Pakistan’s little master: Hanif Muhammad leaves a vacuum in Pakistan Cricket
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2016-08-13 07:32:37

Pakistan’s little master: Hanif Muhammad leaves a vacuum in Pakistan Cricket

Pakistan’s legendary former captain and batsman Hanif Muhammad, who held the record for the longest innings in Test cricket, passed away today after a prolonged battle with lung cancer. A spokesman for the Aga Khan Hospital, where he was being treated, confirmed that Muhammad had passed away at the age of 81. “He was in Intensive Care Unit and on a ventilator for respiratory problems and passed away today,” he said. He had earlier in the day, been declared clinically dead for around six minutes before he was revived back to life. Hanif’s son Shoaib Muhammad had first announced from the hospital on various television channels that his father had passed away after losing a protracted battle with various ailments. But few minutes later it was clarified that Muhammad was still alive. “His heartbeat had stopped for six minutes but the doctors managed to revive his heartbeat back,” Shoaib said. But after a few hours, Shoaib also confirmed that his father was no more. His contributions as an opening batsman were staggering. He is now chiefly remembered for the longest innings in Test history – his nearly thousand-minute long vigil against the mighty West Indies in Bridgetown. His 337, scored in the second innings when Pakistan was following on more than 450 runs behind, remains one of the greatest of all times and is rightly the first thing people will remember after hearing of his tragic death. Second on the list would be his epic 499 for Karachi against Bahawalpur, which stood as the highest ever first class score until it was eclipsed by Brian Lara in 1995. That he was run out chasing his 500th run in the final over of the match only adds to the innings’ legend. Hanif the cricketer was so much more than a couple of freakish innings. From the time he made his debut as a 17-year-old till his retirement, Hanif was the one outstanding batsman on whom our entire team depended. In his very first innings, he made a half century and as soon as he was dismissed the rest of the team crumbled for a score of 150. His batting is recalled for its stodginess, which was necessary given the fragility of our batting. But we should not forget his versatility. He started out for Pakistan as one of the few men in history who opened the batting and kept wicket as well. He could also bowl off-breaks with both his right and left arms. Above all, he caused a change in the cricketing culture of Pakistan. This Karachi boy ensured that the sport would no longer be seen as the preserve of the Lahori elite. Even after his retirement, Hanif kept contributing to the sport he loved so dearly. In 1972, he founded and served as chief editor of the beloved ‘Cricketer’ magazine and as recently as 2002 was a batting consultant to the national team. Ultimately, he will rank along with Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq as one of our greatest ever batsmen.

 

pk.shafaqna.com

 

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