Abu Dhabi: All-rounder Abdul Razzaq hopes the breathtaking century which earned his team a thrilling one-wicket win against South Africa will lift Pakistan cricket and silence the critics back home.
"I hope that this win will lift the gloom around our cricket, lift team's morale which had dipped because of the recent controversies and defeats," Razzaq said after hitting a 72-ball 109 in the second one-day on Sunday.
Razzaq's knock, studded with ten towering sixes and seven boundaries, helped Pakistan pull off a win with just one ball to spare and level the five-match series at 1-1. The third match will be played in Dubai on Tuesday.
"Every time there is a controversy or we lose one or two matches, people start to write us off, which is wrong. I would request the fans to please keep faith in us so that we can lift ourselves," said Razzaq.
Pakistan cricket has been rocked by spot-fixing allegations sparked during their recent tour of England. Three key players -- Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer - were suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) over various breaches of the players' disciplinary code during that tour.
The suspensions came following revelations in British newspaper the News of the World, which claimed several Pakistan players took money to follow orders from a bookmaker during the Lord's Test against England in August.
The ICC code of conduct commissioner on Sunday upheld the suspensions after hearing appeals from Salman and Aamer. Asif had withdrawn his appeal. On top of the controversies, Pakistan lost both Twenty20 matches before losing the first day-night international in the ongoing series against South Africa.
The 30-year-old Razzaq, whose century was his first innings of over fifty in four years, was outspoken in the way that he had been used by selectors.
"I always play the match as if it is my last," said Razzaq, who made his debut in 1995. "I think my talent has not been properly utilised both in batting and bowling, especially my batting spot has never been permanent," said Razzaq. Pakistan is on track for next year's World Cup, said Razzaq.
"We are a good team and have a very good combination for the World Cup and we can do well in that mega event," said Razzaq, who missed out on the last World Cup, held in the West Indies four years ago, due to injury. India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh jointly host the 50-over World Cup early next year.