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Sussex and Pakistan


They may not have been as great in number as Australians or Indians, but three of Pakistan players who have represented Sussex certainly make up for it in terms of talent.

Mushtaq Ahmed, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad would all be contenders for an all-time XI of Pakistan players.

To the current generation of Sussex fans, Mushtaq’s legendary status is assured. Between 2003 and 2008 the mercurial leg-spinner took more than a hundred Championship wickets in three seasons and was the driving force behind an unprecedented era of success for the county, including three titles in 2003, 2006 and 2007.

Imran and Javed belonged to a different era, long before the arrival of coloured clothing and Twenty20, but they brought the game to life during the 1970s and early 1980s, an era of often dull cricket.

Imran came to Sussex in 1977 after abruptly leaving Worcestershire. Life by the sea, and Brighton’s proximity to London, suited him, as did the quick Hove wickets at that time. He became a dashing middle-order batsmen and it was while working with another great Sussex fast bowler, John Snow, at Sussex that he developed a deadly out-swinger.

The sight of him and Garth Le Roux sharing the new ball at Hove was enough to fill county batsmen with dread but Imran didn’t always have that competitive edge. His team-mates got used to the sight of him arriving for a Sunday League game with moments to spare, complaining of heavy traffic on the A23. Imran, who made his Test debut at 18, loved the big stage. Humdrum county matches often left him feeling uninspired.

He had replaced Javed as Pakistan captain in 1982 and by then Miandad was playing county cricket for Glamorgan, having served Sussex between 1976-79 as a fine attacking batsman. They never played together for the county, although it might have been interesting if they had.

Imran, from Lahore, was proud and aggressive - his critics might even add arrogant or aloof. Javed, from Pakistan's other great cricket city Karachi, was by contrast, crafty and willing to get under the skin of an opponent to gain an advantage.

But they had little else in common, apart from a mutual respect for their ability as players. Between them they captained Pakistan in 82 Tests and 200 one-day internationals.

Pakistan return to Hove for the first time since 1987 this July.

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