Ijaz Ahmed (cricketer, born 1968)
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|Full name||Ijaz Ahmed|
20 September 1968 |
Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan
|Batting style||Right-hand bat|
|Bowling style||Left-arm medium|
|Test debut (cap 107)||3 February 1987 v India|
|Last Test||27 March 2001 v New Zealand|
|ODI debut (cap 60)||14 November 1986 v West Indies|
|Last ODI||11 October 2000 v New Zealand|
|Source: Cricinfo, 4 February 2006|
- 1 International career
- 2 Career highlights
- 3 Test Batting
- 4 The event of 21 April 1997
- 5 Ijaz as a fielder
- 6 Isolation from the team and Come back
- 7 Surprising Come Back
- 8 Fake Cheque Scandal
- 9 Ijaz Ahmad as a coach of Pakistan's Under 19 team
- 10 Coach of the National Team
- 11 Personal life
- 12 See More
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Ijaz had the lowest batting average of the team, with a Test average of 38 and an ODI average of 32, but he did hit six Test centuries against the world's top-ranked side for much of his career, Australia – which is a record number of centuries by a Pakistani against Australia, shared with Javed Miandad.
However, in Test cricket he had a habit of being dismissed for low scores, as 33 of his 92 innings yielded single-figure scores and 54 of them yielded scores below 20.
Ijaz Ahmed came into the national side at the height of the Imran Khan era, and remained on the fringes for near a decade, despite several good scores, he struggled to find consistency, a trait for which his legendary captain had little patience, though Imran appreciated his hard work and determination per Wasim Akram. Dropped after the 1992 World Cup (true to his overshadowed nature he played in most of the games including the final, with few highlights, many people are unaware of his presence in the team), he worked on his game and came back strongly the following season and established himself at the pivotal "one down" position. He was competent if not spectacular in this role for many years, though he did play a few highly memorable knocks especially in ODIs. After the 1999 World Cup (where he performed poorly and was blamed for the batting collapse in the final) he was dropped, he returned after a few months, however by then the arrival of Younis Khan, a player who matched Ijaz's determination, but exceeded his talent and technique (though he is also in the unorthodox mould) had made Ijaz's place in the side at one down doubtful and indeed after a few matches against England and then New Zealand in 2000/2001, in which he was singularly unimpressive, he was dropped never to return.
He was a regular in the ODI team especially, as his 250 matches is the seventh-highest of all time in Pakistan, behind Shahid Afridi, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Wasim Akram, Saleem Malik, Younis Khan and Waqar Younis. He appeared in 4 World Cups and was a World Cup winner in 1992. Ijaz was a powerful hitter, especially on the leg side of the pitch.
A powerful hitter of the ball with his bat, Ijaz got popularity, after becoming the 2nd Pakistani Batsman who scored 10 ODI centuries after Saeed Anwar. He played some memorable innings against countries like, India, England, Australia, West Indies, Sri Lanka and South Africa. At Lahore, in 1997, Ijaz collapsed the Indian bowling attack by making a quick century of just 68 balls including 9 sixes, remaining not out for 139*, and this is his highest score in the ODI. In the following year, He again returned with his 132 against Zimababwe in the 3rd and decisive ODI of home series.
In Pepsi cup 1999, played in India, Ijaz helped his team to victory in the second round match against India by scoring 90 not out. Pakistan was given an easy target of 197, but the number of overs were reduced from 50 to 47, due to slow over rate by Pakistan. Initially Pakistan lost its first 3 wickets for just 21 runs, when Ijaz Ahamd joined his traditional partner Inzamam ul Haq and attained victory for their side, both remaining not out on 90 and 78 respectively.
In the same year after Pepsi cup, Pakistan cricket team visited Sharjah to participate in the tri-nation cricket tournament with England and India. In the opening match against England, Ijaz scored a memorable innings of 137 and was out just two runs short of his highest score which he has scored against India in 1997.
In test cricket, Ijaz Ahmed was much significant with his bat. Though he appeared to be unreliable often, Ijaz scored 12 test centuries. Ijaz scored his first and only double century of test cricket against Sri Lanka, when he scored 211. This was the same match, in which Wasim Akram got his second wicket hat-trick, a match which Pakistan eventually won by an innings and 170 runs. Ijaz has also been the top runs maker from Pakistani side against South Africa.
The event of 21 April 1997
On 21 April 1997, in a Test match against Sri Lanka, Ijaz Ahmed was at the crease on 97, when the famous run out attempt by Sri Lankan fielder, Romessh Kaluwitharana, brought ambigouty in the decision. It was difficult for the umpires to tell whether Ijaz should be given run out or if it should be his partner Salim Malik. The TV replays suggested Salim Malik had been run out, that he but eventually the third umpire, K. T. Francis gave his decision against Ijaz Ahmed and so he remained short of his century. However, after repeated replays of the event, Ijaz Ahmad was called back to the crease and Salim Malik was declared as run out. After his return to crease, Ijaz successfully completed his century. This was the first time for a batsman to return from the pavilion to the crease, after being declared out since 1987. 
Ijaz as a fielder
Ijaz Ahmed is regarded as one of the best fielders Pakistan has ever produced. He was an excellent fielder, often inside the circle at square position and mid on. His best fielding in match against Australia in 1999 world cup, initial stage greatly restricted the overflow of runs by Australian batsmen in the final moments of the match. It was due to his best fielding that Pakistan won that match by 10 runs after a thrilling battle.
Isolation from the team and Come back
Ijaz Ahmad was a regular member of the team on one down position, of 1999 cricket world cup played in England from 14 May to 20 June 1999. His performance appeared not too good. He also got injured in the first match of 1999 world cup, when he was hit on the leg by West Indian pacer, Dillon during a successful appeal for LBW at Bristol. This injury affected his performance in rest of the matches and he was dropped from the next match against Scotland. After the dramatic collapse of Pakistani batting line up in 1999 world cup final against Australia, Ijaz remained the top scorer of the innings with 22 runs. He was also the batsman who was surprisingly held responsible for the batting collapse in the final match. This regular succession of poor performances, led to isolation of Ijaz from the national team and so he was not a part of the national team in the Toronto Cricket Festival of 1999 against the West Indies and Sharjah Cup of late 1999. Though he was given a chance in test series against Australia and the Carlton & United Series against India and Australia, during which he performed well both in the test and one day series. In the third test, Ijaz Ahmad scored his 12th test century and sixth against Australia at Perth, a match which Pakistan eventually lost by an Innings and some runs. In the following triangular series, Ijaz Ahmad scored three half centuries, but still he was unable to take the confidence of selectors and was again dropped from the team for than a year.
Surprising Come Back
Following the captaincy crisis of the national team, in the absence of the injured captain, Moin Khan, The Pakistan Cricket Board surprisingly started giving indications of making Ijaz as the interim captain of the team for then the incoming Singapore Challenge series against New Zealand and South Africa. Nevertheless, he was not selected as captain but his come back in the team was confirmed after 14 months. So Ijaz Ahmad joined the team in Singapore in the absence of injured regular skipper, Moin Khan. Waqar Younis was leading the team on emergency basis. Ijaz Ahmad made a brilliant batting come back in the Singapore Challenge Series against New Zealand and South Africa. He scored a quick innings of 49 not out of just 21 balls in a rain affected match, which was reduced to 25 overs per side before toss. Ijaz's Innings helped Pakistan giving a tough target of 192 runs to New Zealand in 25 overs, a match which Pakistan eventually won by 29 runs. In the second match against the South Africans, he scored 67, a match which was won by Pakistan later on. Ijaz Ahamd remained Man of the Match in both matches and also remained the top scorer in every match of this tournament. But again it was his misfortune that beyond all this good performance, he was again dropped from then the incoming ICC Champions Trophy in 2002, and was unseen on the national side, for more than 7 months. He was again given a chance during Pakistan's cricket team tour to New Zealand in 2003, where he was selected for the test squad, but this time he didn't perform well and was dropped from then the incoming ODI series. He has never been a part of National Cricket team since then and eventually announced his formal retirement from both formats of cricket in late 2003.
Fake Cheque Scandal
Ijaz Ahmad was arrested on 25 March 2009, on the grounds that he has submitted a bogus bank cheque of 10 million rupees. It occurred when Police acted against him following a complaint filed against Ijaz Ahmad by two property dealers, for issuing them cheques that had bounced. Fingers and criticism were pointed on Government as soon as the Pakistan's largest daily, The Jang, published the news of his arresting by police. He was taken to cell but later on shifted to room, due to his bad health. However, former Pakistan captain Saleem Malik, who is also Ijaz's brother-in-law, denied that his former team-mate had committed any wrongdoing. "The truth is that these property dealers owe money to Ijaz and they have registered a false case against him," Malik said. Later on the lawyer of Ijaz Ahamd stated to media men that Ijaz has been tortured mentally by the police and asked for justice, saying that it is not the way to treat a national hero. On 16 May 2009, he was freed on bail from imprisonment. In June 2009, the court officially declared the complaint against Ijaz Ahmad as a false attempt to spoil his fame and confirmed his innocence. The court's decision found favour with cricket fans of Ijaz Ahmad and other sports constituencies.
Ijaz Ahmad as a coach of Pakistan's Under 19 team
Ijaz Ahamd was appointed as the coach of Pakistan's under 19 cricket team on 20 October 2009 by the Pakistan Cricket Board. It was under his coaching that the Pakistan's cricket team played brilliantly in the under 19 world cup. Pakistan's team reached final where they lost to Australia in New Zealand. However the overall performance of the team was quite good.
Coach of the National Team
After Pakistan's defeat against New Zealand at UAE in 2009's ODI series and resignation of Younis Khan from the captaincy, changes were made in the team, with Waqar Younis being installed as the coach of Pakistan's cricket team. After Pakistan was white washed by Australia in test, ODI and T20 matches in 2010, Ijaz Ahmad was selected as combined coach with Waqar Younis, a post which Ijaz Ahmad is currently serving on.
Ijaz is married to the sister of his former team-mate Saleem Malik's wife. He has 4 daughters naming Hina,Neha,Safa and Ayesh. All of Ijaz's daughters had been studying in Convent Of Jesus and Mary school, located on Davis Road. Ijaz Ahmed and his daughters Safa Ijaz and Ayesh Ijaz were recently seen on the grand opening of the Salt Cave Spa. (reported from the Sunday Times)
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