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Pakistan Cricket Legends


Mar 21, 2007
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Fazal Mahmood

Today, we mourn, we pay our respects, but most of all, we cherish Fazal Mahmood’s contribution to Pakistan cricket on the 15th death anniversary of the “Legend of Oval”.

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.

I recollect talking to an extremely old Indian test cricketer at my club. He had faced Fazal Mahmood. Told me the guy could generate real pace.

If I am not wrong, Fazal Mahmood and Farokh Engineer both endorsed Brylcreem.
Imtiaz Ahmed


Imtiaz Ahmed receiving his medal from President of Pakistan Muhammad Ayub Khan. Very few knows Imtiaz Ahmed also served in Pakistan Air Force.

Imtiaz Ahmed was one of the fine, proud, patriotic band of cricketers, most of them Lahore College graduates, who gave Pakistan such a successful start in the 1950s. As a batsman he was a magnificent hooker: Majid Khan said he was inspired by the sight of Imtiaz taking on Wes Hall at Lahore in 1958-59. He was also Pakistan's first regular wicketkeeper, which often forced him to bat down the order when he was so suited to being an attacking opener. In England in 1954 he came closer than any tourist before or since to the wicketkeeper's double of 1000 runs and 100 dismissals in a first-class season - he finished 14 dismissals short.
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Mudassar Nazar

Mudassar Nazar known as Golden Arm
He made the slowest century in Test history, scored the ton in 557 minutes at Lahore (1977-78) and on this day (25th May 1987), he was the 1st who took 100 Wickets in ODI for Pakistan.


Man with Golden Arm..both he and his father Nazar Sahab holds a unique record of carrying the bat...opening the batting in a test match and not getting out while all the rest of the ten batsmen are out..both against India. He was a compact batsman..useful bowler...overall a shrewd and intelligent cricketer. His bowling action was inspired by great Dennis Lillee. Served Pakistan well.


Pakistan won the Bangalore Test and with it their first Test series in India in 1987 — with Waseem Akram, Ijaz Ahmed, Imran Khan, Lionel Richie, Abdul Qadir, Javaid Miandad, Saleem Malik, Mudassar Nazar and Rameez Raja.

Abdul Hafeez Kardar.

Pakistan’s first Test captain Abdul Hafeez Kardar.

Kardar led Pakistan in its first 23 Test matches, which also includes the famous victory against England at The Oval in 1954. He captained his team to victory over all the then Test-playing nations except South Africa, whom they never played against. He also holds the unique distinction of being one of the only three players to have played for, both, India and Pakistan.

Kardar featured in 26 Test matches over the course of his career, scoring 927 runs and claiming 21 wickets. After retirement from international cricket in 1958, he held the posts of chairman of selectors, and president of Pakistan’s Board of Control during the period of 1972 to 1977. He received the Pride of Performance Award from the Government of Pakistan in 1958. He passed away on April 21, 1996 aged 71.


Kardar, Abdul Hafeez, who died on April 21, 1996, aged 71, may be regarded as the father figure of Pakistani cricket and, as such, an important character in the history of the country as a whole. He captained Pakistan in their First Test match in 1952 and was at the forefront of events from then until he resigned from the Pakistani Board in 1977 in protest against Government interference. But he was a Test cricketer before Pakistan even existed, playing for India on the 1946 tour of England under the name Abdul Hafeez. After the tour he added the family name Kardar, stayed in England and went to Oxford to read PPE and enhance his reputation as an idiosyncratic and fearless cricketer: a left-handed batsman, whose response to any bowler or situation was to dance down the track first ball and slam it back over the bowler's head, and a left-arm medium-paced bowler, economical on a good pitch, devastatingly effective on a bad one.


Kardar had a couple of productive seasons with Warwickshire, where his successes included marrying the club chairman's daughter, then returned to Pakistan to take on the captaincy. He had learned well under Martin Donnelly and Tom Dollery and, as Test cricket's newcomers, Pakistan at once made themselves worthy of respect rather than anyone's sympathy. In 23 matches as captain, Kardar led his team to victory over all the then Test-playing countries except South Africa, whom they never met. He then became chairman of selectors, and president of Pakistan's Board of Control from 1972 to 1977. In all his positions of authority, he was inclined to be dictatorial and quickly angered, especially by any hint of criticism. In some ways, his prickly brilliance has become characteristic of his country's cricket. But he was also a visionary.

He ruthlessly modernised the organisation of the Pakistani game, and many of the themes he was advocating in the 1970s have become common currency among modern administrators: the need to do away with unwieldy committees, to break the post-imperial dominance of Lord's, and to expand the game in Asia. He was an early advocate of neutral umpires. Little of this was well received by his colleagues on ICC at the time.


In later years he removed himself from cricket and his last public role was as Pakistan's ambassador to Switzerland. Diplomacy may not have come easily to him. Imran Khan said: After Kardar's retirement, Pakistan cricket was thrown to the wolves, the cricket bureaucrats whose progeny still rule the game.



Abdul Hafeez Kardar's 94th Birthday

Hanif Mohammad

Hanif was the first star of Pakistan cricket, the "Little Master" who played the longest innings in Test history - his 970-minute 337 against West Indies in Bridgetown in 1957-58 - then followed it a year later with the highest first-class innings to that point, 499 run out. With such feats, broadcast on radio, he turned cricket in Pakistan from the preserve of the Lahore educated elite into the mass sport it is today.


Although famous for his immaculate defence and never hitting the ball in the air, Hanif could also attack, and was probably the originator of the reverse-sweep. His versatility extended to captaining and keeping wicket, and bowling right- and left-handed in Test cricket. But in addition to being the jack of all trades, he was the master of one.


Hanif Mohammad's 84th Birthday




Close fields at backward short leg to Little Master Hanif Mohammad (187 not out) at Lord's in 1967.

Mudassar Nazar

Mudassar Nazar known as Golden Arm
He made the slowest century in Test history, scored the ton in 557 minutes at Lahore (1977-78) and on this day (25th May 1987), he was the 1st who took 100 Wickets in ODI for Pakistan.


Man with Golden Arm..both he and his father Nazar Sahab holds a unique record of carrying the bat...opening the batting in a test match and not getting out while all the rest of the ten batsmen are out..both against India. He was a compact batsman..useful bowler...overall a shrewd and intelligent cricketer. His bowling action was inspired by great Dennis Lillee. Served Pakistan well.


Pakistan won the Bangalore Test and with it their first Test series in India in 1987 — with Waseem Akram, Ijaz Ahmed, Imran Khan, Lionel Richie, Abdul Qadir, Javaid Miandad, Saleem Malik, Mudassar Nazar and Rameez Raja.


Mohinder “Jimmy” Amarnath was the Indian equivalent of Mudassar Nazar.


This is not scene of any Italian or Hollywood movie; these are our dashing legendary cricketers at Lord’s, UK in 1954


Majid Khan


Majid Khan was the quintessential Pakistani player of the bygone age. He was charismatic, elegant, gifted and brave. Majid weaved his magic with the cricket bat in an era of great fast bowlers, and his achievements secured his reputation as one of the country's greatest opening batsmen. It didn't matter if the challenge was from a 95 mph thunderbolt from Michael Holding, or a medium-pitched delivery from a lowly county bowler - Majid would play both with the same artistic flair and the air of a man that did not seem to be trying.

His strokeplay brought Majid the admiration of some of his most formidable contemporaries. Dennis Lillee, the great Australian fast bowler, held Majid in high esteem. Lillee once narrated a tale about a bet he had had with him. Majid used to don an antiquated round hat during the first half of his career, the only element of inelegance when he was at the crease. Lillee decided to take it upon himself to knock the hat off of Majid's head, perhaps he too felt that such a vulgar adornment did not belong on the gracefully poised Majid. When Majid learned this, he offered Lillee his treasured hat, if he could indeed dislodge it.

It finally happened at the Sydney Cricket Ground a few years later. Lillee bowled a vicious bouncer, and the ball just managed to brush the hat, setting it askew and the laws of Newton did the rest. True to his word, Majid picked up the hat, strode over to Lillee and handed it to him without hesitation. This gesture was in harmony with Majid's sense of fairplay. He was a known walker, and an ardent adherent of the set of ethics known collectively as the Spirit of the Game".

Lillee claims to have had it whole for many years, until his wife decided it needed a wash and put it in the washing machine. It didn't take long for it to fall to pieces, losing its shape and structure completely. Despite the little mishap, Lillee still keeps remains of the hat along with all the other awards and honours he has acquired during his distinguished career, in tribute not only to a great player, but a great person.



Majestic Khan

Living legend Majid Khan is a former cricketer, batsman and captain of the Pakistan cricket team. In his prime, Majid Khan was considered one of the best batsmen in the world, able to decimate any bowling attack, including the mighty West Indian fast bowlers of that era.
Javed Miandad


Javed Miandad celebrates after winning the match with a six off the last ball, Pakistan v India, Austral-Asia Cup final, Sharjah, 18 April, 1986

Javed Miandad is the greatest batsman Pakistan has ever produced. There was little doubt in the mind of Abdul Hafeez Kardar, Pakistan's first Test captain and influential administrator, when he first laid eyes on him as a youngster in the early 70s and famously predicted Miandad "the find of the decade." He wasn't wrong, as a stupendous debut series against New Zealand in 1976 started to prove.

Miandad was not of the classical school of batting, though he possessed a beautiful square cut and most shots in and outside the book: he was a fine early reverse-sweeper. But he worked the angles and spaces equally well; he knew above all how to score runs in almost any situation. These qualities presented themselves through his entire career and uniquely, not once did his career average fall below fifty. No Pakistani has scored more Test runs than him and, Inzamam-ul-Haq aside, probably no batsman has won as many matches for Pakistan.

There was often a touch of genie or genius about his finest innings, like his two hundreds in successive Tests in the West Indies in 1987-88 or the big double hundreds against India and England. Problems on the bouncy pitches of Australia or the swinging ones of England were overcome with time and, if people questioned his record against the West Indies, they never did after that 1987-88 series.

He was versatile as well, as evidenced by a marvellous ODI career. Here his supreme running - it is said that he was one of the early pioneers of aggressive ODI running - shot placement and mental strength produced outstanding results. All qualities came together in a near-miraculous ODI century against India in Sharjah which won the Australasia Cup for Pakistan in 1986. He often saved his best for India, never more so than when he smote Chetan Sharma for a last-ball six to win that final. The match led to years of Pakistani domination over India, particularly in the deserts of Sharjah. In 1992, battling age and back problems, Miandad played a lead role in Pakistan's only World Cup triumph, with six half-centuries.

He was also Pakistan's youngest captain and always considered to be the most tactically astute. Imran Khan often acknowledges the role Miandad played as vice-captain with key on-field decisions, though the two were chalk to the other's cheese. But as captain possibly he was too abrasive to get on with all of his players, as at least two player revolts against his leadership suggest. And coinciding with the leadership of Imran, he never captained in as many Tests as he might have done. As with most subcontinent greats, he possibly lingered for longer than might have been advised, finally bowing out in 1996 after, ironically, a loss to India in the World Cup.

The problems of captaincy re-emerged when he became Pakistan's coach, where he had his ups and downs. Results were mostly positive but constant bickering from players about his excessively hands-on approach wasn't so good. After three stints in charge, he parted company with the team in 2004 to make way for Bob Woolmer after being blamed for Pakistan's one-day and Test losses to India. In October 2008, Miandad declined an offer to become Pakistan's coach again, but he was soon appointed the PCB's director-general, possibly a role of even greater influence. The move was hailed by many Pakistanis but it didn't last long - Miandad quit the job in January 2009, after differences with the board over the exact scope of his role.





Mushtaq lifted on the shoulders by his team mates soon after Pakistan squared the series at the Port of Spain.


(From Left): Iqbal Qasim, Mohsin Khan, Haroon Rashid, Sarfraz Nawaz, Wasim Bari, Javed Mianddad, Imran Khan, Mushtaq Muhammad, Sadiq Muhammad, Asif Iqbal, Intikhab Alam, Zaheer Abbas, Saleem Altaf and Wasim Raja.

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