Fans have voted Pakistan’s 12-run win over India at Chennai in 1999 as the team’s greatest game match to date in the country’s 432-Test history, according to a press release issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday.
The Test was played from January 28 to 31 with Pakistan coming back from behind to win back-to-back games on the Indian soil.
From July 26 to 29, PCB ran a poll regarding Pakistan’s greatest Test win on its official Facebook page and Twitter handle in which 15,847 fans cast their votes.
An vast 65 per cent of votes went to the 1999 Chennai Test, while the 1987 Bangalore Test, the 1954 Oval Test and the 1994 Karachi Test received 15pc, 11pc and 10pc votes, respectively.
The poll received nearly 109,000 impressions on Twitter and reached of 1.02 million users on Facebook, according to the PCB press release. The initiative was launched to celebrate the commencement of the World Test Championship, which will take place in England today.
The World Test Championship, which kicks-off with the Ashes series, will put the nine top-ranked sides in the world compete in the tournament, with each side playing six series on a home-and-away basis against jointly selected opponents in the two-year cycle. The top two teams will play the final in June 2021.
Pakistan’s run in the long-anticipated championship will start in October when they will host Sri Lanka for a two-match Test series.
An independent panel of cricket experts and historians which included Benedict Bermange, Mazher Arshad, Dr Nauman Niaz, Osman Samiuddin and Qamar Ahmed selected the four tests for the poll.
Wasim Akram, the skipper of that Pakistan squad, while reminiscing the Chennai Test said: “If all those who watched it live can still get goosebumps, just imagine the emotions, reactions and feelings of those who were directly involved in that match. We talk a lot about pressure cricket and a match of fluctuating fortunes, well, if anyone wants to know what pressure is and how to handle and deliver in it, then Chennai Test is the benchmark.”
“I was involved in three of the four Tests that were shortlisted and cannot agree more with the fans’ choice of the 1999 Chennai Test as Pakistan’s greatest Test to date.”
“For me, three things from the Chennai Test will always remain fresh: Shahid Afridi’s sublime 141 in the second innings, Saqlain Mushtaq’s five-for in both the innings and Chennai crowd’s standing ovation. Let’s not forget this was our first Test in India since the 1987 Bangalore Test victory and we had arrived in Chennai unsure of the public response.”
“So, our 12-run victory was also Chennai crowd’s victory and the fans’ decision is a testament to that.”
Shahid Afridi, who scored a total of 152 runs in the match and took three wickets in the first innings, said: “Now, that the fans have voted the 1999 Chennai Test as Pakistan’s greatest Test, it is a perfect icing on the cake. I feel honoured to have been part of that mercurial side that had all the grace, class, talent and above all, ability to win from any stage.”
“I am delighted that the fans got an opportunity to remember and cherish the epic feats of our team. I congratulate the stars of the 1999 team. That the victory is still being celebrated after more than two decades underscores its magnificence and what it means to the fans of Pakistan cricket,” said PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan.
“Pakistan will continue to play its role in the development of the game. I expect a record viewership for the final of the ICC World Test Championship in June 2021 which, hopefully, Pakistan will be a part of,” he added.
- October 2019 – v Sri Lanka (two home Tests)
- November 2019 – v Australia (two away Tests)
- January 2020 – v Bangladesh (two home Tests)
- July/August 2020 – v England (three away Tests)
- December 2020 – v New Zealand (two away Tests)
- January 2021 – v South Africa (two home Tests)