Ramiz Raja is a former international cricketer who played for Pakistan as a top-order batsman. He is widely regarded as a stylish player who is known for his flicks towards square-leg. He was in the Pakistani squad that won their maiden Cricket World Cup in 1992 beating England in the finals under the captaincy of Imran Khan. He gained more limelight through his cricket commentary for BBC and Ten Sports. On 13 September 2021, he went on to become the 36th Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). It is his second term as a PCB chairman. The last time he remained in this position was in 2004 where he played a key role in hiring Late Bob Woolmer as the head coach of the side under whose guidance, Pakistan won their maiden ICC World Twenty20 title in 2009. Hours after Ramiz’s appointment as a chairman, Pakistan’s head coach Misbah-Ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis submitted their resignations due to their ongoing conflicts with the chairman.
Ramiz Raja was born on Tuesday, 14 August 1962 (age 61 years; as of 2021) in Faisalabad (Eastern Pakistan). Interestingly, 14 August is celebrated as Independence day of Pakistan.
He spent his childhood in his hometown where he got the inspiration for playing cricket from his brother who is ten years older than him. He started playing cricket at an age of eight. Initially, he played for his school team. Soon, he got the chance to represent his team in a list-A match in 1976.
He made his international debut against England on 2 March 1984 at Gaddafi Stadium (Lahore) in the test match under the captaincy of Zaheer Abbas. He could manage to score only 26 and 6 runs in both innings. A few months later, he made his ODI debut against New Zealand on 6 February 1985 at the Dunedin cricket ground in New Zealand. From thereon, he represented Pakistan in 291 international innings and scored a total of 8674 runs. He was involved in unusual batting dismissals and is the first international cricketer ever to be given out “Obstructing the Field”. His major contribution was in the 1992 World Cup where he took the final catch of England’s batsman to lift the team’s maiden World Cup title. He is also the fifth-highest run-getter in that season and 2nd highest among the Pakistanis. He played his last international game against India on 21 September 1997 in an ODI which ended in a win for his side.
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Hair Colour: Natural Black
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Ramiz Raja belongs to a sports-oriented family. His father has played cricket for the Multan team while his mother was an excellent badminton player.
Parents & Siblings
His father, Saleem Akhtar is a retired Police Commissioner while his mother is a homemaker.
He has two elder brothers. His brother Wasim Raja has played for Pakistan from 1976 to 1995.
His cousin Atif Raul is also a former international cricketer who played for the Pakistan team in 1994. His nephew Ali Wasim Raja has played for Surrey Second XI.
Wife & Children
He is married to Ambreen Ramiz Raja and has two sons.
Model Town Area, Lahore
He got selected in the playing eleven for the 3rd test match against England in a huge Gaddafi Stadium. Their team is lead by Zaheer Abbas. He won the toss and elected to field first on a slow track. England had a bad start when they lost half of their side in just 83 runs. Then Graeme Fowler had a steady partnership with Vic Marks and took the score to 203 before Fowler got dismissed on 58. England went to score 241 runs in their first innings. Pakistan on the other hand scored 341 runs with Ramiz contributing valuable 26 runs off 45 balls. In reply, England scored 344 runs for nine in the second inning. Then, Pakistan’s opener took the score to where victory was just a formality. Suddenly, they lost six wickets within a span of 26 runs. The target has shrunk to 70 runs needed off 14 overs with five wickets remaining. Then came Ramiz who steadied the ship and took the side to a draw, which at one time seems like Pakistan has lost the game. He remained not out till the end facing just 17 balls but hanged his bat on the other end supporting his partner Sarfraz Nawaz. With this, Pakistan won the series 1-0.
A few months later, he played his first One-Day International game against New Zealand at Christchurch. On a batting-friendly wicket, New Zealand has won the toss to opted to bat first. They posed their inning steadily and put 264 runs on the board for a loss of eight wickets. Pakistan batted second and in one moment, their score was 129 for 6, then Ramiz Raja played a knock of run a ball with one six and seven fours. He held a partnership of 108 runs along with Anil Dalpat and took the score to where they require 15 runs off the last over. Richard Hadlee bowled the last over and wrapped up the Pakistani innings with his three wickets of the first four balls. Ramiz was being disguised as a future batsman after that inning.
A few days later, Ramiz was selected for the Benson & Hedges World Championship in Australia. Seven countries were participating in this tournament. Pakistan and arch-rival India were in the same group along with Australia and England. They had their opening game against India where after winning the toss, they elected to bat first. Pakistan had a disappointing match where they lost the match by six wickets after putting 183 runs on the board. Ramiz is the second-highest run-scorer for Pakistan in that match. He scored 26 runs facing 37 deliveries. In the next match, Pakistan won convincingly against Australia. Their next match was against England. Pakistan lost their opening wicket on 37 runs when Ramiz came to bat. He held a partnership of 56 runs with Mudassar Nazar and took the score to 213 runs for the loss of eight-wicket. England on the other hand was all out on 146 runs and lost the match by 67 runs. They were in the semis where they will be facing the Caribbean. West Indies have won the toss and batted first. They put on 159 runs on the board. It was in all Pakistan’s hands. Ramiz Raja came at one down within the first few overs in the inning. He took the score to 97 before he got dismissed on 60. The rest of the task was done by the other Pakistani batsmen and they won the match within 46 overs. Ramiz was adjudged as Man of the Match. Interestingly, it was Clive Lloyd’s last international game. Pakistan didn’t do much against India in the finals and lost the match by 8 wickets.
On 25 October 1985, during the third ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Lahore, Pakistan opted to field first. Sri Lanka gave Pakistan a target of 239 to chase in 38 overs. Pakistan on the other hand kept their nerve going by keeping in touch with the required six runs per over. This time again, Ramiz stood at the wicket along with his captain Javed Miandad and took the score to 130 runs where his contribution was 56 runs off 56 balls. After he got out, it was all in Pakistan’s hands. They chased the target swiftly within 36 overs after losing five wickets. Ramiz was once again impressive in the next match with a knock of 45 runs off 43 deliveries and took his side to an easy victory by 89 runs. Pakistan won the four-match series 4-0. He then played the 3rd test against the same opponent. With the help of Ramiz’s knock of 52 runs, Pakistan scored 295 runs in reply to Sri Lanka’s 162 runs. He had a partnership of 75 runs for the 7th wicket along with Imran Khan. This partnership was a record at that time. Pakistan was then given the target of 98 runs which they won without losing any wicket. Later on 17 November 1985, he took part in the tri-series against India and West Indies. The match against India was like a walk in the park for them. When Pakistan went on to score 203 runs in the allotted 45 overs. Pakistan lost their opening batsman cheaply on a score of 18 runs. Ramiz then took the score to 118 runs before he was caught by Gavaskar off the bowling of Roger Binny. In reply, India could manage only 155 runs losing all their wickets in 41 overs. He lost his form after that where his score was less than 50 runs in the next few international games. In March 1986, Pakistan had a tour of Sri Lanka for the three-match test series. On the final test match which was the decider between the two sides, Sri Lanka batted first and put on 281 runs on the board. Pakistan lost their first three wickets within 50 runs. Ramiz then kept one end anchored having lost the key wickets of Javed Miandad, Saleem Malik, and captain Imran Khan. He went on to score 122 runs and posted a lead of 37 runs. It was his first international hundred. On the fourth day, Sri Lanka carried their innings towards the last day and ended the game in a draw. A few months later in February 1987, Pakistan faced India at the Eden Gardens (Kolkata), where more than 90,000 spectators were there to witness the bilateral match. India scored 238 runs in 40-overs. Pakistan on the other hand sent Ramiz and debutant Younis Ahmed as the opening batsmen. Ramiz didn’t disappoint his captain and scored 58 runs with a strike rate of 87 before he got dismissed off the bowling of Ravi Shastri. Pakistan won that match comprehensively of the last over of the match.
On 13 March 1987, a test match took place between Pakistan and India at Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. It was the decider test match as the previous four test matches ended in a draw. Pakistan batted first on a spinner-friendly wicket and could manage 116 runs. Ramiz had the contribution of 22 runs. On the other hand, India also had patchy innings when they also got out scoring 145 runs on the board. This was followed up by Pakistan’s 249 runs where Ramiz was again the top-scorer with 47 runs. Pakistan went on to win by marginally 16 runs. It is the first test series on the Indian sub-continent.
After few days, Pakistan defeated Australia by eight wickets in One-dayers. Ramiz scored 56 runs in that match. On 10 April 1987, a match took place between Pakistan against India in the Sharjah Cup final. Pakistan gave India a chance to bat after winning a toss. India scored 183 runs for the loss of eight wickets. In reply, again Ramiz stole the show with his 53 runs as an opening batsman. He got dismissed when the score was 91 runs, and the rest of the work was done by the unbeaten partnership between Saleem Malik and Javed Miandad in 42 overs. On 8 October 1987, the fourth World Cup was held in India and Pakistan jointly. Pakistan was in group B along with England, West Indies, and Sri Lanka. In their opening game, they defeated Sri Lanka by 15 runs. Ramiz Raja again is the second-highest run-scorer for the team with 76 runs. Pakistan won their next match against England by 18 runs.
This followed up with a match against West Indies where against the score of 216 runs, Pakistan completed their target in the last over of the match. At one moment, their score was 28 for the loss of two wickets. Then, he along with Javed Miandad took the score to 92 runs before he got dismissed on 42. It was a roller-coaster match but ultimately, it was all in Pakistan’s hands. Then, they faced England where the visitors 244 runs in the first inning. In reply, Ramiz made his first World Cup century and chased the target with one over to spare.
Then, in a match against Sri Lanka on 25 October, Ramiz put on the opening partnership of 64 runs with Mansoor Akhtar which helped Pakistan to post the target of 298 runs on the board. In reply, Sri Lanka could only manage 184 runs for the loss of eight wickets. They were in the semis of the World Cup where they will be facing ex-champion West Indies. West Indies having batted first put 258 runs on the board. Ramiz Raja in reply took Pakistan’s score to 147 for the loss of three wickets. He scored 70 runs but couldn’t prevent the ending of their team’s World Cup journey. He scored 248 runs in this mega-event. In November 1987, Pakistan faced the visitor England for the One-day dayers. It was the first time that Ramiz got out in nervous nineties. England after winning the toss elected to bat first. The visitors scored 263 runs in 44 overs. Pakistan in reply could score 240 runs and lost the match. Ramiz Raja was given out in an unusual fashion two times before this match against the same opponent. The first time when he was given an incorrectly given run out at WACA when after giving the catch to the fielder, he was walking towards the pavilion, unknowing the fact that the umpire has given that no-ball. The catcher saw Ramiz walking and instantly threw the ball to the stumps and the rest of the task was done by the bowler. The same instant happened again at the Oval during the Texaco Trophy.
But this time, he was on 98 when he played a shot and went for the run. The first run was completed successfully, but as he turned to take the second run, the fielder threw the ball towards the stumps, to which Ramiz deflected the ball with his bat. He was then given out “Obstructing the Field”. However, in an interview with a news channel in 2015, he told that
“The batsman gets out in this fashion mainly because of ignorance of the laws. It happens so quickly that the batsman has no time to think anything else. The victim realizes his mistake lately. I don’t think any batsman would want to be out in this fashion. At least in my case, it was certainly the ignorance of laws at the time. Out of the total of six batsmen being given out by this mode of dismissal in ODIs, four are from Pakistan. “That’s how the Pakistani batsmen make the game interesting.”
Ramiz was at the peak of his form from March to October 1988 where he scored 273 runs in ODI games. In December, Benson & Hedges World Series took place in Australia where Australia and West Indies took part. Their first match was against the West Indies led by Sir Vivian Richards. Pakistan, after winning the toss, gave the opposition to bat first. West Indies have put on 269 runs in their allotted 47 overs. When Pakistan came out to bat, they lost their first two wickets on a score of 17 runs. Then Ramiz held a steady partnership with Javed and took the score to 81 before Javed got dismissed by Courtney Walsh. Again he steadied the ship but the team kept on losing the wickets from another end. Pakistan could only manage 180 runs after losing seven wickets. Ramiz scored 69 of that total runs with just one four. Their next match was against Australia where he couldn’t do much as a result their side once again lost the match by nine wickets. He couldn’t perform in the next two games as well due to which Australia and West Indies went through to the finals. West Indies went on to seal the trophy. He lost his form after that and could only manage single-digit scores in the next few games. Then the tour of New Zealand came up where Ramiz scored 224 in four ODI matches. In the 3rd ODI between the two sides, Ramiz chipped in with 101 and chased the 250 runs target losing just three wickets in 49 overs. He was adjudged “Man of the Match” for his effort. In October 1989, Nehru Cup was held in India. Pakistan, India, West Indies, Australia, and Sri Lanka were the country that took part in the only edition of this cup till date. Pakistan lost their first match against England but came back strongly against the world champions Australia by winning the game by 66 runs. They lost the next match against the Windies but won their succeeding match by six runs against the Sri Lankans. Ramiz couldn’t perform much in that games. But the game against India saw Ramiz back in form with his 77 runs and help Pakistan to pose 279 runs on the board. In reply, India got all out within 42 overs on 202 runs. With this, they reached the semis where they will be facing England. England scored 194 runs in 30 overs (overs reduced due to rain). Pakistan came out to bat in the second inning. He anchored the inning from one end scoring 85 runs off 82 deliveries and carried the bat all through as a result Pakistan won that match comprehensively with seven wickets to spare. They will again be facing West Indies in the finals. West Indies went on to score 273 runs for the loss of five wickets. Pakistan lost their early wicket in a form of Aamir Malik when the score was four runs. Ramiz took the score to 64 runs before he got dismissed on 35 facing just 31 balls. But eventually, Pakistan won that match in the last over of the match and grabbed the title.
A few days later, India went on a tour of Pakistan to play four test match series. Ramiz scored 223 runs out of the seven innings he played and interestingly, all the games ended in a draw. This followed up with the four-match One-day series. The first match got abandoned due to rain. The second game was won by Pakistan by seven runs. The third ODI was once washed off due to rain. The last one-dayer saw Ramiz playing 24 runs before he got out off the bowling of Ravi Shastri. Pakistan won that match and sealed the series 2-0. In October 1991, a tri-series was held at Sharjah featuring Pakistan, India, and West Indies. Pakistan lost their first two matches against West Indies and India. Ramiz chipped in with 49 and 35 runs in both games. Their match against Windies was one of the most interesting games at that time. Pakistan lost their first two wickets within a span of 63 runs, then he took the score to 200 runs before he got dismissed on 90 runs by Courtney Ambrose. Pakistan scored 236 runs in the full quota of overs. West Indies were needing ten runs of the last over. Off the bowling of Waqar Younis, Windies batsmen could manage eight runs in the first three balls but end up losing the last wicket with no runs of the remaining deliveries. This led to Pakistan sealing the match by just one run. Ramiz then missed the remaining two matches due to injury though his side won both the matches. His next ODI century came against Windies in the 1992 World Cup jointly held in Australia and New Zealand respectively. That match saw his 102 runs that took the team’s total to 220 runs losing just two wickets. In reply, West Indies without losing any wicket surpassed the target with three overs to spare.
Pakistan went on to reach the semi-finals where their match was against the Kiwis. Kiwis scored 262 runs in their inning and when Pakistan came to bat. It seemed like an impossible target until Ramiz had the second wicket stand of 54 runs. He scored 44 runs in that match. Pakistan won the semis with one over to spare. Now the World Cup trophy was just one match away from Pakistan. Ramiz Raja was elated with the way his team performed during the whole tournament. The final took place on 25 March 1992 in Melbourne between Pakistan and England.
Unfortunately, he could not score much in that match. However, his team’s total went to 249 runs for the loss of six wickets. England on the other hand came to 208 runs losing nine wickets. Imran Khan bowled the final over. The second delivery he bowled, tempted the tail-ender Richard Illingworth to play an aerial shot while making a room. The ball went high up in the air. Ramiz called for it and took the catch safely. Not only he took the catch but also bestowed his nation their maiden World Cup title ever.
The whole of Pakistan was celebrating and so was their captain Imran Khan who said goodbye to international cricket after that historic match. Ramiz scored 349 runs in that whole tournament.
On 4 Feb 1993, Ramiz Raja created the record opening stand of 204 runs against Sri Lanka in the Wills Trophy Finals at Sharjah Stadium. With the help of Ramiz’s 109 runs, Pakistan managed to put on 281 runs in 41 overs for the loss of three wickets. Sri Lanka could only score 167 runs in the full quota of 41 overs and Pakistan yet again sealed the finals of a tri-series. He lost his form after that. The last ODI century of his career came against Windies on 13 October 1995 at Sharjah during a Champions Trophy match. Pakistan while batting first lost their three wickets within a span of 50 runs. Ramiz once again came up with a century knock and batted till the end taking the score to a respectable 242 runs for the loss of four wickets. West Indies could only manage 227 runs losing all their wickets. This is the last century in his international career. He later captained the side from 1992 to 1997 and scored 917 runs in that period. He played under the captaincies of Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, and Zaheer Abbas.
On 26 April 1997, he came to the test field for the one final time of his life at Colombo (Sri Lanka). Ramiz Raja could score 36 and zero runs in that match and help his side to draw the match. With that, the two-match series ended in 0-0.
On 21 September 1997, Ramiz came to the field for the final time in his international career against India in Toronto (Canada). His final match ended up with a win by five wickets. Though, he could not open his account in that match. He was also the captain of the side. He also played in a domestic circuit while playing for Allied Bank, Islamabad, Cricket Association, Lahore, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Punjab, and Service Industries.
- Cricketers (Batsman)- Vivian Richards
- Cricketers (Bowler)- Wasim Akram
- Cricket commentators– Ian Chappell and Tony Greig
- Singer- Kishore Kumar and Arshad Mahmood
- His ancestors are from Jaipur, Rajasthan while his in-laws are from Delhi and Karnal (Haryana). He did his schooling at St. Anthony High School, Lahore, and Sadiq Public School, Bahawalpur. Later he joined Government College (Lahore) from where he completed his graduation. He then completed his MBA from Aitchison College and University of the Punjab, Lahore. After that, he joined American Express Bank as a banker. His grandfather was also a national-level cricketer.
- In 2016, he was made a full-time member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
- He rates Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Abdul Qadir, Wasim Akram, and Inzamam-Ul-Haq as the best Pakistani cricketers in chronological order.
- Ramiz Raja has a deep inclination towards Rajasthani architecture. He is so inspired by its elegance that he modeled his house on the verge of its famous Rambagh Palace. He further revealed that
“I told Nayyar Ali Dada to have it designed on the pattern of Rambagh Palace. I got to see the palace from close quarters when the Pakistani team stayed there during a Test match in February 1987.”
- He once batted at the eighth position on 29 February 1996 in ODI against South Africa scoring just two runs. Interestingly, he has a better average in the second inning of the total ODI games, he played. He averages 36.44 while batting first, his batting average goes down to 28.97.
- But it’s another way round in his test career. His first-inning average is 36.89 while his second-inning average goes down to 23.24. Even in the test matches, he once played at eighth position on 19 March 1984 against England in Lahore.
- He played 198 matches and scored 5841 runs with an average of 32.09. He is one among very few batsmen whose ODI average is more than their test average. He scored most of his ODI runs against Windies with 1624 runs. Windies in that time was primarily the toughest side to beat consisting of the fast bowlers like Courtney Walsh, Courtney Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall, Ian Bishop, and many others. He has a better record in the Asian sub-continent. Talking about the ODI captains, he played under Aamir Sohail, Abdul Qadir, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Saeed Anwar, Saleem Malik, and lastly Wasim Akram. He had almost 70% of his runs as an opening batsman in both formats of the cricket (there was no T20 at that time).
- He represented Pakistan in 57 test matches (same as his brother Wasim Raja) and scored 2833 runs with an average of 31.83. His favorite team is Sri Lanka against whom he scored the most number of runs. In the Asian sub-continent, he has an average of 35.08. 1987 is the best year in his Test career when he scored 520 runs in ten Test matches. A few months later in September, Ramiz came for the final time in his international career against India in Toronto, Canada. His final match ended up with a win. Overall, he played 198 matches and scored 5841 runs with an average of 32.09. His most runs were against West Indies with 1624 runs. Just like his test career, in ODIs as well, he was best in the Asian sub-continent. He played under seven ODI captains during his tenure in international cricket. He scored 69% of his international runs while opening the innings in both formats of cricket.