Majid Khan; a brilliant batsman from Pakistan made his debut against Australia in Karachi in 1964. His father Jahangir Khan used to play cricket for India .Majid’s cousins Imran Khan and Javed Burki were also cricketers.
Majid Khan began his career as a pace bowler but back injury and a dubious bowling technique turned him into an occasional off-spinner and a batsman. Now more focused on batting, Majid Khan soon became brilliant with the bat. He came into limelight when he hit 5 sixes in an over off the bowling of Roger Davis of Glamorgon. He faced the fast bowlers comfortably and one of his career best performances is against the West Indies (1976-77). Majid Khan scored 530 runs in 5 tests in that particular series against an intimidating West Indies team. His highest score in that series was 167 runs in the Georgetown test and he also managed to take 4 wickets for 45 runs in that particular test. Majid Khan played for a couple of English counties, Queensland Australia and domestic teams like PIA, Rawalpindi and Punjab. His best ODI performance was 109 runs against England at Oval in 1974.
Majid Khan used to open the innings for Pakistan along with Sadiq Mohammad; together the couple gave a stable start to the team. Majid Khan played a total of 63 tests for Pakistan and scored 3931 runs (8 centuries) at an average of 38.92. Hid ODI figures are 786 runs in 23 matches with an average of 37.42. Majid Khan has an impressive first class record of more than 27,000 runs with 73 centuries and 128 fifties.
The Khan family became the second after the Headleys (from West Indies) to have three generations of test cricketers when Majid’s son Bazid Khan made his test debut in 2005. Although retired Majid is still actively involved in cricket.
Imtiaz Ahmed was also a member of the first ever cricket team of Pakistan. Born and educated in Lahore, Imtiaz showed interest in cricket from a very early age. In those days there was no concept of coaching; natural talent, lots of practice, tough competition at school and college level and guidance from seniors nurtured the young talent.
Imtiaz Ahmed was the first wicketkeeper of Pakistan. He was also a hard hitter of the ball with hook shots his forte. Imtiaz was a compulsive striker of the ball; a habit which cost him his wicket many times when his score was in 90s.
World records and Imtiaz Ahmed go hand in hand. He was the first wicketkeeper ever to score a double century, he holds the record of 7 catches in the match against England at the Oval in 1954, and he was also the first Asian cricketer to score a triple century against an international team. The double century against New Zealand set many records, the first wicketkeeper to score a test double, the highest eighth wicket partnership and the highest number of runs scored by a no. 8 batsman. His triple century came against the Commonwealth side which was touring India in 1951. Imtiaz was then a part of the Indian Prime Minister XI.
Imtiaz Ahmed could bat at any position from opener to number 8. He played 41 test matches for Pakistan and scored a total of 2079 runs averaging at 29.28. He took 77 catches behind the wickets and stumped 16 players.
After retiring from cricket, Imtiaz served as an administrator in the PAF School of Physical Fitness in Peshawar. He also coached the women’s cricket team which defeated West Indies and Sri Lanka. Imtiaz Ahmed was bestowed the prestigious Pride of Performance award in 1966.
Asif Iqbal is a former Pakistani cricketer. Soft spoken, gentle yet compelling, graceful and elegant are some phrases which describe his personality and his batting style.
A great batsman, Asif saved the blushes of Pakistan many a times with his aggressive yet sensible batting. He often came at moments when half of Pakistan’s team was back in the dressing room with a poor score on the scoreboard. Asif batted with tactic and saved the team from a humiliating innings defeat. Although he scored many centuries in his career, his score of 146 not out in the ninth wicket paternership with Intikhab Alam remains the highlight of his career. Playing against England, Pakistan was 68 for 8 and needed 159 runs. The pair scored 190 runs; a world record for ninth wicket partnership.
Asif was a useful bowler too; he was a right armed medium pacer who took wickets at crucial moments. His career best bowling remains 5 wickets for 48 runs. Asif Iqbal played first class cricket for the English county; Kent where he made useful contributions with both bat and ball. Asif Iqbal was a dedicated player who always kept his team above his personal records. Asif Iqbal played 58 test matches and made 3575 runs (11 centuries included) with an average of 38.85 runs.
Charming and polite, Asif Iqbal belonged to the rare breed of “gentlemen cricketers” who have now become extinct. Asif was named the “Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968” and was the recipient of the Pride of Performance award from the government of Pakistan.
Zaheer Abbas is perhaps the greatest batsman Pakistan has produced. Nicknamed as the “Run Machine”, there was simply no stopping him when he settled on the crease and struck boundary after boundary watched by helpless bowlers and equally helpless fielders. He played with ease off both back foot and front foot and his stylish footwork combined with powerful wrists; perfect timing and precision made him the great run getter.
Zaheer Abbas’s career is punctuated by many records. He made his debut in test cricket in 1969 against New Zealand and his ODI debut in 1974 against England. In his second test played at Edgbaston, against England in 1971, he scored double century (274 runs); the fourth highest score by a Pakistani cricketer. The double century marked the beginning of an illustrious career in which he scored a total of 5062 runs in 78 test matches with an average of 44.79 runs. His career best include 4 double centuries two of them against England. Zaheer Abbas was associated with the English county Gloucestershire for 13 years. During this long span, he scored almost thirty five thousand runs at an impressive average of 51.54. Zaheer Abbas is also the first and only Asian cricketer so far to have score a century of centuries in first class cricket. His ODI average is 48 and he stands second on the list of All Time ICC ODI rankings.
His ability to get runs against any opposition earned him the title of Asian Bradman. Zaheer Abbas was named the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1972. The government of Pakistan in acknowledgement of his brilliance awarded him the Pride of Performance award.
Abdul Hafeez Kardar was the first captain of the Pakistan cricket team. Commonly referred to as the father figure of Pakistan cricket, Kardar’s contribution toward cricket in Pakistan are numerous.
Kardar was an experienced cricketer; he used to play for India before the creation of Pakistan. Under Kardar’s captaincy, Pakistan played 23 test matches against all the leading teams of that time and was victorious against all of them. Pakistan got its test status in 1952 and toured India; there they lost the series 2-1 but Pakistan managed to win the second test at Lucknow comprehensively. Pakistan’s greatest achievement under Kardar’s captaincy was the victory against England at Oval. Australia was also beaten by Pakistan in Karachi in 1957 by Kardar’s men.
Kardar was a dauntless left handed batsman known for cracking the ball right over the bowler’s head. As a left hand spin bowler, he was equally effective. Kardar was also associated with Warwickshire. In his career as a cricketer, Kardar score 6,832 runs and captured 344 wickets.
Kardar was a visionary who modernized Pakistan cricket and popularized the game. He was instrumental in putting Pakistan on the international cricket map. Kardar was also a strong advocate of promoting the game of cricket in Asia. Kardar retired in 1958. He later served Pakistan cricket as the President of the Pakistan Cricket Board. Passionate about cricket and sincere, he never compromised on his principles.
Kardar later became Pakistan’s ambassador to Switzerland. This great cricketer passed away in his hometown Lahore in 1996.
Pakistan has produced some finest cricketers this sport has ever witnessed. Many records in Cricket are held by Pakistani cricketers. Some of the old cricketers are more famous than the others. Here I would like to mention two of our cricketing heroes.
Wazir Mohammad was the eldest of the four Mohammad brothers who have made numerous contributions to cricket in Pakistan.
Wazir Mohammad was one of the members of the first Pakistani cricket team. He played 20 test matches and scored 801 runs including 2 centuries; his top score being 189. The number of first class matches played by Wazir Mohammad is 105 with 4931 being the total score. He scored 11 first class centuries.
Alimuddin was an opener who played for Pakistan from 1954 till 1962. Alimuddin was an attacking opening batsman who formed a perfect opening pair with Hanif Mohammad. Alimuddin scored 103 runs in the 1954-55 series against India in Karachi. In 1962, he thrilled the audience with a 109 runs innings against England.
Alimuddin was a genius with the bat. He is the youngest person to make a debut in first class cricket. Alimuddin played his first test for Rajasthan at the age of 12 years and 73 days. Alimuddin was a powerful player but managed to make only 1091 runs in 25 test matches. His first class record shows a total of 140 matches played with 7275 runs scored.
Alimuddin later became the national coach.
Wasim Hasan Raja was a Pakistani cricketer known for his stylish batting and bowling.
Born in Multan on 3rd July 1952, Raja had a Master’s Degree in political science. Cricket was a family affair as his father and his brother Zaeem Raja were first class cricketers. His younger brother Rameez Raja now a commentator was also a part of the Pakistan cricket team.
Wasim Raja captained the Pakistan under-19side during his college days. Raja was a fearless left handed middle order batsman and was never intimidated by any bowler. If a bouncer was thrown at him, it was hit for a boundary. Runs came freely to this stylish stroke player. He was also leg spinner and some of his victims were great names of his time.
Though Raja has delivered match winning performance both with the bat and the ball, his career best innings came against the West Indies. West Indies at that time (1976-77) totally dominated the cricket scene and often made a quick job of their opponents. Raja scored a century in both innings of the first test which ended in a draw. Raja was the top scorer for Pakistan with 517 runs at an average of 57.4. He also took 7 wickets and hit 14 sixes; a record though equaled but not broken to date. Wasim’s record against West Indies is one of the best in the world.
Wasim Raja was unfortunately the victim of dressing room politics and was often left out of the team. After retiring from cricket, Wasim Raja obtained a certificate in education from Durham University and pursued a career in teaching at the Caterham School. He settled in England after marrying an English lady. Wasim Raja remained involved with cricket one way or the other. He coached the Pakistan’s Under 19 team, served as ICC match referee from 2002 to 2004 and played for the English county Surrey. It was during a match over-50 side that he suffered a fatal heart attack and died in 2006. Overall Raja played 57 tests and 54 ODIs for Pakistan.
Mudassar Nazar was the opening batsman of the Pakistani cricket team. Mudassar is the son of Nazar Mohammad also an opener who also has the honor of being the first centurion of Pakistan. Following his father’s footsteps, Mudassar also carried the bat against India.
Being the son of a first class cricketer, cricket was in Mudassar’s veins. Since childhood he was interested in cricket. His interest turned into obsession fueled by the company of cricket greats like Fazal Mahmood, Hanif Mohammad, and A. H Kardar; all ex colleagues of his father. At the age of 10 he was sure that he would someday be a test player.
Mudassar Nazar made his cricket debut against Australia at Adelaide in 1976-77. Mudassar along with his partner gave a solid start to the Pakistani team. He was also a useful bowler and took crucial wickets when the main bowlers failed. Mudassar has a number of records to his credit; he scored the slowest century ever in Test and First Class cricket. He took 557 minutes to reach the triple score against England at Lahore. He along with Javed Miandad scored a 451 third wicket partnership against India in Hyderabad. His career best performance with the bat and the ball came against England in 1982. He made a record by scoring 4 centuries in that series and his brilliant bowling earned him the nickname of “Man with Golden Arm”. The English press also dubbed him as the secret weapon of Pakistan. Like his father, Mudassar also carried the bat; another record in cricket history.
Mudassar retired from test cricket in 1989. Since then he has served as a coach to Pakistani, Kenyan and other teams. The government of Pakistan honored the brilliant player with Pride of Performance award in 1989.
Hashim Khan is one of the greatest sqaush players from Pakistan. He was the first ever squash player to represent Pakistan and win the prestigious British Open title in 1951. This legendary player is better known as the founder of the Khan Dynasty which was to rule the world of squash for many years to come.
Born in Noakilli in 1916 in pre partitioned India, Hashim Khan came from a humble background. His father was a steward in a club where the British officers played squash. Hashim used to retrieve the balls which went out of the court. When the officers left the court, Hashim and the other boys practised in the empty court.
Hashim got enough practice and was appointed the squash coach at a British Air Force Officer’s Mess in 1942. Hashim became the first All of India Squash champion in 1944 and defended his title for two consecutive years. Hashim chose to stay in Pakistan after its creation and in 1949 he became the first squash champion of Pakistan.
In 1951, Hashim Khan participated in the British Open Championship and won the final beating Mahmoud Karim of Egypt. At that time Hashim was 35 years old; at this age most players think of retiring but the strong willed Hashim Khan defended his title successfully for many years defeating players from Egypt, England and compatriot Pakistanis.
Hashim remained the British Open Champion five times, the US title 3 times and was the winner of Canada Open three times.
On an international stage, Pakistan is clearly struggling with its distorted image. Every one of us as being a Pakistani knows that we are not what we are being portrayed. In this time of despair and struggle, there are people who still fancy Pakistan as being the blood supply of every beating heart. One such talented Pakistani is Sarmad Sohail who is a musician and has been living in England since three years. Here is his beautiful expression for Pakistan:
It is a very important and fundamental question to me, Sohail says. Why do I love Pakistan? I would answer; nobody can say why he/she loves someone. Love is a gift from Al-Mighty and we can only enjoy it and appreciate it but cannot say why we love someone. Yet a simple answer is because Pakistan is my Mother land and its gives me my identity.
I have been living in UK for over three and a half years now. For me being Pakistani is a matter of Identity. Anywhere I go I am and Insha Allah I will be identified as a Pakistani. To me it’s just like name of a father that gives u Identity in a society, Nationality gives you sense of identity in this world. Pakistan gives you a feeling of being related to and a place with which one can identify.
Although on international stage being a Pakistani is almost a criminal offense, yet I am happy and equally proud to be known as a Pakistani only because I believe to some extent and have a small realization of what Almighty has given to this wonderful piece of land. I am proud to be from Indus Valley Civilization which hosts the world’s best cultural heritage. I am proud of Pakistan for being naturally beautiful, the cultural diversity, rich lingual heritage, being home to world’s 3 largest mountain Ranges, being the homeland to Abdul Sattar Eidhi, its sufi heritage and message of peace. There is a never ending list of these characteristics. The only thing which worries me is the pure negligence of its people towards all these beautiful gifts. Not only we neglect it but they refuse to accept it. The only fact that gives me hope to carry on with the struggle to glorify the distorted image of my beloved country is what Allama Muhammad Iqbal said:
“nahi hai na-Umeed Iqbal apni Kisht-e-viraan se …
zara nam ho tu yeh mitti bari zarkheez hai saqi …”