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Friday, April 16, 1999 Published at 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK

Pakistan: Player Profiles

Wasim Akram (captain)

Age: 32
Teams: Lancashire, Pakistan International Airlines
Style: Left hand bat; left arm pace

[ image: Wasim Akram ]

Captain of potentially the most fractious team in world cricket, a truly wonderful career has been somewhat tainted by recent allegations of match-fixing and bribery.

Central to the Pakistan side as a strike bowler and clean-hitting lower-order batsman since he made his debut 15 years ago, he has taken more wickets than any other bowler in one-day internationals.

An important member of the team that won the 1992 World Cup, swinging a tight final against England by cleaning up Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis with successive balls. Recently claimed hat-tricks in successive Test matches.

Comes in off a surprisingly short run but generates all his speed from a whippy arm and wrist action. First played for Lancashire in 1988.

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Shahid Afridi

Age: 19
Team: Karachi City Cricket Association
Style: Right hand bat; Leg break

[ image: Shahid Afridi ]

Achieved fame overnight after hitting the fastest ever one-day international century, off 37 balls against Sri Lanka in a triangular tournament in Kenya, having originally been selected as a leg spinner. Even more astonishing, he was only 16 years old at the time.

For a player of such modest experience, it was a remarkable innings, contaning 11 sixes and six fours.

Has struggled with the bat since, hitting only one more hundred in over 70 one-day appearances. Not surprisingly, he has tried too often to repeat his strokeplay of that day in Nairobi.

Is likely to open the innings but will also play his part with leg breaks delivered at almost medium pace.

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Ijaz Ahmed

Age: 30
Team: Habib Bank Limited
Style: Right arm bat; Left arm medium

[ image: Ijaz Ahmed  ]

Never quite fulfilled the promise of early days as a Test player when, at 18, he was seen as one of the brightest prospects to come out of Pakistan.

Dropped for some time, he has now re-established himself as a regular and a player of considerable experience.

Has an unmistakable and awkward batting style, square on with a protruding backside.

Nonetheless, he is a solid striker of the ball, as he showed during his century against England in the Sharjah tournament.

One of the more dependable Pakistani batsman, was top of the averages after last winter's series with Australia.

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Mushtaq Ahmed

Age: 28
Teams: Somerset, Multan, United Bank Limited
Style: Right arm bat; Leg break / googly

[ image: Mushtaq Ahmed ]

Once described by Mark Taylor as the best leg-spinner he had ever faced. Unquestionably a world class bowler, though his form recently has dipped.

A major component of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup-winning team with a telling performance in the final.

Having bamboozled Graeme Hick, trapping him well back on his stumps with a googly, Imran Khan later commented that so clueless was Hick that he might was well have been reading Urdu.

Has a bouncy approach to the wicket, bringing back memories of the great Abdul Qadir.

With his wickets in previous World Cups costing him under 20, and a strike-rate of a wicket ever 29 balls, he has a lot to live up to.

Much will depend on his increasingly dodgy knees. A liability in the field.

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Shoaib Akhtar - wicket

Age: 23
Team: Lahore City Cricket Association
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm fast

[ image: Shoaib Akhtar ]

Has been measured as the quickest bowler in the world. As Waqar Younis has waned, into his place has come Shoaib Akhtar.

Puts everything into each delivery, often sacrificing control as a consequence. But the outcome can be devastating.

Still learning the mysteries of reverse swing, but will doubtless pick it up quick enough from the Waqars and Wasims of the side.

The first man to bowl Sachin Tendulkar first ball in a Test match. Young enough to go a long, long way.

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Saeed Anwar

Age: 30
Team: United Bank Limited
Style: Left hand bat; Left arm orthodox

[ image: Saeed Anwar ]

One of the supreme opening batsmen in world cricket. Can dismantle a bowling attack in the opening overs of Test and one-day international cricket by playing both deft glances and cavalier swipes.

Recently became the third Pakistani player to pass 6000 one-day international runs, with an imposing 15 centuries.

Is without his long-standing opening partner Aamir Sohail - another left-handed dasher - but he is able to carry the attack single-handedly.

Once hit three successive one-day centuries in Sharjah. His 194 against India in 1997 is the highest one-day international score.

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Age: 29
Teams: United Bank Limited, Multan
Style: Right hand bat; Left arm orthodox

[ image: Inzamam-ul-Haq ]

As would be expected by his hefty build, Inzamam can be a ferocious striker of the ball. There is nothing delicate or dainty in the way he sets about bowlers but the results can be spectacular.

As a relative unknown in the 1992 World Cup he launched a stinging counter-attack of 60 off 37 balls to resurrect a stalling Pakistan run chase against New Zealand in the semi-finals.

Can look dozy at the crease when hunched over his bat and his running between the wickets often leaves a lot to be desired.

Once took a spectator to task with his bat for hurling abuse and calling him a potato when fielding on the boundary in a one-day match in Toronto.

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Moin Khan (wicketkeeper)

Age: 27
Teams: Pakistan International Airlines, Karachi City Cricket Association
Style: Right hand bat; Wicketkeeper

[ image: Moin Khan ]

A durable and dependable wicketkeeper and a street fighter with the bat. Now a regular in the side after playing second fiddle to Rashid Latif for a while.

Works on the principal that if you appeal for everything the umpire is eventually going to give someone out. Never short of a word of advice for his team-mates, he is now vice-captain.

Has surprised a few by playing many courageous innings, including three Test centuries and five one-day fifties for Pakistan.

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Azhar Mahmood

Age: 24
Team: Islamabad
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium

[ image: Azhar Mahmood ]

Surprised even the Pakistani selectors when, chosen as a medium pace seamer against South Africa, he scored 128 not out and 50 not out on his Test match debut.

He followed that with two centuries in next four Tests, each time against a strong South African bowling attack.

His batting form has been nowhere near as potent in the limited-overs version of the game but, where his bowling has been a bit toothless in Tests, he has chipped in with wickets in over 50 one-day international appearances.

An alert cricketer, he is always a danger in the field.

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Salim Malik

Age: 36
Teams: Habib Bank International, Lahore City Cricket Association, Essex
Style: Right hand bat; Leg break

[ image: Salim Malik ]

Despite not even being in the provisional squad of 30 for the World Cup, Pakistan simply could not afford to leave a player of Malik's class and experience at home.

A veteran of over 100 Tests and a one-day career approaching 300 matches, there is little he has not seen or achieved since making his Test debut in 1981. He was the first batsman to master Shane Warne, long before the start of the leg-spinner's shoulder problems.

The connection between his initial absence from Pakistan's World Cup plans and his implication with Wasim Akram in the on-going bribery and match-fixing hearings cannot be ignored.

One of the most elegant batsmen of his generation, he has scored almost 6,000 Test match and over 7,000 one-day international runs. This is his fourth World Cup.

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Saqlain Mushtaq

Age: 22
Teams: Surrey, Pakistan International Airlines
Style: Right hand bat; Off spin

[ image: Saqlain Mushtaq ]

English fans will be only too well aware of the impact Saqlain Mushtaq had on Surrey's championship run last year.

A total of 63 wickets in 12 matches before international duties called him away from The Oval - mostly on supposedly seamer-friendly early season wickets - saw Surrey set the pace for almost the entire the season.

A prodigious spinner of the ball, Saqlain also has a mystery delivery in his repertoire.

Developed as a youngster by experimenting with a table tennis ball, he can bowl a genuine leg break with an off spinner's action. Time after time batsman are deceived into edging to slip.

Despite his success in England, Pakistan's selectors have not always been convinced by Saqlain's abilities. That is now starting to change as he approaches 100 Test and 200 one-day wickets.

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Abdur Razzaq

Age: 19
Team: Lahore City Cricket Association
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium-fast

Virtually unknown outside Pakistan before selection, has no Test experience and has played in only a handful of one-day internationals.

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Wajahatullah Wasti

Age: 24
Teams: Peshawar, Allied Bank
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm medium-fast

A new face in the side. Created a stir by recently hitting two centuries in only his second Test match against Sri Lanka.

Had played in only a single one-day international before selection for the final squad of 15 but, with only two Pakistanis having hit twin hundreds in the same match before him, the selectors could hardly ignore his claim.

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Yousuf Youhana

Age: 24
Team: Bahawalpur
Style: Right hand bat

[ image: Yousuf Youhana ]

A young middle-order batsman with a reputation for elegance and courage. Only recently broke into the Pakistan side, but has already hit centuries in both Tests and one-day internationals.

Confident and fluent through the covers and off his legs.

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Waqar Younis

Age: 27
Teams: Glamorgan, Surrey, United Bank Limited
Style: Right hand bat; Right arm fast

[ image: Waqar Younis ]

At his best unplayable. Put the art of reverse swing on the map by mastering the most vicious inswinging yorker imaginable - all at a blistering pace.

Those days might be over, however. Last year's ill-fated season with Glamorgan was cut short through injury and he has more often than not been absent from the Pakistan side over the winter.

Suffered from back problems which caused him to miss the 1992 World Cup and almost all the 1995 season, though he still managed to reach 200 wickets in the least number of Test matches (joint with Dennis Lillee).

His smooth action and all-out aggression have already made his new-ball partnership with Wasim Akram the stuff of legend.

Like all legends, never fails to surprise and could return lean and hungry for more.

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