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Watch: ‘Quicker than Shoaib’ – Mohammad Zahid, Pakistan’s lost gem, rips through New Zealand in debut spell from 1996

Mohammad Zahid has been dubbed by many as the fastest bowler to have ever played the game
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: Mohammad Zahid’s sensational 11-wicket haul on debut against New Zealand in 1996 that propelled the tearaway quick into instant stardom.

In late 1996, New Zealand travelled to Pakistan and won the first Test at Lahore by 44 runs. On a relatively spicy track at Rawalpindi, though, the Kiwis were blown away by 20-year-old debutant Zahid, who became the first Pakistan bowler to pick up a ten-wicket match haul on debut.

The fast bowler accounted for four New Zealand batters in the first innings. He set the tone early by dismissing Justin Vaughan. He then dismissed Adam Parore and forced New Zealand onto the back foot. With Zahid spitting fire and Mushtaq Ahmed spinning webs around the batters, the tourists were shot out for 249.

A couple of days later, he helped Pakistan bundle New Zealand out for 168 and secure a massive innings victory. Five of Zahid’s victims were trapped lbw during the second innings while New Zealand skipper Lee Germon was out bowled.

Zahid’s exploits, coupled with Ijaz Ahmed and Saeed Anwar’s centuries meant that Pakistan levelled the series. From a personal standpoint, it was the best possible start for Zahid. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go to plan thereafter.

The fast bowler only played five Tests in total and could only bagged a further four wickets from his last four Tests. He was ravaged by a serious back problems – an injury that flared up during a tour to Sri Lanka and, Zahid claims, was further aggravated by bowling too many overs before he had fully recovered.

“I told the team management that I was struggling with my back, despite my complaint I was forced to bowl. As a rookie I could not turn them away, by the time the series finished my back gave in and I spent one year in rehabilitation from a career threatening stress fracture,” Zahid remarked in 2011.

Shoaib Akthar, widely regarded as one of the quickest bowlers of all time, has previously raved over Zahid’s speed, stating that Zahid was a yard and a half quicker than him and made him feel like a medium-fast bowler during a charity game.

All of this just makes you wonder how Zahid’s career ended up the way it did. He ended up playing just five Tests and 11 ODIs, scalping 15 and 10 wickets, respectively – numbers hardly befitting of someone who took the world by storm on debut.

Watch Zahid’s sensational Test debut spell here:

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