I have listen a lot of time that Pakistan are cornered tigers in cricket commentary. What does that really mean ?

3 Answers 3


The original phrase (in English) is "cornered rat", which originated in the 1800s and became widespread in the early 1900s https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=cornered+rat&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Ccornered%20rat%3B%2Cc0enter image description here with the meaning that an animal (or a person) can be much more dangerous when cornered.

Obviously, though, telling your team to fight "like cornered rats" would not have quite the same ring. Tigers sound ever so much more noble and dangerous.


After a bit of reserach, it seems that during the Cricket World Cup 1992, the Captain told his team to play like "cornered tiger" during a speech, and they won the World Cup.

I guess this expression in cricket was then bond with the Pakistan team.

That's it for the story, and for the expression herself, the meaning seems quite clear, a cornered beast (here a tiger, because i guess there's some in Pakistan), as nothing to lose, therefore, he will be even more dangerous.

  • she will be dangerous or he ? Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 9:38
  • Well, the beast isn't female gender ? You made me doubt (I'm not an English native speaker)
    – Jaro
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 9:47
  • Beast is a male my friend. And I m also not native to English. I am from Pakistan and speaks Urdu language. Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 9:49
  • @jaro Nouns in English do not have a gender, so technically a beast could be he or she depending on context. But as it's a male cricket team, it's best to go with 'he'.
    – Mynamite
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 16:13
  • Thanks for the precision. Seems like I forgot some of my basics since school days :D
    – Jaro
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 6:58

Answer is almost right adding only 1 thing. That this is the all about Printed T-Shirt which Imran Khan used to wear at the time of Toss in all matches of 1992 world cup (after Austrelia match to Final match). Shirf having picture of a Cornered Tiger

  • Can you read your answer again and correct some typos?
    – user140086
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 15:52

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