It’s a great honour: Zaheer Abbas on being inducted into ICC Hall of Fame

Zaheer Abbas was inducted into ICC’s Hall of Fame along with former South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis and former Australia skipper Lisa Sthalekar.

Zaheer Abbas

Former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas was on Sunday inducted into ICC Hall of Fame.   -  G. Ramakrishna

Legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar, one of Zaheer Abbas’ old friends and contemporaries, believes ‘Zed’ – as the Pakistan great is fondly referred to – should have been inducted into the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s Hall of Fame, long ago.

But, Gavaskar admitted he was happy that Abbas finally made it to the list. "Better late than never," he said during a live chat on Sunday.

Regarded as the ‘Asian Don Bradman’, Abbas was one of the elegant stroke-players, who not only played the game with elan but also led Pakistan for long. However, it took him 35 years since retirement to enter the Hall of Fame.

Kallis, Abbas, Sthalekar inducted into ICC Hall of Fame  

Speaking to Sportstar from his home in London, Abbas, however, wasn’t too bothered that it took so long. 

Der Aaye Durust Aaye. The fact that it came in the end, is the main thing. It’s a great honour for any player to get into the Hall of Fame and I am privileged,” Abbas said.

The sixth Pakistani in the Hall of Fame - after Hanif Mohammad, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis – Abbas featured in 78 Tests from 1969 to 1985 and amassed 5062 runs, at an average of 44.79. He is also the only batsman from the sub-continent to have scored more than 100 first-class centuries.

Even after hanging up his boots, Abbas served as an ICC match referee and was also the president of the world body. While he admits that the game has come a long way over the years, Abbas feels that the only change it has witnessed is the advent of the T20s, which has changed the dynamics.

Zaheer Abbas played 78 Tests and 62 ODIs for Pakistan, accumulating 5062 and 2572 runs respectively.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

 

“I can only see one change in the game and that’s the T20. Otherwise, the game remains the same. Today’s guys are playing similarly as we did in our times,” Abbas said.

“We are the ones who started playing in the Kerry Packer’s League – there were coloured balls, coloured clothing and the game changed. That’s how it all started, so nothing is new in terms of that. But the only thing that’s different is the T20s,” the former Pakistan captain said.

Abbas has been following the ongoing Test series between England and Pakistan. Though he would have loved to travel to Southampton to see the ‘boys play’, the restrictions forced him to catch the action on television. Already one-up in the series, England is flexing muscles against the visiting side in the third Test, but Abbas hopes there’s a turnaround. “You never know (what happens in Test cricket). Let’s see how things go,” Abbas said.

Before the series got underway, expectations were high from the talented Babar Azam. But the youngster failed to convert the starts. “Babar has a great prospect, but…” Abbas said, indicating that the youngster needs a bit more time. He, however, is excited to see the pool of talent coming out from India and Pakistan. 

“There are some great talents from both (the countries). If one performs well, it not only makes a player happy but also it makes the country proud. So, there are some great prospects,” Abbas said, referring to Azam and Virat Kohli.

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