I’ve been a fan of Abdul Razzaq since the 1999 World Cup. I was having an all-rounder phase at the time, and the thought of this “teenager” who could bat at No.3 and bowl tidy medium really appealed to me. Even though his career has stalled, tripped and occasionally landed him in a rebel league, I’ve always kept the love for him.
I can see why people love him, he hits a big six, and seems to play cricket with almost no effort. But for me, it’s the little details of Razzaq that I enjoy.
I love Pakistani cricketers because they way often play cricket with every emotion they have. It’s like an audition for the school play. Razzaq is different. Even after he hits a big six his pulse never seems to register an increase. Nothing seems to please him while the cricket is on. Although, nothing really displeases him either. It’s a steady emotion of almost nothingness.
For instance, batsmen have many different ways of looking at their own sixes. Eoin Morgan gives the ball an angry stare. Cameron White looks uncomfortable. Shane Watson can’t decide whether to hold the pose or smile. And Jesse Ryder smirks. Razzaq seems uninterested in them. Almost like someone else has hit them. He takes his gloves off, has a chat with the non-striker, and keeps the same face on. It’s a beautiful habit.
On a good day, he might give you a cheeky half-smile, or a touch of frown. On his normal days he just cements a perfect semi-grimace on his face. The difference between his smile and his frown is so small that sometimes getting a wicket doesn’t change it enough to be noticeable. It’s always a subtle performance from his face, and one I loved to watch for.
His posture should be mentioned as well – straighter than a Mississippi preacher. His bowling action can be performed with a book on his head. Possibly because of this stiff action he gets almost no pace. Well, that and the fact he is probably 50 by now. It’s almost camp – a stiff-backed prance with a high arm and relaxed pace. Almost beyond parody.
Yesterday he was at his brutal best, where his grimace sort of becomes his cold-blooded assassin look. Just swiping the ball away, and never letting the emotion of the crowd or his team mates get him. In fact, the more the crowd got excited, the more he seemed worried with the strapping on his glove.
Razzaq would be the perfect assassin in some European film. Getting the job done, not letting the moment get to him, staying cool, and ensuring his weapons were ready for the next job. Graceful and suave, although not big on dialogue. A stunning performance. I gave it five stars.
Jrod blogs at cricketwithballs.com