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Interview with Rameez Raja.

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  Rameez Raja is Pakistan's former Captain and opening batsman. Till the time of this interview, Rameez Raja has played 198 ODI's for Pakistan and 57 tests. In ODIs he has scored 5841 runs, hit 9 centuries and 31 fifties for an average of 32.09. In test cricket he has scored 2833 runs at an average of 31.83 with 2 centuries and 22 fifties. He took some time out to chat to us on the IRC channel #cricket, live from Lahore on 24 June 1998. Questions were accepted via the live chat channel and via email. Suhael Ahmed assisted in the interview while Rick Eyre (Rick on IRC) was the moderator.

Rick: I would like to welcome to CricInfo and to #cricket, Rameez Raja, Pakistan Test batsman and former captain. We have received a number of questions via email which we shall be asking during the interview.

Rameez Raja: Its nice to be here in Lahore

Rick: Where the same question has been asked more than once we have chosen the best-written question. If you have any questions for Rameez today please msg me. And on to the first question:

Lenin Gani: Dear Mr Rameez, Who inspired you to take up cricket?

Rameez Raja: Initially it was my brother Waseem Raja and later on I was inspired by my local club colleagues Messrs Imran Khan and Majid Khan.

Azim: Ramiz: How's your big brother Wasim doing these days? I'm a great admirer of his batting and bowling!! How do you rate him as a bowler and a batsman?

Rameez Raja: Waseem is teaching in Surrey, he's doing well, On bowling he was an extremely talented bowler but less utilised as a Bat, I would rate him amongst the most talented of his time.

Luqman: Hi Rameez. Would you like to captain Pakistan again? Who do you think should captain Pakistan? Will you be back in the team soon?

Rameez Raja: Things arn't very encouraging for me to go back in the team because of various reasons. Under the present circumstances, Aamer looks like a good choice. If I find it enjoyable I'll be back again.

Rick: Following on from that question:

farzi: Do you think considering the amount of young talent available to Pakistan right now, that you can still make a comback into the Pakistan team? And don't u think that Pakistan should now be looking more towards the younger players for selection?

Rameez Raja: I totally agree with your thoughts, youngsters are here to stay but would operate much better with seasoned campaigners with them.

Mohammad Khan: Do you think that there is more talent in Pakistani team than any other team in the world?

Rameez Raja: Considering the fact that players come from a weak system as compared to other countries we are still managing to produce fast bowlers of immense talent and pace and batsmen of calibre like Yousuf Youhana and this speaks well of our future.

S. Venkata Chari: Hi Rameez, I admire you as a opening batsman.. very lot. But i'm very sad to your performance as a captain. Why is that bad? Did your team supported you fully? Are you satisfied with the way.. things have gone under your captaincy period?

Rameez Raja: I did not have the top players playing under me during my captaincy also winning was not that important to me than making the available players role models and projecting our team as ambassadors.

Srinivas Pittala: What is more important to be a captain. Is it his record/form or tactics?

Rameez Raja: I believe tactics and form play the most important role. A cpatain must formulate a plan and then get players to play around those laid down strategies.

cricketer: Assalam-o-Alekum Ramiz Sahib. I liked your style of batting very much when you first started. How come you toned down so much afterwards?
Why was that flair gone?

Rameez Raja: Initially when you start your career you try to prove your potential and talent. Later on you try to mould yourself according to the requirement of the team. I became an opener and had to play out a full quota of 50 overs as demanded by the Captain and the team to win ODIs. So I had to pace my innings in a way that would suit the team strategy. I became successful in ODIs with 9 centuries primarily for this reason.

Salman Haroon: Rameez Bhai which is your most memorable and brilliant inning in ODI and in Test match?

Rameez Raja: My innings in the semi final of the 1989 Nehru cup against England, where we had to score 190 odd runs in 26 overs in a rain curtailed match to qualify for the finals. I scored 88 not out and won the MOM award. And in Tests, my entire series against the WI on the WI tour of 1988 holds a special place.

KOK: What are your comments about the legendary innings of saeed anwar at chennai against india in which he set the world record ? What do you expect from him in the future?

Rameez Raja: It was truly a great innings most people do not know that he was using my cricket bat! :-) I would like him to lead from the front as Sachin does for his team and change the whole psyche of our team.

Rick: Did he give it back? :-) The bat that is?

Rameez Raja: Of course NOT!!**!!*!

Rick: hehe

Zaman Zaki, Tokyo: Mr. Raja: Could you please tell us now a days why Waqar Yunus is not performing well specially in the One Day Cricket. Recently his performence is not up to his standard. He is conceding more runs and getting less number of wickets, as a result team is suffering. Is he physically fit or anything else?

Rameez Raja: I feel that Pak cricketers do not often play to the laid down strategies. ODI cricket is all about team combination and at times one has to perform within the set rules laid down by the team. Our fast bowlers tend to bowl too fast when it is not necessarily required as was the case in Toronto last year where India outplayed us through a medium pacer like Ganguly. Waqar needs to cut down his pace at times and bowl a good line to contain the runs.

Rick: A reminder to all that if you have any questions for Rameez Raja please msg me

Mayank Mashru: Do you think the pakistan selectors have done the right thing by sacking players like Salim Malik and yourself just like that? As far as I remember Salim had performed extremely well in the Sahara cup and they dropped him immediately after Series.What are your views on that?

Rameez Raja: Its up to the selectors and the Board to decide on Saleem or myself.

Faisal Butt: From the present current crop of young Pakistan, who do you think has the makings to become a new sensation?

Rameez Raja: I think Shoaib Akhtar, the fast bowler. He was clocked 155kph in South Africa recently and for a newbie he has an excellent bouncer and a fast developing yorker which is great. On the batsmen, I feel it will take another couple of seasons for Yousuf Youhana and Mohammed Wasim to blossom.

imi20: who is the better captain for the team right now (except u)?

Rameez Raja: :-) Aamer Sohail looks to be the right choice after his good work in RSA.

Danish: In your view who do you think should be the coach of Pakistan from the recent 2 candidates that have been picked i.e. Boycott and Javed Miandad....Which one do you think should be the coach....If Boycott was the coach do you think they might have a problem with the language...?

Rameez Raja: I believe that under the present scenario it has become imperative that a non Pakistani be made the coach, this will help to clear the ambiguities among the players, team selection and various allegations. As the foreign coach will decide on the issues without any fear or favour. Boycs should be an excellent choice especially after working with him in the TWI commentary box.

Mayank Mashru: Rameez, who according to you is the best batsman in the world today and why?

Rameez Raja: If it makes you happy I really do believe that Sachin tops my list.

Rick: Several people asked for your opinion on Tendulkar actually :-)

Rameez Raja: Well its there and I believe it :-)

imi20: Dont u think so that moin is better than rashid for onedayers as he is a better batsman and a reasonable wicket keeper?

Rameez Raja: Both Moin and Rashid have their advantages and there is very little to choose between them.

Sanjay Aggarwal: I have always been a fan of Jimmy (Mohinder) Amarnath. Clive Lloyd emphatically stated that he was the best player of fast bowling in the world ever. Your impressions about Jimmy's batting style in the 1980's?

Rameez Raja: To update you, to find a quality batsman against fast bowling, look for players who play the hook shot well and can also drive on the front foot. Jimmy had them both and therefore, was a wonderful player of fast bowling.

T.Sankara Narayanan: Whom do you admire most among Indian Cricketers?

Rameez Raja: Sachin Tendulkar, Azharuddin, Ganguly of the present and Sunil Gavaskar and Mohinder Amarnath of the past.

Mohammad Khan: Muneeb: What are the chances of the Pakistan and India team coming and playing in United States?

Rameez Raja: It all depends on the promoter and the availabilty of the players. It will indeed be a sell out venture and good for overseas communities.

kala: Dear Sir, last year many key Pakistani players could not take part in the Sahara cup due to county duties . This year once again the County matches and the Commonwealth games may influence the selection . Is there anything being done about it? Please comment.

Rameez Raja: The players have to themselves decide whether to play the Sahara or the county season. Personally, I would like them to represent Pakistan team which has made them heros world over. Pak is apparently sending an 'A' team to CW98.

Prabhjot Gill: What was the main factor in Pakistan's defeat in Sahar Cup 97 when India was not even playing with front line bowlers?

Rameez Raja: They expolited the conditions effectively and much better than we did. They were also technically much better equipped in batting to play on those surfaces than us. These were seaming wickets and the ball had to be bowled on a nice tight line to take advantage of the pitch in which we failed again.

: What is your opinion about Shahid Afridi?

Rameez Raja: Shahid Afridi has potential to become a good allrounder, however, he has to decide how quickly he nurtures his extravagant batting style to become more consistent and successful at the top level.

sai: What do you think about the sceneraio of present one day cricket as it has become more faster and it seems getting runs is more important rather than technical skills?

Rameez Raja: I disagree, so many new developments have come forth with ODI cricket and the game has become more exciting with players always looking to experiment to unveil their true potential which test cricket hinders. New cricketing shots are being tried out, fielding standards have improved and players generally have improved on their cricketing IQ.

M.R. Akhtar: Do you think that International teams should have two separate teams for ODIs and Tests?

Rameez Raja: I think two teams are a good idea but feel the captain should be the same for both forms of cricket.

Mr^Boston: Rameez I have watched you play for a very long seemed to always get caught when the ball was pitched short of a length around your legs and you often scooped the ball up to the mid on fielder...didn't anyone point that out to you while you were playing or did you not work enough
of that weakness?

Rameez Raja: A player has to play to his strengths to become successful I have been predominantly an onside player and have scored a number of runs thru mid on and mid wicket region and in the process I have often holed out on a mishit. I could not have given up on my scoring shots which also saw me lose my wicket from time to time. Thank you for your observation.

Penfold: sneaking in a semi-coaching question: How do you face a legspinner like Warne? Do you just wait for the bad balls, or are there ways of trying to put him off his line, make good balls into hittable ones and so on?

Rameez Raja: It is important that you read a legspinner from his hand. The reason why Indians and Pakistanis are good against legspinners is because we try to read the ball from the palm rather than off the wicket. Normally against spinners one needs to use ones feet to get to the pitch of the ball to smother the spin and be in an ideal positin to dictate. Against Shane however, this could be rather risky as he has the abilty to spin the ball even from near the bat. I suggest that you play him from the crease and try to drive him thru cover and extra cover to cater for his leg spin which is his wicket taking ball.

Mr^Boston: Rameez how do you rank Mushtaq as compared to Warne and Abdul Qadir?

Rameez Raja: Mushi is a bubbly character and has an excellent wrong'un probably the best among the lot you have mentioned. All three are special on various counts.

Amit Duggal: World cup 1999 is not far away. Where do you think India, Pakistan and Srilanka at present deserve to rank among the nations in one-day cricket and how are their chances of winning the world cup?

Rameez Raja: Amongst the three you have mentioned the Indians look pretty comfortable with their team balance for the WC99. Sri Lankans are experimenting with new players and are finding it difficult to live up to their invincible stature. Pakistan is also going thru a crisis of team management and restructuring of the team. I feel the South Africans look the best of the lot at present.

Spooky: I have a question - gimmie a straight answer to New Zealands
cricket problems?

Rameez Raja: They need a quality fast bowler and classy batsman to prop them up quickly. Ifeel right now they have a team of talented players but without a world class performer.

Mr^Boston: Rameez how much longer do you think you will play first class cricket?

Rameez Raja: It all depends on my enjoying the sport, right now nothing excites me more than to commentate on the international media and to be more construcive and meaningful in life.

Samir Akram: What r yr future plans? Wud u still join the team or wud like to be a selector or probably coach?

Rameez Raja: I have got a few things lined up for myself. Writing articles, cricket commentary, coaching and banking seem to be my future plans.

raashed: Are there any specific bodybuilding exercises that you perform?

Rameez Raja: They cant be called bodybuilding exercises. Basic training schedule involves light weight training, running, skipping, and stomach exercises to keep the back going.

JPatel5333: How these two cricket team india and pakistan can bring peace in the sub-continent? seems to me look like it's not possible (peace) through politics of either side but do you think the game of cricket can bring peace and the people together with peace and love forever?

Rameez Raja: Sports transcends all boundaries. It should be followed in spirit and also be utilized to reduce tension amongst India and Pakistan.

Rick: Finally, Rameez: What plans do you have as a coach for the future?

Rameez Raja: I am available to coach thru the internet and also at home to the school going kids who do not have any access to such a facility. I am available if required to devote some time interactive and via written email.

Rick: That's good. We'll remember that :-)

Rick: OK, I would like to thank Rameez Raja for spending the last couple of hours with us. And on behalf of all watching through CricInfo and #cricket wish you all the best for the future.

Rameez Raja: It was a pleasure to be able to chat with all of you and hope to see you again. Thank you for your kind wishes. Bye

MacTrev` says Rameez Bye Bye Spot YOU Later!

chan: Rick: Was Rameez speaking in English??

Rick: he sure was.

chan: kewl

Rick: Thanks to everyone who contributed to this Suhael for his part in organizing the interview and all our viewers with questions.

Our thanks to the QDO for making this interview possible. 

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Date-stamped : 25 Jun1998 - 22:19