Arshad Khan – A Tall and Conventional Restrictive Bowler
Off Spinner Arshad Khan was born on March 22, 1971, in Peshawar, Pakistan. Arshad Khan was a tall man at 6’4″, bowls in a classical off-spinner mold, preferring a nagging line to any great variation. He was an extremely talented bowler but could not shine due to the brilliance of Saqlain Mushtaq.
In 1997-98, he was first picked to play against West Indies. He was part of the Pakistan cricket team which won the first Asian Test Championship at Dhaka. In the final match against Sri Lanka, he took 5 for 38 to help Pakistan. He has a refreshingly conventional action, developed into a steady, restrictive bowler.
Arshad Khan made his first-class debut in 1988-89, and had to wait till 1992-93 before representing Pakistan at the national level. He has been in the bad books of the selectors, which irritates the off-break bowler. He laments that, after representing Pakistan with distinction, not considered eligible to play for the country. Therefore, experienced youngsters were preferred over him for reasons better known to the selectors at that time.
In 1998, his cricketing abilities take a twist to captain the Pakistan team participating in the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. At some time, he was a regular member of the Pakistan team. But his in-and-out dilemma put him in a difficult situation. But he worked hard to present a strong performance in the domestic championship and earned a recall for the Pakistan tour of India in 2005. In this Test, he picked two crucial wickets, including Rahul Dravid.
The tall right-arm off-break bowler performed really well in the Bangalore Test match. Where Pakistan achieved a victory in the last session to draw the series. The vintage bowler is bowling with the conventional approach to his art reliant on the bounce and, on certain pitches, significant turn. In 2006, one of his career highlights was taking the wicket of Indian legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar in an ODI.
After that, he was also part of the Caribbean tour in May 2005 and retained his spot for the crucial series against England in the same year. He has the ability to kick a ball at any surface due to its height. Arshad Khan proved an economical bowler during the one-day international series against England.
His tight off-spin bowling proved effective in repressing England batsmen. He conceded very few runs to be scored off him and took wickets. In the fifth match, his economy rate was just 3 runs per over, a very satisfactory performance for a spinner. Moreover, Saqlain Mushtaq’s rapid rise in cricket limited his opportunities.
In 2007, he was the captain of Peshawar Panthers, who won the ABN AMRO Cup Gold League. Arshad Khan struggled hard to come back to the Pakistan team but could not succeed. Eventually, he has finished all hopes of a comeback to singing the unsanctioned ICL (Indian Cricket League). Along with him, many other players were banned from representing this League, including star openers Imran Farhat and Taufiq Umar.
Arshad Khan recalls the moment when he almost single-handedly won Pakistan their series against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka where he earned praise from quarters including Wisden, which applauded his efforts in Saqlain Mushtaq’s absence. When he failed to deliver the performance in a crucial match of the ICC Knockout Tournament in Kenya in 2000. He is not even called to the camps anymore but even after getting such treatment which he didn’t deserve at all. After that, he was just considered a solitary Test against England, in which he took three wickets.
Saqlain Mushtaq was a world-class spinner, and it has always been difficult for him to prove in his presence, but when he is not in the team, certainly he deserves a place in the team. Arshad Khan always played to the best of his abilities to play for Pakistan whenever he has asked to play the role of a sole spinner in the absence of Saqlain Mushtaq.
The only bad match that brought disrepute to his career was a game in Kenya where he sent for more than 55 runs, which were not as bad as the figure suggested. Pakistan lost the match, and he was axed for years just for one bad performance. Arshad Khan is personally a big fan of Saqlain Mushtaq, It was a healthy competition between the two to win the match for Pakistan. For most of his career, he had tried to make come back and play for a return to the national side.
He bowled some outstanding spells and never once let the team regret Saqlain’s absence. He proved in Sri Lanka, that he was a lethal bowler without Saqlain. In the Sharjah Cup and in the final of Asia Cup 2000, Arshad Khan took quick wickets and helped Pakistan snatch victory from the jaws of two likely defeats, all in the absence of Saqlain. He never understands why he was axed after such a match-winning spell.
Arshad Khan’s brief career lasted for nine tests and 58 ODI for Pakistan, which ended in 2006. He was last seen on the international level against India at Rawalpindi in a One-day international match. The saddest part is that, after a cricket career, he turns into an Uber taxi driver in Sydney similar to that of New Zealand player, Ewen Chatfield, who drives a cab in Wellington.
Arshad Khan Cricket Stats
Tests: 9 matches; 32 wickets at 30.00 Best Bowling 5 for 38
ODIs: 58 matches; 56 wickets at 34.78 Best Bowling 4 for 33
First-class: 187 matches; 601 wickets at 24.07 Best Bowling 8 for 80
Twenty20: 9 matches; 7 wickets at 33.71 Best Bowling 2 for 40