Shahid Afridi’s hundred off 37 balls – YouTube video

Basit Ali’s 127 (79) against West Indies in Sharjah – YouTube video

West Indies win in Bridgetown in 1988 – YouTube video

Pakistan in 1999: the allure, the magic, and the heartbreak – 81allout podcast with Ahmer Naqvi and Hassan Cheema

From Mushtaq to Misbah: a journey like none other – 81allout podcast with Nadeem Farooq Paracha

The Imran Khan’s I’ve Known – Osman Samiuddin – The Cricket Monthly

The Haal of Pakistan – Osman Samiuddin – The Guardian

Miandad’s last ODI hundred – YouTube video

Imran Khan’s 10/77 in Headingley – YouTube video

Pakistan v India, Bangalore, 1987 – YouTube video

Rahul Bhattachaya on Wasim Akram’s ball to Rahul Dravid – The Cricket Monthly

India v Pakistan, Chennai, 1999 – YouTube video

Akram’s hat-trick in Dhaka, 1999 – YouTube video

Akram’s 5/49 in Antigua, 2000 – YouTube video

England v Pakistan, Lord’s Test, 1992 – YouTube video

Shoaib Akhtar 6/30, Wellington, 2003 – YouTube video

Mohammad Asif’s six-for in Sydney, 2010 – YouTube video

Books discussed:

The Unquiet Ones: A History of Pakistan Cricket – Osman Samiuddin

Pundits from Pakistan – Rahul Bhattacharya

On Warne – Gideon Haigh

Beyond a Boundary – CLR James

War Minus the Shooting – Mike Marqusee

Not quite cricket – Pradeep Magazine

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