Test CareerIjaz made his Test debut against India in Chennai in 1987; Ijaz started his career as a late order batsman and scored his first fifty in Leeds later that year. Ijaz scored his first Test century against Australia at Faisalabad in 1988. His knock was special as it helped rescue Pakistan from a shambolic 25/4 to a respectable 316. Ijaz seemed to reserve his best for the Aussies scoring 6 of his 12 Test hundreds against them. Ijaz had the lowest batting average of the team, with a Test average of 38 and an ODI average of 32, but he did hit six Test centuries against the world's top-ranked side for much of his career, Australia which is a record number of centuries by a Pakistani against Australia, shared with Javed Miandad.
The event of 21 April 1997On 21 April 1997, in a Test match against Sri Lanka, Ijaz Ahmed was at the crease on 97, when the famous run out attempt by Sri Lankan fielder, Romessh Kaluwitharana, brought ambiguity in the decision. It was difficult for the umpires to tell whether Ijaz should be given run out or if it should be his partner Salim Malik. The TV replays suggested Salim Malik had been run out, that he but eventually the third umpire, K. T. Francis gave his decision against Ijaz Ahmed and so he remained short of his century. However, after repeated replays of the event, Ijaz Ahmad was called back to the crease and Salim Malik was declared as run out. After his return to crease, Ijaz successfully completed his century. This was the first time for a batsman to return from the pavilion to the crease, after being declared out since 1987.
Career achievementsA powerful hitter of the ball with his bat, Ijaz got popularity, after becoming the 2nd Pakistani Batsman who scored 10 ODI centuries after Saeed Anwar. He played some memorable innings against countries like, India, England, Australia, West Indies, Sri Lanka and South Africa. At Lahore, in 1997, Ijaz collapsed the Indian bowling attack by making a quick century of just 68 balls including 9 sixes, remaining not out for 139*, and this is his highest score in the ODI. In the following year, He again returned with his 132 against Zimababwe in the 3rd and decisive ODI of home series.In Pepsi cup 1999, played in India, Ijaz helped his team to victory in the second round match against India by scoring 90 not out. Pakistan was given an easy target of 197, but the number of overs were reduced from 50 to 47, due to slow over rate by Pakistan. Initially Pakistan lost its first 3 wickets for just 21 runs, when Ijaz Ahamd joined his traditional partner Inzamam ul Haq and attained victory for their side, both remaining not out on 90 and 78 respectively.
Test battingIn test cricket, Ijaz Ahmed was much significant with his bat. Though he appeared to be unreliable often, Ijaz scored 12 test centuries. Ijaz scored his first and only double century of test cricket against Sri Lanka, when he scored 211. This was the same match, in which Wasim Akram got his second wicket hat-trick, a match which Pakistan eventually won by an innings and 170 runs. Ijaz has also been the top runs maker from Pakistani side against South Africa.
Ijaz as a fielderIjaz Ahmed is regarded as one of the best fielders Pakistan has ever produced. He was an excellent fielder, often inside the circle at square position and mid on. His best fielding in match against Australia in 1999 world cup, initial stage greatly restricted the overflow of runs by Australian batsmen in the final moments of the match. It was due to his best fielding that Pakistan won that match by 10 runs after a thrilling battle.
Isolation from the team and come backIjaz Ahmad was a regular member of the team on one down position, of 1999 cricket world cup played in England from 14 May to 20 June 1999. His performance appeared not too good. He also got injured in the first match of 1999 world cup, when he was hit on the leg by West Indian pacer, Dillon during a successful appeal for LBW at Bristol. This injury affected his performance in rest of the matches and he was dropped from the next match against Scotland. After the dramatic collapse of Pakistani batting line up in 1999 world cup final against Australia, Ijaz remained the top scorer of the innings with 22 runs. He was also the batsman who was surprisingly held responsible for the batting collapse in the final match. This regular succession of poor performances, led to isolation of Ijaz from the national team and so he was not a part of the national team in the Toronto Cricket Festival of 1999 against the West Indies and Sharjah Cup of late 1999. Though he was given a chance in test series against Australia and the Carlton & United Series against India and Australia, during which he performed well both in the test and one day series. In the third test, Ijaz Ahmad scored his 12th test century and sixth against Australia at Perth, a match which Pakistan eventually lost by an Innings and some runs. In the following triangular series, Ijaz Ahmad scored three half centuries, but still he was unable to take the confidence of selectors and was again dropped from the team for than a year.
Surprising come backThe Pakistan Cricket Board surprisingly started giving indications of making Ijaz as the interim captain of the team for then the incoming Singapore Challenge series against New Zealand and South Africa. Nevertheless, he was not selected as captain but his come back in the team was confirmed after 14 months. So Ijaz Ahmad joined the team in Singapore in the absence of injured regular skipper, Moin Khan. Waqar Younis was leading the team on emergency basis. Ijaz Ahmad made a brilliant batting come back in the Singapore Challenge Series against New Zealand and South Africa. He scored a quick innings of 49 not out of just 21 balls in a rain affected match, which was reduced to 25 overs per side before toss. Ijaz's Innings helped Pakistan giving a tough target of 192 runs to New Zealand in 25 overs, a match which Pakistan eventually won by 29 runs. In the second match against the South Africans, he scored 67, a match which was won by Pakistan later on. Ijaz Ahamd remained Man of the Match in both matches and also remained the top scorer in every match of this tournament. But again it was his misfortune that beyond all this good performance, he was again dropped from then the incoming ICC Champions Trophy in 2002, and was unseen on the national side, for more than 7 months. He was again given a chance during Pakistan's cricket team tour to New Zealand in 2003, where he was selected for the test squad, but this time he didn't perform well and was dropped from then the incoming ODI series. He has never been a part of National Cricket team since then and eventually announced his formal retirement from both formats of cricket in late 2003.
Coaching careerIjaz Ahamd was appointed as the coach of Pakistan's under 19 cricket team on 20 October 2009 by the Pakistan Cricket Board. It was under his coaching that the Pakistan's cricket team played brilliantly in the under 19 world cup. Pakistan's team reached final where they lost to Australia in New Zealand. However the overall performance of the team was quite good.After Pakistan's defeat against New Zealand at UAE in 2009's ODI series and resignation of Younis Khan from the captaincy, changes were made in the team, with Waqar Younis being installed as the coach of Pakistan's cricket team. After Pakistan was white washed by Australia in test, ODI and T20 matches in 2010, Ijaz Ahmad was selected as combined coach with Waqar Younis, a post which Ijaz Ahmad is currently serving on.
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