The Little Grasp in motion.—File photograph
Hanif Mohammad, who died in Karachi on Thursday after battling with most cancers for years, was rated in his heyday as one of many biggest batsmen on the planet. Hundreds of thousands of his countrymen and followers of the sport throughout the globe are in deep mourning for a cricket icon who symbolised classical method and formidable defence.
The unique holder of the title ‘Little Grasp’ earlier than it was additionally bestowed on Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, the 2 Indian batsmen of subsequent generations, Hanif was born in Dec 1934 in Junagadh, India. He was the third son of Ameer Begum, a regional badminton champion of pre-partition days.
Hanif moved to Pakistan together with his household after independence and grew up in Karachi. In home cricket he first represented Bahawalpur, later enjoying for the Public Works Division, Karachi, and eventually Pakistan Worldwide Airways. Within the nationwide aspect, his position as a sheet anchor of his staff’s batting is the stuff of cricket folklore.
Hanif didn’t depend upon pure capability alone; he mixed it with a pointy cricketing mind to put in writing many historic chapters within the annals of Pakistan cricket.
Proper-hander Hanif was recognized for his astonishing powers of focus, tenacity and endurance. He was intuitive in addition to mechanical in his strategy — a trait typically described as a lethal mixture that may frustrate any bowler on the earth. All by means of his cricketing profession, he proved himself to be a batsman who was the right decide of a ball and one who would by no means raise the ball heavenwards because of an erratic stroke. His strokes have been straight out of the teaching guide and on the similar time pleasing to observe.
Initially groomed and educated by Grasp Abdul Aziz at Karachi’s Sindh Madressah, his skills have been instantly recognised.
Former Surrey paceman Alf Gover, who ran a training facility in London the place Hanif was despatched, was amazed by his method and declared that the boy had at his disposal all of the strokes that have been in any textbook; therefore no teaching was required.
Hanif’s psychological power and grit have been most famously in proof when he performed the longest innings within the historical past of Check cricket — sixteen hours and 10 minutes towards the mighty West Indies at Bridgetown, Barbados, in 1958. The marathon innings rescued Pakistan from the jaws of an ignominious defeat to a good draw.
It was a super stage for Hanif Mohammad to show his batting genius and unflappable temperament. And he did simply that. His monumental innings of 337 was not solely a match-saving knock but in addition a research in fearlessness and willpower.
One other document-setting knock got here the very subsequent yr when Hanif scored 499 on the Karachi Parsi Institute floor in a first-class fixture. The momentousness of the innings could be gauged from the truth that the Little Grasp’s identify got here to be bracketed with that of the legendary Don Bradman, who had 452 to his credit score, earlier than Brian Lara
surpassed it with 501 not out 35 years later.
Hanif’s Check debut got here at Feroz Shah Kotla Floor, New Delhi, in Oct 1952. The match was additionally Pakistan’s first.
He performed underneath the captainship of A. H. Kardar, Fazal Mehmood and Javed Burki, earlier than main Pakistan himself. Within the fifty five checks that he performed from 1952 to 1969, he averaged forty three:ninety eight with 12 lots of to his credit score.
With none doubt, Hanif was an idol of the publish-partition era, and in some instances a boyhood hero for a lot of lovers of the sport.
Sadly, like lots of his contemporaries Hanif didn’t get the limelight he deserved since there was very restricted cricket exercise through the Nineteen Fifties and 60s; his feats remained confined to print and radio commentaries.
Black-and-white clips of tv recordings saved in archives should present some comfort to these wanting to see Hanif Mohammad in motion in his peak. He was a sportsman who reworked the sport of cricket into the nation’s satisfaction. Numerous cricketers arrived on the nationwide scene in several eras and left spectacular data, however Hanif left an indelible mark within the annals of Pakistan cricket. He was greater than a batsman; he was the personification of an entire and correct cricketer.
After taking his bow from cricket, Hanif served PIA by managing its sports activities wing and continued his contribution to Pakistan in one other approach — by scouting uncooked expertise and sprucing it into gems. Pakistan Tv was one other organisation that availed the providers of the legend and used his information concerning the intricacies of the sport in its transmissions.
Outdoors the cricketing world, there’s an episode that speaks volumes concerning the legend that he was. Radio journalist Hamid Jalal, a nephew of grasp storyteller Saadat Hasan Manto, wrote in one in every of his items that his uncle had only a few unfulfilled wishes earlier than he left for his remaining abode.
His one want was to witness his beloved cricketer in motion. Manto’s cricketing information is probably not a yardstick, however within the passing of Hanif Mohammad, the cricketing world has misplaced an entire cricketer.
Revealed in Daybreak, August twelfth, 2016
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