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Pakistan Cricket Legends

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Mar 21, 2007
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Today, we mourn, we pay our respects, but most of all, we cherish Fazal Mahmood’s contribution to Pakistan cricket on the 17th death anniversary of the “Legend of Oval”.

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(Fazal Mahmood with Wazir Muhammad & Hanif Muhammad at Pakistan Pavilion of British food fair in 1954)


Fazal was born on Feburary 18, 1927 in Lahore. His father, Professor Ghulam Hussain, encouraged Fazal to play cricket from an early age and his sporting ability quickly became apparent. While he was still at school, Fazal started a physical fitness programme that would serve him well through his career.

He completed a daily ten-mile jog and 500 jumps of a skipping rope, and would then finish off with 70 or 80 laps of the swimming pool during summer. This routine undoubtedly assisted his later capacity to bowl long spells without losing speed or accuracy.

After playing for Islamia College, Fazal was selected for his first first-class match in the annual Ranji Trophy competition in 1944. He represented the Northern India Cricketing Association, and his first wicket was the Indian Test cricketer Lala Amarnath. Fazal performed well in his subsequent first-class matches, and was considered unlucky not to be selected to tour England with the All-India side in 1946. The following year saw a continuation of his fine form, and in March 1947 he was named in the Indian side to travel to Australia later that year.

However, the Partition took place in 1947, and Fazal ultimately decided that he would not represent India and declined his place in the side. This choice meant that Fazal had to wait another five years to play Test cricket, as Pakistan was not made a full Test-playing member of the ICC until 1952.

Fazal was selected to play in Pakistan's inaugural Test, against India in Delhi in October 1952. This match was not a great success for Fazal, or indeed for any of the Pakistan team, with the visitors losing by an innings and 70 runs. The performance was quickly forgotten less than a week later, with Pakistan beating India by an innings and 43 runs in Lucknow. In just his second Test match, Fazal was instrumental, taking 5 for 52 and 7 for 42, as well as scoring a useful 29. His match figures of 12 for 94 compare well to Mitchell Johnson's recent 12 for 127 against South Africa. Ultimately, India won the five-Test series 2-1, but it was clear that Pakistan had uncovered a genuinely world-class bowler.

Pakistan's next international series was against England in Britain in 1954. This was seen as being a far harder test of the tourists' cricketing abilities than their previous Indian tour. The first Test was largely washed out, but Fazal showed early signs of his skills, taking 4 for 54 in England's only completed innings. The second Test was a disaster for both Pakistan and Fazal. After being dismissed for just 157, Pakistan's bowlers toiled away largely unproductively while England compiled a massive 558 for 6 declared, which underpinned their final victory by an innings and 129 runs. Concerns about Pakistan being prematurely admitted as a Test nation were raised when England dominated a rain-affected draw in the third Test. However, these murmurs were quickly silenced when Pakistan won the fourth Test and therefore drew the four match series 1-1. Fazal took 12 wickets in a match for the second time, with 6 for 53 and 6 for 46, and his bowling was again instrumental in Pakistan's victory.

Space limitations prevent a full recount of all Fazal's performances at Test level. He played a total of 34 Test matches between 1952 and 1962, taking 139 wickets at 24.70. Perhaps astonishingly, his best Test figures came from a match not against India, in October 1956, when he took 13 for 114 against Australia on matting in Karachi. Yet again his bowling was the key in Pakistan achieving their first win against a major Test competitor*.

Fazal took five wickets in an innings 13 times, and ten wickets in a match four times. He took five wickets in an innings approximately 25% of the time he bowled, which compares well to other players who largely carried their nation's attacks single-handedly, such as Muttiah Muralitharan (29%) and Richard Hadlee (24%).

He also led Pakistan ten times between 1959 and 1961, with a reasonable record of two wins, two losses and six draws. It is interesting to note that his bowling average as captain (19.14) is significantly better than his average when not captaining (27.03). After deciding to step down from both Test and first-class cricket in 1962, he continued working for the Pakistan Police Service, which had employed him since 1947, until his retirement in 1987.

After retiring from his lifelong role with the police, he become a strong advocate for the rights of the underprivileged, and used his own funds to open a school specifically to educate girls in rural areas. Fazal was obviously a wonderful bowler, but it appears he was an equally fine human being.
 

ghazi52

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Mar 21, 2007
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Happy Birthday Asif Iqbal..

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For Pakistan cricket fans and team mates Asif Iqbal will always be remembered as the true “Man-of-crisis”, an electric fielder in covers and a runner par excellence. In a nut shell he was a Pakistani cricketer with a Calypso spirit. For cricket administrators in the country and around the world Asif was a tough cookie negotiator. And above all for all the lesser known and forgotten cricketers from the past, who got their due through the CBFS in Sharjah mainly due to his efforts, Asif Iqbal was the Rainmaker.
 

ghazi52

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Death anniversary of Khan Muhammad

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Khan Mohammad, born January 1, 1928, formed the first lethal Pakistan pace attack by paring up with Fazal Mahmood.

The first ball and the first wicket

He sent down Pakistan’s first ball in Test cricket. Nineteen runs later that same morning, he bowled Pankaj Roy round his legs to become immortal as the first Pakistani wicket-taker. Seven runs later he castled the illustrious Vinoo Mankad as well.

However, by the end of that historic first day at Feroz Shah Kotla, he was steeped in tragedy. He had travelled to India with a groin injury, and the 20-plus overs bowled that day aggravated it seriously enough to rule him out for the rest of the tour.

Khan Mohammad's biggest moment was when he castled the great Len Hutton at Lord's in a Test match. A hugely patriotic man, Khan overlooked the opportunity to settle in Somerset after an impressive County season. With Pakistan readying to make its cricketing debut, he returned to his country and was picked in the first ever Test squad. A tall-frame and a good physique meant that Khan was deceptively quicker, thereby enabling to take a chunk of his wickets through bowled or LBW. Speedwise he was fast-medium and had the ability to move the ball both ways. Constant injuries cut short his career that was limited to 13 Tests and after retirement, he settled down in England where he lived for over four decades. Khan passed away due to prostrate cancer in London on 4 July 2009
 

ghazi52

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In 1984 at Rawalpindi, the moment of a 17 year old Wasim Akram was picked up to play for Pakistan. It'd be safe to say, that If it wasn’t for Javed Miandad, there would never have been a Wasim Akram..
 

ghazi52

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Happy Birthday to Pakistan's most prolific left-arm spinner in Tests Iqbal Qasim! In 50 Tests he picked 171 wickets at an economy of just 2.21.

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Iqbal made his Test debut at the age of 23 in Adelaide against the Aussies in 1976. And then over the course of almost 12 years and 50 Tests began Qasim's tryst with the Pakistani Test team. He formed an able partnership with Abdul Qadir and Tauseef Ahmed to choke the opposition for runs. His accurate lower trajectory deliveries always tested the batsmen for good.
Having gone wicket-less in his debut innings, Iqbal sought redemption with 4 wickets in the second essay and almost jeopardized Australia's chances of a draw at Adelaide.
He is most notable for spinning Pakistan to victory in the 5th Test at Bangalore of the 1987 India-Pakistan series, and thus securing Pakistan's first series win on Indian soil. He took 9/121, including the key scalp of Sunil Gavaskar for 96 in the last innings of the game.


For a man who thrived on accuracy, he only featured in 15 ODIs. He ended with a unique 999 wickets at the first-class level in 246 games.
 

ghazi52

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6th Death Anniversary of Hanif Muhammad "The original Little Master"

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Born on Dec 21, 1934 in Junagarh, Hanif played 55 Test matches for Pakistan between 1952-53 and 1969-70 and averaged a fine 43.98 comprising twelve hundreds.

At his peak, Hanif was considered one of the best batsmen in the world.

Hanif’s marathon knock of 337 that he scored against the West Indies in a Test at Bridgetown in 1957-58, is regarded as one of the epic knocks in the entire cricket history. After Pakistan found themselves following on from a first-innings deficit of 473 runs on the afternoon of the third day, Hanif spent more than sixteen hours at the crease compiling his runs, allowing Pakistan to draw the game.

It remains the longest innings in Test history (and stood as the longest in all first-class cricket for over 40 years).

It was the only Test match instance of a triple century in a team’s second innings until it was equalled by New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum against India in 2014.
In 1958-59, Hanif surpassed Sir Don Bradman’s record for the highest individual first-class innings. Hanif made 499 before being run out attempting his five hundredth run. This mark stood for more than 35 years before being surpassed by Brian Lara in 1994.

In all Hanif made 55 first-class centuries and finished with a strong career average of 52.32.

Hanif was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968. In January 2009, Hanif was named along with two other Pakistani players — Imran Khan and Javed Miandad — among the inaugural batch of 55 inductees into the ICC’s Hall of Fame
 

ghazi52

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Happy Birthday Sikander Bakht..

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This tall and gangling fast medium bower had a tendency to invoke a very lively pace from most pitches which made his natural outswinger a nightmare for most batsman.

Competing against great bowlers of the time he was usually underestimated. He made headlines by breaking the arm of English captain Mike Brearley during a one day match in Karachi. His finest hour came against India in Delhi in 1979/80 when he demolished them on a placid wicket by taking 8/69 with devastating penetration.
 

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