ADELAIDE: Pakistan and Australia go into Friday’s World Cup quarter-final burdened by a history of tension, setting the stage for an explosive contest at the Adelaide Oval.
Pakistan’s head coach Waqar Younis admits previous matches between the two teams have been hard-fought and he expected another tough contest for a place in the semi-finals.
“I won’t call Australia bitter rivals but there is a fierce rivalry that should provide for a high-intensity game,” Waqar, one of the game’s great fast bowling exponents, told AFP.
“We respect each other but do not give an inch on the field of play.”
The hostilities began in 1981 when Pakistani great Javed Miandad almost came to blows with Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee during a Test match in Perth.
Lillee appeared to have deliberately obstructed Miandad who was about to complete a single and the volatile Pakistani pushed the bowler and threatened to hit him with the bat.
Lillee kicked Miandad before the umpires and fielders intervened to stop things from getting out of control.
Lillee was fined, but the incident led to acrimonious verbal duels between the two teams for the rest of the series.
Miandad remembered the incident as the worst of his career.
“It is hard to forget,” said Miandad. “We have that history of bitter Test matches but I suppose this is part and parcel of cricket.”
It was Miandad who in 1988 suggested Australia should “pack their bags and go home” from Pakistan after controversial umpiring forced the Australians to react sharply.
The most notorious incident between the two nations came about on Australia’s tour to Pakistan in 1994 when Shane Warne and Tim May alleged then Pakistan captain Salim Malik offered them bribes to underperform in the Karachi Test.
Mark Waugh also went on record to say Malik had asked him to underperform in a one-day match in Rawalpindi.
The allegations forced the Pakistan government to conduct a judicial inquiry which heard testimonies from, among others, the three players in Australia before Malik and paceman Ataur Rehman were banned for life.
Six top players, including Waqar, spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed and Waqar’s pace partner Wasim Akram, were fined.
Pakistan losing to Australia in a one-sided final of the 1999 World Cup held in England also became the basis of another match-fixing inquiry by the Justice Karamat Bhandari commission, but all the players were absolved of any wrongdoing.
The 2003 World Cup also saw a bitter end to the match between the two countries at Johannesburg.
Pakistan wicket-keeper Rashid Latif was reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a racial slur on his Australian counterpart Adam Gilchrist.
ICC match referee Clive Lloyd conducted an inquiry but Latif faced no action as evidence was inconclusive but it left a bad taste between the two set of players. -AFP