Javed Miandad!!!!! Himself, a franchise, in Pakistan cricket. His batting legacy was like word of mouth and the name was widespread since his dream test debut against New Zealand in 1976. Overall, in his 25-years cricketing career, he played over 800 games, scored over 40,000 runs, crossed 50-mark 333 times, out of which he reached his three-figures mark on 93 occasions and almost 500 catches….
Till this date (8.8.13), Miandad is 13th in most test runs in career with 8832 runs. Has 6 double-hundreds in tests the most by any Pakistani player and 5th overall. His biggest achievement in his cricketing career is 1992 World Cup. That was the 5th edition of World Cup played in Australia and New Zealand for the first time in colorful kits. This was Miandad’s 5th attempt for the title where he was 2nd top-scorer in the whole tournament few runs behind Martin Crowe of New Zealand. To an utmost bizarre, Miandad was shockingly not selected in the world cup squad due to a minor injury which wasn’t even threatening. He was finally recalled after huge batting failure in warm-up games and the rest is history.
Miandad was the first player ever to reach 1000-runs mark in World Cup career and play six world cups. His test batting average never came down below 50 since his 1st test inning till the end which is quite a rare and unique test record which most probably no test batsman has ever accomplished in history. Till this date (8.8.13) he is the youngest test player to score a double-century for 35 years as no one has ever reached the mark in his teen-age. For 26 years, he is still holding record of most fifties in ODIs in cosecutive innings (9).
His autobiography ‘Cutting Edge’ was published in 2003, forwarded by the great Tony Grieg and co-authored by famous columnist of Cricinfo, Saad Shafqat. His memories knew no bound when he begins from the background where he belongs and speaks about his father who was majorly responsible for Karachi cricket by contributing a lot to KCCA (Karachi City Cricket Association). On father’s advice, he plays for Habib Bank and becomes the soul of their batting line. His batting phenomenon is witnessed by one of Pakistan cricket’s finest administrator, Abdul Hafeez Kardar, and predict him “Find of the Decade”.
‘Cutting Edge’ is comprised of 23 chapters but being a reader, I am terribly surprised to notice that only one chapter belongs to his memorable knock in Sharjah, but two chapters are acclimatizing account about his anger towards Imran’s inning declaration at his personal best score of 280 not out. This is Hyderabad test against India where Miandad is avoided to reach triple hundred or further break the-then test cricket record of highest individual score in test inning by Sir Gary Sobers which was 365 not out against Pakistan.
There are 3 different chapters dedicated to England, Australia and West Indies. English one is about his playing experience on English surface and more about his county career in Sussex and Glamorgan. Australia and West Indies one each separately speaks about their counters with Pakistan. Another chapter ‘The Player’s Revolt’ is about the differences Miandad faced with other players when he was captain. Infact at many a place in book, it is shameful for me to read how a cricketer loses his sportsmanship to fall greedy for captaincy and play politics in the dressing room. Miandad actually complains and reveals the backbiting (or you may say back-barking) and disorganized mismanagement under Pakistan Cricket Board. The color of nature and volume of his speaking tone over such matter is exactly how Shoaib Akhtar explained in his “Controversially Yours”.
Many cricket fans have been cornered towards the issue that lied between Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, many of them smelled some rift between them. Indeed there were some personal differences, but there is significantly one chapter dedicated to Imran and his leadership which is worth. On numerous places in book, the reading falls quite flat where the details are more of a match review and statistics. One deliberately will begin hunting to read something which is rare and unknown to him ahead of match reviews which do exist on websites and would make it boring.
Few of cricket fans do not know that Miandad had an interesting episode of his love marriage with his wife, Tahira, which after reading, you will find it quite filmy and quite different from the existing traditions of marriage in Pakistan. But this is sadly penned of couple of pages and I strictly believe should have been a whole chapter on it. The reader will surely realize could have been a worth-reading mostly for youngsters, had Miandad dedicated his love for his wife and wrote his marriage in details a separate chapter.
I must also clear a very important reminder as many many readers like me will found a major surprise of not reading a single word about his son’s marriage with daughter of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Like I said before, the book was published in 2003 as the marriage happened couple of years later.
As a reader, I don’t found the book as extreme superlative of autobiographic writing. Infact I will rate my previous cricket book reading Shoaib Akhtar’s Controversially Yours far better than this. But after all, a Miandad-story in Pakistan cricket should be of prestige as his book will be worth reading for cricket-crazy generations in any corner of library of your heart.