The Unpredictables – Part II: 1950s

Pakistan as a country has been through a number of highs and lows since traumatic partition in 1947 and its cricket has followed the similar pattern in direct proportion, showing how this sport is embedded in social, political and cultural facets of the country. Initially dispersed, unrecognised, underfunded and weak, Pakistan’s cricket team grew to become a major force in world cricket. Pakistan cricket team is regarded as the most unpredictable and mercurial team. In this series of blogs we shall dig into social, political, cultural and sporting history of cricket in Pakistan.

Read Part I here Part I – 1940s: Partition and Founding Stones of Cricket in Pakistan (1947 – 1950)


 

Part II – 1950s: Pakistan announces itself to cricket world (1951 – 1960)

Famous victory against MCC and ICC’s test status

MCC’s 1951-52 tour was of India, Pakistan and Ceylon was just six weeks away and a big challenge confronted Kardar to build the team. MCC was the name under which England teams toured overseas until 1977. It was a contest between father and children of the game.

Pakistan’s first match against MCC was at Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore around mid-November 1951. MCC batted first on a lively pitch and struggled against pace of Khan Muhammad and leg-spin of Amir Elahi who took 5 and 4 wickets respectively. MCC was bowled out for 254.

Maqsood Ahmed a former Pakistan stylish test batsman © PCB

Maqsood Ahmed a former Pakistan stylish test batsman © PCB

Pakistan in reply posted a mammoth score of 428-8 (declared) with help of aggressive Maqsood Ahmad’s, known as ‘Merry Max’, 137, Ebrahim Gahazli’s 86 and crucial 48 runs by Kardar. By now the pitch was pacified, and MCC lost only 1 wicket in scoring 368 to save the game. Wisden made important comments on this match:

 ‘Expecting a reasonably quiet time in Pakistan, MCC found the standard of cricket higher than expected.’

The first match also coincided with Kardar’s marriage to Shahzadi, sister to his team-mate Zulfiqar Ahmad. The MCC travelled to the wedding on special tongas from Faletti’s Hotel, where they were staying.

If there is any match of more significance after the final of 1992’s Cricket World Cup for Pakistan cricket, it has to be second match of touring MCC in Nov-Dec 1951 at Karachi GymKhana Ground. Kardar was lucky to lose toss to MCC captain Nigel Howard. The ball swung nastily for 2 days and MCC were all out for 123 in first innings. It was time for Fazal Mahmood to shine at international level who took 6 wickets for 40 runs. However, Pakistan batting also fell apart and scored only 130 runs. MCC played much better in second innings and scored 291 runs thus giving a target of 285 runs for Pakistan to win, a task that looked beyond them.

A 5ft 3in tall, weighing merely 60 kg approximately, with a crouching batting stance and ultra-defensive technique defied the MCC Test-class attack of Statham, Shackleton and Tattersall for 4 hours. Hanif Muhammad announced himself to international cricket and scored 64 runs as opener. Later Kardar scored a critical half century and Fazal struck the winning runs for Pakistan.

There was jubilation and celebration all around, as ground echoed with slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad!’ by some 20,000 spectators. There was political turmoil in the country and cricket seemed to be one thing that guaranteed unity and offered triumph. A consequence of this win was that Pakistan gained international recognition and was given full test status by the ICC on July 28, 1952. Pakistan cricket had arrived.

Kardar and Fazal with Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimudin after third match against MCC at Karachi.

Kardar and Fazal with Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimudin after third match against MCC at Karachi.

First official test series of Pakistan

The romance with the game of cricket in Pakistan had begun. Pakistan toured India in 1952-53 for playing its first official test series. It was a team that was lacking in experience, only Kardar and the ageing Amir Elahi had played test cricket. But what the team lacked in experience, it made up in enthusiasm. Pakistan lost the 5 match series 2-1, but not without notching up a spectacular win in the Lucknow test match, Pakistan’s first test victory.

Amir Elahi © PCB

Amir Elahi © PCB

The match at Lucknow, second of the series, was played on a jute-matting wicket. Though he had never played on such a surface before, it suited Fazal Mahmood. Amarnath won the toss and decided India would bat first. By tea-time Pakistan bowled them out for 106. Fazal destroyed Indian batting and ended up with figures of 5-52. ‘He was man inspired to crush Indian batsmen’, recorded Kardar.

In reply Pakistan posted score of 331 with the help of brilliant 124 by Nazar Muhammad. In second innings Fazal started from where he had left and took 7 more wickets as India lost by an innings. Indian team endured the hostility of crowd as abuse and stones were pelted by the crowd on team bus.

Lucknow University 1952 – Imtiaz Ahmed, Hanif Mohammad, Abdul Hafeez kardar and Fazal Mahmood

Lucknow University 1952 – Imtiaz Ahmed, Hanif Mohammad, Abdul Hafeez kardar and Fazal Mahmood

The tour had generated goodwill on the both sides of the border. It has established Pakistan as a Test-Playing nation. Now Pakistan had something exciting to look forward to: MCC now extended Pakistan an invitation to play 4 tests in England, the home of cricket, the following summer.

Inception of domestic cricket

Named after Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, who was known as “Quaid-e-Azam” (Great Leader), the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (QAT) was introduced in the 1953-54 season to help the selectors pick the squad for Pakistan’s Test tour of England in 1954. 5 regional and 2 departmental teams competed in the first competition: Bahawalpur, Punjab, Karachi, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh, Combined Services and Pakistan Railways.

Historic victory at Oval – the defining moment of Pakistan cricket

If one has to identify the defining moment in history of Pakistan cricket it has to be Pakistan’s tour of England in 1954. Dubbed as “the babes of cricket” and mercilessly but affectionately patronised by the English media, Pakistani was to pull off one of the greatest upsets in cricket when it beat England at The Oval and drew the series.

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Pakistan team was in tatters as it approached the fourth Test match at the Oval: Kardar’s job on the line, dissension in the camp, ridicule in the press, and Pakistan’s position as a Test nation in question. In many teams everything would have fallen apart, but not Kardar’s babes.

Kardar won the toss and defiantly chose to bat. Hanif got out LBW to Statham in first over. Statham, Tyson and Loader demolished Pakistan batting as Pakistan was bowled out for a disgraceful 133. However next morning Pakistan had its first piece of luck on tour as a monsoon-like outburst turned Oval into a lake and wiped out the day’s play.

Fazal became lethal and took 6 England wickets for 53 runs in a spell of 30 consecutive overs, Hutton, May, Compton and Graveney among his victims. Mahmood Hussain played an excellent support role by taking 4 wickets. England was bowled out for 130.

Mahmood Hussain © The Cricketer International

Mahmood Hussain © The Cricketer International

Pakistan was back in game. Second innings started badly again and Pakistan were 82-8 at one stage. Then Wazir Mohammad managed two gutsy partnerships with Zulfiqar Ahmad and Mahmood Hussain which put together crucial 82 runs. England needed 168 runs to win.

Fazal bolwed the spell of his life and took 6 wickets for just 43 runs. England was bowled out for 143 and Pakistan won the match by 24 runs. Pakistan’s name had come prominently on the map of international cricket. The English were stunned and the newspapers wrote that England had been “Fazalled”. The team received the tumultuous reception when it arrived home. Cricket had ceased to be the game for the elite. It had become a national passion and the fortunes of the cricket team were to be forever linked to the pride and aspirations of the country.

Oval test match in Oval, this is still a record that this was the first team to beat England in England in their very first series. Imtiaz Ahmed caught behind 7 players in this match

Oval test match in Oval, this is still a record that this was the first team to beat England in England in their very first series. Imtiaz Ahmed caught behind 7 players in this match

The Pakistan team, led out by Fazal Mahmood, leave the ground after levelling the series. (Soruce: ESPNCricinfo)

The Pakistan team, led out by Fazal Mahmood, leave the ground after levelling the series. (Soruce: ESPNCricinfo)

India’s and New Zealand’s tour of Pakistan, a solitary match with Australia and humiliation of a Pakistani Umpire

Very few Test series have been expected so eagerly as the India’s tour of Pakistan which followed the Oval test victory and few have disappointed so much. The scoring rate rarely exceeded 2 runs per over. At the end of the 5-match series ended 0-0, the first time in history that such a thing had ever happened. After the fourth drawn Test in Peshawar in 1954-55, the Ambala Tribune published match report entitled ‘Match Saved but Cricket Killed’.

Both the 1952-53 and 1954-55 Test series took place against the background of threats and sabre-rattling speeches by political leaders. It was becoming evident that Tests between Pakistan and India had developed a unique sensibility. Those who were normal became slightly insane. Those who were already troubled were temporarily blinded with a kind of madness.

Shuja-ud-Din (a future army colonel and historian of Pakistan cricket), right, going out with Alimuddin to open Pakistan’s second innings in the third Test at Lahore against India, 1955. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Petper Oborne).

Shuja-ud-Din (a future army colonel and historian of Pakistan cricket), right, going out with Alimuddin to open Pakistan’s second innings in the third Test at Lahore against India, 1955. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Petper Oborne).

Unusually Pakistan faced two touring teams in the winter of 1955-56. The first tourists were New Zealand. This three-Test series, won 2-0 by the home side, showed that Pakistan were capable of playing beautiful and fluent cricket. The contrast with rancorous and damaging series that started just 6 weeks later, against a touring party sent over by the MCC, is striking.

MCC ‘A’ team visited Pakistan in 1955-56 and is mainly remembered for the Peshawar incident in which some members of the MCC team roughed up the standing umpire Idris Beg. The MCC ‘A’ team came close to being asked to pack their bags and go home. Some seven team members of MCC travelled by tonga up to the Services hotel, adjacent to the cricket ground where both Idris Baig and the Pakistan team were staying. They abducted Idris Baig and took him on tonga, driven by England player, to Dean’s hotel. They made him sit down in a chair under the skylight where the buckets of water awaited him.

MCC tourists to Pakistan, 1955 – 56, arrive back at London Airport. The tour was marred by controversy following the treatment meted out to umpire Idris Baig. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.

MCC tourists to Pakistan, 1955 – 56, arrive back at London Airport. The tour was marred by controversy following the treatment meted out to umpire Idris Baig. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.

In 1956 Australia, led by Ian Johnson played a solitary test match at Karachi which Pakistan won convincingly on a matting wicket, Fazal Mahmood and Khan Mohammad being more than a handful for a tired Australian team that was returning from England after being soundly thrashed. The Australian side was full of famous names – Neil Harvey, Richie Benaud, Alan Davidson, Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller.

President Iskander Mirza watching Pakistan defeat Australia in October 1956. Mirza is sitting next to his prime minister, Huseyn Suhrwardy. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne).

President Iskander Mirza watching Pakistan defeat Australia in October 1956. Mirza is sitting next to his prime minister, Huseyn Suhrwardy. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne).

Pakistan in West Indies, world records and retirement of AH Kardar

In 1957-58 Pakistan toured the West Indies, their first visit abroad since the England tour of 1954. It is hard to recapture today the magnitude of the journey upon which the Pakistan cricket team embarked to the Caribbean in December 1957. It was a team that left in high hopes but these hopes were dashed and Pakistan lost the series but was able to win the final test match. Two world records were established in this series. Gary Sobers passed Len Hutton’s record of 364, the highest in the test by an individual and made 365 in the Kingston test match, and Hanif Mohammad made a monumental 327 at Bridgetown, Barbados, batting for 970 minutes, and saving a test match that Pakistan seemed certain to lose. It established Hanif Mohammad as a legend of the game.

Hanif Muhammad walks back after his epic 337. (Source: ESPNCricinfo)

Hanif Muhammad walks back after his epic 337. (Source: ESPNCricinfo)

Kardar retired after this series. Under his leadership, Pakistan had won at least one test match against every opponent. He had instilled discipline in the team and had drilled the will to win within the team members, something that Imran Khan was to do later.

A Military Coup, Hanif runs out on 499 and Fazal replaces Kardar

The departure of Kardar coincided with the collapse of civil administration in Pakistan, In October 1958, President Iskander Mirza proclaimed martial law, only to be overthrown himself a few weeks later by the man he appointed  chief martial law administrator, General Ayub Khan. The provinces were divided into smaller local units and it reflected in cricket administration as well. The Punjab Cricket Association broke up into associations for Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi, and the Sindh Association split between Khairpur and Hyderabad.

The QAT in 1958-59 was dominated by an extraordinary batting feat in the semi-final between Karachi and Bahawalpur, the defending champions. Hanif Muhammad batted for mammoth 635 minutes and scored 499 runs when he was eventually run out while going for his 500th run. 29 year old record of Bradman for highest first-class score had fallen. Ayub Khan gave Hanif a specially struck Pride of Performance medal.

Fazal Mahmood took over the captaincy, a natural successor to Kardar, and met with immediate success when the West Indies toured Pakistan in 1958-59, winning the series though one felt that the umpiring standards left much to be desired. Gary Sobers failed to make any big scores and fell victim to some dodgy decisions. He makes bitter mention of the tour in his book. But at Lahore another two records were set. Mushtaq Mohammad at the age of 15 years and 124 days became the youngest player to play test cricket and Pakistan lost its first match on its soil. The West Indies, led by a blistering 216 by Rohan Kanhai romped home to an innings win.

Richie Benaud’s Australians came in 1958-59. It was a disastrous series for Pakistan as it lost the three match series 2-0. After the third test match Ayub Khan was lobbied by Richie Benaud, who urged him for the sake of Pakistani cricket to eliminate matting. The new president and patron of BCCP listened to him and issued an order for all first-class grounds to install turf wickets. Thus Pakistan has Benaud to thank for the development of its cricket facilities.

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Wisden’s Player of Year during decade of 50s: Fazal Mahmood (1955)

 

Continued…

Next in ‘The Unpredictables’ series: Part III – 1960s: The Lost Decade


Sources:

  • Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack
  • ‘Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan’ by Peter Oborne
  • ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier
  • ESPNcricinfo archives (www.espncricinfo.com)
  • ‘Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan’ by Shaharyar M. Khan and Ali Khan
  • Imran Khan’s Autobiography ‘Pakistan: A Personal History’
  • ‘All round view’ by Imran Khan
  • ‘Controversially Yours’ by Shoaib Akhtar
  • Cricket Archive (www.cricketarchive.com)
  • PTV Sports (sports.ptv.com.pk)
  • Pakistan Cricket Board (www.pcb.com.pk)

This blog was first published on Pak Tea House.

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Coke Studio is back with a bang

Last season (season 6) of the Coke Studio was big disappointment. Rohail Hayat, ex-producer, had set a very high standard of the music through season 1 to 3 but it declined with every passing season subsequently. Last season ended abruptly under controversial circumstances.


 

Read: Coke Studio: My favourite five songs!


 

This year Coke Studio has been produced by The Strings. First episode is available on the website and I must say its absolutely brilliant. The show is back with a bang.

‘Lai Beqadraan Naal Yaari’ by Tufail Niazi was the first song which was aired on Pakistan Television (PTV) when it was launched. It was sung by Niazi brother in this first episode of season 7 and is absolutely brilliant. My favourite song of this episode.

Here are all the tracks of first episode of season 7:

LAI BEQADRAAN NAAL YAARI

 

SUB AAKHO ALI ALI

 

TUM NARAZ HO

 

MEIN SUFI HOON

 

 

The Unpredictables – Part I: 1940s

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The eternal drama of Pakistan cricket never ceases to fascinate the fans of Cricket game. Why would it? There are only few teams in world cricket, rather world sports, as unpredictable and mercurial as Pakistan. They will be a laughing stock one day with their amateur performance and next day exhibit flamboyant performance with ability to beat best in the world. If not for Pakistani cricket team, cricket would have been the most boring sport of the world.

Pakistan as a country has been through a number of highs and lows since traumatic partition in 1947 and its cricket has followed the similar pattern in direct proportion, showing how this sport is embedded in social, political and cultural facets of the country. Initially dispersed, unrecognised, underfunded and weak, Pakistan’s cricket team grew to become a major force in world cricket. In this series of blogs we shall dig into social, political, cultural and sporting history of cricket in Pakistan.

Part I – 1940s: Partition and Foundation Stones of Cricket in Pakistan (1947 – 1950)

The trauma of partition

August 14, 1947 – newly created boundaries of Pakistan and India emerged on the map of the world as a result of partition of the Indian sub-continent. An ambitious young fast bowler, Fazal Mahmood, was not going to let political and social chaos, prevalent at that time, to get in the way of his dreams. He left Lahore and made over a 1000 kilometres journey through Punjab and Sindh to reach Bombay, when millions of Muslim migrants were making the journey in an opposite way i.e. from India to Pakistan. From Bombay, Fazal went to Poona to report at All-India training-camp organised for selecting a squad for the upcoming tour of Australia. The camp was abandoned after few days due to non-stop monsoon rains and chaotic political situation. Fazal had to make a risk journey back to Lahore and very nearly met a bloody end on the train back from Poona to Bombay. Hindu fanatics would have lynched him but for the intervention of his travelling companion, the Indian cricket legend CK Nayudu, who defended Fazal against attackers with his cricket bat.

Fazal Mahmood  (Source: ESPNCricinfo)

Fazal Mahmood
(Source: ESPNCricinfo)

The story of Fazal portrays what inhabitants of two nations went through. Fazal was back in Lahore on September 13, 1947. After immense family pressures and with extreme reluctance, Fazal cabled Lala Amarnath, Indian team’s captain and cricket legend, saying that he would not be able to join the tour. This decision turned out to be one of the most important decisions of his life and one of the greatest blessings for Pakistan cricket. Few years later, Fazal would become the instigator, torchbearer and legend of fast bowling in Pakistan cricket.

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The beginnings – Setting up cricket administration body

The official national sport of Pakistan is Hockey but practically it’s the game of cricket. However, this was not the case at the time of partition. Pakistan inherited very little by way of industry and infrastructure when it separated from the rest India. The biggest challenge for the government was to construct the new country’s economic, industrial, social and sports infrastructure.

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Development of any sport is directly related to environment in which it evolves – Pakistan cricket has not been different in this respect. The game of cricket was virtually unknown throughout much of rural areas of Pakistan. Even in the urban centres of Lahore and Karachi, cricket was played mainly by upper–middle classes. The game structure was weak with just two turf wickets in the whole country, at Lahore and Karachi. Most of the players who were to represent Pakistan early years came from Lahore – products of Government and Islamia colleges and clubs such as Crescent and Mamdot. Some of them had played in the Ranji trophy, the premier domestic tournament of pre–partition India. The future of Pakistan cricket was looming in dark as it could have become a mere satellite of India. However, Pakistan hung on as a result of sheer hard work and determination.

For quite some time Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) held Pakistan to ransom. Either it could have first class and Test cricket as part of India – or not have first-class cricket at all. Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) indicated to BCCI that it would prefer India to remain, for cricketing purposes, a single country. For Pakistan, to go it alone meant a giant leap in the dark but it was determined to do so.

The idea of a cricket board was first floated in the summer of 1947 and after preliminary work over course of a year; Board of Control of Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP) was formally founded on May 1, 1948 at a meeting in the pavilion of Lahore Gymkhana Cricket Ground.

The first president of the BCCP was Khan Iftikhar Hussain Nawab of Mamdot. It had three vice-presidents: Justice AR Cornelius, Lt Col. Baker and Mr Britto. KR collector was made the secretary of the Board. Hussain provided the much needed social and political strength. Cornelius, a brilliant man who would later become Chief Justice of Pakistan, provided the intellect to organise the daily affairs. He followed cricket on craze basis. Collector’s home at 72 Garden Road, Karachi was the first official address of BCCP. Diversity of the background of these cricket administrators can be judged by the fact that Cornelius and Britto were Christians; Collector was a Parsi and Col. Baker was an Anglican – reflecting the Jinnah’s vision for a liberal Pakistan.

Justice AR Cornelius

Justice AR Cornelius

A key decision that was made at first meeting was to ask Governor-general Jinnah to become patron of BCCP. It might have been a necessity at that time but it certainly paid a heavy price in future. Since inception, the post has been used to accommodate political cronies by the governments in power.

Preliminary structure of first-class cricket

The situations was so grim in early years that throughout the 1947–48 season only one first-class game was played, a traditional fixture between Punjab University and Governor of West Punjab’s XI, at magnificent Lawrence Gardens (now called Bagh-e-Jinnah).The match was hosted by Sir Fancis Mudie, governor of West Punjab, who was one of a handful officials and military officers who had been personally requested by Jinnah to stay behind after independence. All most all of the great cricketers of the time, including Fazal Mahmood, Jahangir Khan, Nazar Muhammad and Mian Mohammad Saeed, played in the match which ended in draw.

Nazar Muhammad (Source: ESPNCricinfo)

Nazar Muhammad (Source: ESPNCricinfo)

Lahore GymKhana Cricket Ground, Bagh-e-Jinnah Lahore

Lahore GymKhana Cricket Ground, Bagh-e-Jinnah Lahore

There were just 5 domestic first-class fixtures in the 5 years after independence whereas India hosted 88 Ranji Trophy fixtures during this period. Cricket in Pakistan was limited to one-day club games and certain school and inter-university fixtures. Although it played an essential role in maintaining a cricket culture, it was not enough. BCCP needed to take immediate steps to set up first-class structure. In the absence of serious domestic cricket, the only way to do this was to attract international teams to Pakistan.

Beginning of international games for Pakistan

The efforts of BCCP finally paid off. West Indies (WI) was the first international team, which toured Pakistan and for Pakistani cricketers it was a portentous occasion. WI had taken a break from their 5 test tour of India to play at Pakistan and considered it just a relaxing break. Infact, Lala Amarnath told WI captian John Goddard, ‘It is just a schoolboys’ team’. This remark got back to the Pakistan players, who were enraged.

West Indian captain John Goddard and Pakistani captain Mian Muhammad Saeed

West Indian captain John Goddard and Pakistani captain Mian Muhammad Saeed

The tour started with a drawn game against Sindh Province in Karachi. Next stop was Rawalpindi where WI payed against General Sir Douglas Gracey’s eleven, then the commander-in-chief. Pakistan’s cricketers were disgracefully dismissed for 96 in their first innings, and lost the match by 9 wickets.

Now came the major event of the tour, Pakistan vs WI at Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore. Pakistan was captained by Mian Muhammad Saeed. Mian Saeed, the first captain of Pakistan, had a career that extended from 1930 to 1954. He played for various Indian teams, including Southern Punjab in the Ranji Trophy, in the 1930s and 1940s, and for Punjab cricket teams in Pakistan in the 1940s and 1950s.

The opening pair, Imtiaz Ahmed and Nazar Muhammad put on 148 for the first wicket, but thereafter the team bundled out to a disappointing 241. The opening bowler, Munawwar Ali Khan, regarded as fastest bowler in Pakistan, got his team off to a scintillating start by dismissing George Carew, opening batsman, and skipper John Goddard on first two deliveries of the first over. He broke the stump in to two when he dismissed Goddard who was very annoyed at being misled by Indians. WI, however, then recovered to a total of 308 in first innings.

Imtiaz Ahmad (Source: ESPNCricinfo)

Imtiaz Ahmad (Source: ESPNCricinfo)

 

Munawwar Ali Khan

Munawwar Ali Khan

In second innings, Imtiaz and Saeed gave a thrashing to WI bowlers by scoring centuries and putting on a stand of 205 for the second wicket. Eventually the game ended out as a draw. However, by giving tough competition to WI, Pakistan cricketers had made a perfect start in their pursuit of Imperial Cricket Conference’s (ICC) recognition as a Test-playing country.

In the following April, Pakistan team toured Ceylon (name changed to Sri Lanka in 1972) for a two match series. Pakistan beat them by an innings in the first ‘unofficial Test’ and by ten wickets in second.

Pakistan was gradually acquiring a settled look with Nazar Mohammad and Imtiaz Ahmad forming a strong opening pair, Mian Saeed and Alimuddin providing solidity to middle order and Khan Mohammad along with Fazal Mahmood forming a deadly bowling partnership.

Khan Muhammad

Khan Muhammad

In November 1949 Commonwealth XI visited Pakistan which majorly composed of players whose careers were nearing an end. It was a humiliating result for Pakistan as its batting failed twice in the match played at Bagh-e-Jinnah. At the end of the game furious crowd threw stones and verbal abuse at Pakistani players. People called for game to be abandoned. Cricket in Pakistan was breathing its last.

Emergence of AH Kardar

Mian Saeed had set the ground work for Pakistan cricket. He deserved to be forgiven for the fiasco at the Bagh-e-Jinnah against the CommonWealth XI and probably would have been but for the fact the Abdul Hafeez Kardar had returned to Pakistan after an absence of almost 5 years.

Brought under controversial circumstances, Cornelius and Kardar then formed a formidable partnership to achieve an uphill task facing Pakistan – to achieve the status of Test-playing country. Kardar, emerging from Oxford, was marked out as a future leader of Pakistan. It has been widely believed by most of Kardar’s fellow cricketers that he was set upon dislodging Mian Saeed, and undermined his standing by refusing to play under his captaincy.

The Oxford University side against MCC in 1948. (Back row) Nigel Bloy, William Davidson, Jika Travers, Christopher Winn, Basil Robinson. (Middle row) Abdul Kardar, Philip Whitcombe, Tony Pawson, Anthony Mallett, William Keighley. (Sitting) Clive van Ryneveld, Hubert Webb. © MCC

The Oxford University side against MCC in 1948.
(Back row) Nigel Bloy, William Davidson, Jika Travers, Christopher Winn, Basil Robinson. (Middle row) Abdul Kardar, Philip Whitcombe, Tony Pawson, Anthony Mallett, William Keighley. (Sitting) Clive van Ryneveld, Hubert Webb.
© MCC

Kardar had played test cricket having toured England with the Indian team in 1946 and having played both for Oxford and Warwickshire. Kardar took great pride in dressing like an English gentleman, but as he became more confident, “he acquired a post-colonial sensibility.” The English way of running the game no longer appealed. This conversion had consequences for Pakistani cricket, which began to focus inwardly. It learnt to run before it could walk – playing Test cricket before there was a domestic structure in place.

The immediate challenge which faced Kardar after taking over was the task of leading country against MCC, the name under which England team used to tour overseas, which was to tour Pakistan in November 1951.

 

 Key Players of 40s: Nazar Muhammad, Khan Muhammad and Mian Muhammad Saeed

 

Continued…

 Next in ‘The Unpredictables’: Part II – 1950s: Pakistan announces itself to Cricket World (1951 – 60)


Sources:

  • Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack
  • ‘Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan’ by Peter Oborne
  • ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier
  • ESPNcricinfo archives (www.espncricinfo.com)
  • ‘Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan’ by Shaharyar M. Khan and Ali Khan
  • Imran Khan’s Autobiography ‘Pakistan: A Personal History’
  • ‘All round view’ by Imran Khan
  • ‘Controversially Yours’ by Shoaib Akhtar
  • Cricket Archive (www.cricketarchive.com)
  • PTV Sports (sports.ptv.com.pk)
  • Pakistan Cricket Board (www.pcb.com.pk)

This blog was first published on Pak tea House.

10 Books Challenge

It’s time to bid goodbye to ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which went viral on social media during July – August 2014. But now we have another challenge making rounds on the social media: ‘The Book Bucket Challenge’ or ’10 Books Challenge’. I have been nominated by quite a number of people over social media for this challenge.

First question that often creeps in the mind is why this would be a challenge? Answer is for book lovers this is a daunting task. To select a list of 10 books you loved and had an effect on you from a humongous personal collection of books or library is surely a difficult task.

After being nominated, the first question  that crossed my mind was what’s the background of this challenge. While searching I came across this article on web which might be useful in case you want to know what this challenge is all about: “What The Book Bucket Challenge Is All About?”

Without further ado, here you go, folks. My list of 10 books in no particular order is:

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1. “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History” by Michael H. Hart.

This book is really worth reading. It is perhaps one of the greatest books on the analysis of history ever written. Hart’s selection may surprise some and questioned by others. Nevertheless its an excellent and enlightening book on the works and life of various personalities who changed the course of history of the world.

2. “Wounded Tiger: The History of Cricket in Pakistan” by Peter Oborne.

For cricket enthusiast and lovers like me who grew up watching sports in 1990s and 2000s derive inspiration from likes of Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam ul Haq, Muhammad Yousaf, Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Misbah ul Haq and Saeed Ajmal. We are not much aware of the cricket history and heroes before 90s. That is why the first half of the this book which analyses Pakistan cricket from partition to 1980s was the best part for me. I wrote are review of this book as well which you can read here: Book Review: “Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan” by Peter Oborne.

3. “Udas Naslain” by Abdullah Hussain

Its a classic. One of best Urdu novels and a very fine book on the events of Indo-Pak partition. The book takes us deep into the issues of partition related to masses who suddenly had to leave their homes of decades to unknown lands, without religious connotations. A beautiful piece of writing. It is simply unputdownable. An English translation of this book is also available now. Check it out here.

4. “Lost History: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists” by Michael Hamilton Morgan

This book was brilliant and enlightening read for me. This book is a must read for both Muslims and non-Muslims. A fascinating read of the lost history of Muslim scientists, thinkers and artists had and influenced on the world. It clarifies a lot of misunderstandings. This book also helped me in writing an article, a more of thesis, on Muslim identity crises. You can read the article here: Muslim Identity Crises: From Golden Ages to Militancy.

5. “Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence” by Jaswant Singh

Mr Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, known as ‘Quaid-e-Azam’ (The Great Leader’) has been one of major inspirations in my life. It is one of the best books on partition and life of Mr Jinnah. Reading it from the perspective of a leader of BJP, an Indian political party, was really intriguing. 

6. “Raja Gidh” by Bano Qudsiyah

‘Gidh’ is the Urdu word for a vulture and ‘Raja’ is a Hindi synonym for king. This book is a work of art of immeasurable proportions. One of the best Urdu novels this book has quite a touch of philosophy as well. I learned a lot from this book.

7. “Sectarian War: Pakistan’s Sunni-Shia Violence and Its Links to the Middle East” by Khaled Ahmad

The narrative in this book is gripping and bold. I love reading history and this books was really enlightening for me. Any one who wants to understand the Sunni-Shia violence not only in Pakistan but world as well, this is your guide to it.

8. “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia” by Mohsin Hamid

It an excellent novel. It is a vital and affecting portrait of a teeming and globally significant, but largely unrecorded culture. The book shows the power of imagination and creativity of Mohsin Hamid, one of my favourite novelists. As you ll read it it ll sound pretty much real.

9. “The Prisoner” by Omar Shahid Hamid

All cities have secret lives but with so many hopes packed into such a cramped place, Karachi is in a league of its own. Omar has penned a brilliant novel. It portrays so much reality. The plot is full of so many twists and turns, suspense and thrill – it is unputdownable.

10. “Eleven Minutes” by Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho is my favourite novelist. I have read his so many novels. The content of this book might be explicit but its a very interesting read. You will have to reach the book with open mind to understand it.

 

So now I would like to extend the challenge to all of you. Please share your list in the comments box or in your blog by ping back. 😀

Liebster Award

A huge thanks

Kate and Anjana, thank you very much for nominating me for the Liebster Award !!

Anjana nominated me for the award way back in July. My apologies as I couldn’t get back in time. I absolutely always enjoy your blogs and writing, especially the fiction.

Kate nominated me for this award just recently. I always look forward to her posts. There is honesty and straight thinking in her writings. I love the way she helps and encourages fellow bloggers. And I give a special thanks to her for encouraging me to resume drawing/sketching after so many years.

I appreciate both of you from core of my heart. To be recognised by my fellow bloggers is quite encouraging for me.

Rules

So, on the rules now. Here are the rules you need to follow to complete the nomination for the award:

  1. You have to link back to the person that nominated you.
  2. You must answer all 11 questions given to you by the person who nominated you.
  3. After completing these questions you must nominate 11 bloggers and give them 11 questions of your choice.
  4. You must not nominate the person who nominated you.
  5. You must let your nominees know that they have been nominated and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

Answers to questions

Here are my answers to questions put forwarded by both Anjana and Kate:

Anjana

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1. What inspires you?

People who believe in themselves and always remain positive. Optimism and positivity is the only way forward in life. Negativity kills !

2. Your biggest dream?

To travel around the world and visit each and every place on the earth. Explore the nature and its beauty.

3. Where do you see yourself in 3 years time?

To travel around the world and visit each and every place on the earth. Explore the nature and its beauty.

4. If you were allowed to make ONE miracle happen, what would it be?

To end the fightings, battles, wars and hate in this world. Peace !!!

5. What are you most insecure about?

Well there isn’t any particular aspect of my life which I  am most insecure about but if I have to think of one that it could be being unhealthy or fat. Lol. I love food and eating but I try to stay away from unhealthy food as much as possible. I work out daily and am quite fit. Exercising daily actually keeps me relaxed.

6. What are you most secure about?

Hmm. That’s a difficult question. May be my confidence and positive attitude.

7.What is your take on ‘true love’?

It might not be smooth sailing most of the times but its the best feeling in the world.

8. If you had to give up one of these two, which one would it be? Reading OR Writing?

I won’t give up any of these two. However, as I have to choose one I might give up writing.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

9. Your favourite quote, And why is it special to you?

Here is a quote which I read somewhere many years ago. I can’t remember who quoted it but it had a big impact on outlook towards life. I guess its the best way to lead a life.

“Live like a candle which burns itself but gives light to other.’

10. Describe your perspective of life in 3 words.

Peace, Love, Positive.

11. Who is your favourite disney character? and why? 🙂

Mickey Mouse :D. Because of his energetic, lively and enjoyable personality.

 

Kate

liebster

1.  Why me?  What do I provide that has you coming back for more?

Your straightforwardness and positivity. Your help and encouragement and engaging with fellow bloggers all the time.

2.  Why did you begin blogging?

Well I always felt like speaking my heart out on many issues. More of it is about negativity and wrong things I observe in my daily life and I want to give my perspective as to how to make it right. Lot of my posts are about political and religious intolerance that is growing in the world. Moreover my interests include history, sports, music, movies and arts and I just want to express my views on it.

3.  This Peace Movement… are you ready to make people more aware?  Peace is the ONLY answer.

I am 100% in.

4.  If I handed you $1,000,000 what would you do with it?

Buy loads and loads of books and travel around the world. 😀

5.  What is your best advice for gaining more followers?

Lol. Well I guess I myself need advice on it. I guess the best way is to follow blogs of others and engage in discussions. In this way they often follow you back. And I guess there is no harm in following large no. of bloggers. It opens wide array of opinions, perspective and knowledge for us. The Daily Prompt on The Daily Post is I guess the best forum to use for getting more followers.

6.  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

It has to be Lahore. No second thoughts. It’s great place both historically and culturally. Lahoris are know for their hospitality and big heart. Here are famous quotes about Lahore:

لاہور لاہور  ہے !

Translation: Lahore is Lahore !!

Here is another one:

“Jinay Lahore nahi takiya O Jamia hi nahi !”

Translation: One who has not seen Lahore hasn’t born yet !

 

You can learn about the city here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahore

You can also read a blog on Lahore written by one of my friends: http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/19110/lahore-is-the-best-city-in-pakistan/

7.  Do you wear your heart on your sleeve or are you more reserved, making others earn your trust?

Well I guess I a bit reserved. Although I have a free, frank personality but I don’t wear my heart on my sleeves.

8.  Favorite vacation spot?

I toured Sri Lanka in 2010 and absolutely loved it. I frequently go to Northern Aread of Pakistan which is actually like heaven on earth. The scenery and landscape there is breathtaking. In future I have plans to visit Europe – I absolutely want to spend my vacations there.

See some of the breathtaking and beautiful photos of northern areas of Pakistan here: https://www.facebook.com/northernareasofpakistan/photos_stream

9.  Are you a cat person or a dog person?

I guess I am a dog person.

10.  I love to write, but right now, I’m in a funk.  What would you say to get me back into writing?

I love your writing so please get back into writing. 😀

11.  Favorite color?

Black and Blue.

 

My Nominees

1. Kate Fahey – FlippyZipFlop

2. Anjana Pradeep – The Mental Picture

3. Ihtzaz Qamar – Dr_IQ

4. Liberty Justice Blog

5. The Cricket Cauldron

6. FD Sheikh – In the name of Humanity

7. Mrs. Swiss – Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

8. TyroCharm

9. The world of Andy Lawson

10. Raja Rosela – Duniya Ku

11. A Little Fluff 

I know I can’t nominate persons who nominated me but I can’t miss them out. 😀

 

My Questions to you:

1. Why did you start this blog?

2. Who is greatest inspiration in your life?

3. What do you value most in life?

4. If you were a character from a movie, who would you be and why?

5. What is your most prized possession?

6. Why me? What do I provide that has you coming back for more?

7. What do you feel is your true identity? What do you think you’re really supposed to do in life? what is your dream/true talent?

8. Describe yourself in three words.

9. If you could stay at a certain age forever, what age would that be?

10. Tea or coffee?

11. What is your favourite way to unwind?

Book Review: “Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan” by Peter Oborne

The eternal drama of Pakistan cricket never ceases to fascinate the fans of Cricket game. Why would it? There are only few teams in world cricket, rather world sports, as unpredictable and mercurial as Pakistan. They will be a laughing stock one day with their amateurish performance and next day exhibit elated panache with ability to beat best in the world. If not for Pakistani cricket team, cricket would have been the most boring sport of the world.

Pakistan as a country has been through a number of ups and downs since traumatic partition in 1947 and its cricket has followed the similar pattern in direct proportion, perfectly summing up what this sport means to this country. Initially dispersed, unrecognised, underfunded and weak, Pakistan’s cricket team grew to become a major force in world cricket, explains Peter Oborne in his book “Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan”. Packed with memories from former players and top administrators, and digging deep into political, social and cultural history, this book is major study of sport and nationhood of Pakistan.

For cricket enthusiast and lovers like me who grew up watching sports in 1990s and 2000s derive inspiration from likes of Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam ul Haq, Muhammad Yousaf, Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Misbah ul Haq and Saeed Ajmal. We are not much aware of the cricket history and heroes before 90s. That is why the first half of the book which analyses Pakistan cricket from partition to 1980s was the best part for me. The book provided, in a smooth free flowing manner, a brilliant narrative of drama, politics, jokes and personalities of that era.

The book starts with a focus on the trauma of partition of 1947 and a particular focus on the lives of the two early heroes of Pakistani cricket: Abdul Hafeez Kardar and Fazal Mahmood. Kardar and Justice Cornelius were in some senses the creators of Pakistan’s cricket. Cornelius was a brilliant man who was vice-president of Board of Control of Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP) and later become Chief Justice of Pakistan. They formed a formidable partnership to help Pakistan achieving an uphill task of Test-playing nation. Kardar could often be seen cruel and intolerant but he was ultimately driven by passionate belief in the honour of Pakistan. Fazal Mahmood was the early instigator of a fast bowling tradition that has been backbone of great Pakistani cricketing sides over the years. It was emotional to read that Fazal on the way back to Pakistan from the camp in India after partition in 1947 would have been lynched by Hindu fanatics on a train were it not for the legendary Indian cricketer C K Nayudu, who defended Mahmood with his cricket bat.

The cricketing story of a decade and a half after the partition as narrated in the book is simply exhilarating. The exuberance of the cricket of this period seemed intertwined with the task of nation-building. The first Pakistani tour of India, victory at oval in 1954, India’s tour of Pakistan, the touring English MCC team’s kidnapping of a Pakistani umpire, exciting encounters with teams of West Indies and Australia, supremacy of Mohammads of Karachi and Burkis of Lahore, batting heroics of Muhammad Hanif and deadly bowling due of Fazal and Khan Muhammad – all of these have been told with a great mixture of drama, wit and charm.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

The book wandered in middle during the epochs of 60s and early 70s just like middle overs of a One Day match innings – slow in tempo but engaging. 1960s was a difficult period for cricket in Pakistan, which Oborne terms as ‘a lost decade’. In the 1960s, Pakistan won just two tests out of 30 played, both against New Zealand. Eight were lost, while 20 were drawn. Pakistan cricket was overcome by a morbid defensiveness. Avoiding defeat became the height of national ambition.

As the cricket entered its golden era in 1970s, the shape of Pakistani cricket started to change on positive note as well. The revolt of players against AH Kardar, administrator at that time, marked the transition. In 1976 the national side, hardened to defeat for so long time was suddenly stronger, angrier and more motivated capable of beating any side in the world. The team was fantastically led by attacking captain, Mushtaq Muhammad. Team had perfect balance of age and youth: Majid Khan, Asif Iqbal, Wasim Bari, Zaheer Abbas, Sarfraz Nawaz joined by new generation, of whom Imran Khan and Javed Miandad were soon to turn into giants.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

The book also touches the strong sense of Pakistan how it has been unfairly treated across the global community and press, particularly England. Javed Miandad’s batting achievements were undermined by an abrasive reputation. Imran Khan was portrayed as a “not especially gifted cricketer” in contrast to someone who was “always learning, always seeking to improve himself and always seeking out responsibility”.

Imran Khan and Javed Miandad formed a formidable partnership which took Pakistani cricket to great heights in 80s and 90s. Imran took charge of Pakistani team at vital moment of its cricketing history and Pakistani cricket came of age during that period. Pakistan cricketers were no longer patronised by the dominant white cricketing nations. Instead, they came to be feared and resented.

Two discoveries stand out during that period, Oborne explains. First one was the reverse swing. It was pioneered by Sarfraz Nawaz, passed on by Imran Khan to two Ws, Wasim and Waqar, who mastered it perfectly. Reverse swing became a primary cause of estrangement between Pakistan and white cricket nations in 1990s. Second was more of a rediscovery. It was emergence of wrist bowling in form of magician Abdul Qadir who was discovered by Imran.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

Pakistan was in disarray going into 1992 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. After a dismal start the cornered tigers were lifted by great leadership of Imran and Miandad’s consistency under pressure, who took Pakistan all the way to the final to lift the greatest prize of World Cricket.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

Pakistan cricket grew to altogether new levels in 1990s and 2000s marked by great victories and fight backs. Cricket which used by a game of urban upper-middle class people became a game of lower-middle class persons. Cricket grew geographically which was supported by financial revolution. However, this period was also marred by curse of match fixing, the Justice Qayyum report and spot fixing allegations in 2010 which resulted in ban of trio Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Amir. It also faced an age of isolation post 9/11 attacks when various teams refused to visit Pakistan on a number of occasions.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

Pakistan had a bright moment in 2009 when it won T20 World Cup under captaincy of Yonis Khan. However there was horrible moment too in same year. In 2009, as the Sri Lankan cricket team were on their way to a Test in Lahore, their team bus was attacked by militant gunmen. Since then Pakistan has played its home cricket in the UAE. Oborne remarks that against such a background, it seems miraculous that the game exists at all, let alone is considered by Pakistanis as their pride and joy.

Misbah-ul-Haq took over captaincy of a dejected Pakistani team. The task he faced was far more difficult than any previous captain, including AH Kardar. He had to lead a cricket team in exile, deal with constant charges of corruption and match-fixing, and confront a chaotic administration. Oborne has rightly put in his book that it speaks volumes for the character of Misbah who took the challenge and led team by example, self-belief and courage.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

‘Wounded Tiger’, Winner of the 2004 William Hill Sports Book of the Year, is not just about presenting a fascinating picture of story and characters of Pakistan cricket. It recognises the “beauty” of Pakistan with its ever-present follies. From the uncertainty over the ages of the record-breaking “teenaged debutants” to “master inventors” and the most shrewd of tacticians to the ability of pulling out surprises that is unique to Pakistan alone.

The following excerpt from the book perfectly sums up the nature of Pakistan and its cricket:

 “Everywhere I went in Pakistan, I was aware that people feel a huge sense of pride in their country. This pride expresses itself through the cricket team, whose white clothing against a green field nearly matches the colours of the national flag. Cricket is the game of the villages; it is the game of the towns. It is the game of the old; it is the game of the young, the rich and the poor. It is played in the plains of the Sindh and in the mountains of the north. It is played by the army and the Taliban. It is enjoyed by all Pakistan’s sects and religions. It is part of Pakistan’s history and also its future. It is magical and marvellous. Nothing else expresses half so well the singularity, the genius, the occasional madness of the people of Pakistan, and their contribution to the world sporting community.”

My rating of the book 8/10.


This blog was published on Pak Tea House.

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