Cricketer Taslim Arif (1954-2008) Passes Away

Posted on March 13, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, People, Sports
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Owais Mughal

Pakistan Cricket team’s former test wicket keeper batsman Taslim Arif has passed away. Taslim had lung problems and was feeling difficulty in respiration. He was admitted to the hospital on the morning of March 12.

He was born in Karachi on May 1, 1954. Taslim played six tests and two ODI matches from Pakistan. He made debut against India on January 29, 1980 in Calutta test with 90-run innings (Scorecard Here).

I have vivid memories of listening to the live commentary of his debut test match at our home. All the men in our house hold were gathered around a big radio set and every one was talking about this new lad Taslim Arif who scored brave 90 runs in his very first innings against India. In second innings also he was a top scorer with 46 along with Javed Miandad.

Taslim Arif’s real fame came from a test match in Faisalabad against Australia. There he came as an opener and scored 210 not out. It was a record score at that time by a wicket keeper batsman. (Scorecard Here). Interestingly the earlier world record of highest score by a wicket keeper also belonged to a Pakistani, Imtiaz Ahmad (209 not out). I remember myself being glued to TV for five days watching Pakistan and Taslim play in this match. Taslim first kept wickets for 3 days and then batted for 2 days. I remember that PTV commentators in that match were all praise for him that he stood in the ground for all 5 days. On the 5th day, the game was called drawn as soon as Taslim Arif broke Imtiaz Ahmad’s record.

Geo News reports:

He hit a total of 501 runs in six test matches with 62.62 average. As many as nine batsmen fell prey to him, of them, he caught six catches and three were stumped out.Though, he was a wicketkeeper, he also took a wicket while bowling in a test match. He made his debut in ODI match against West Indies on November 21, 1980.

Taslim was ailing for last couple of days and was under treatment in a Karachi hospital. He was part of commentary team for
Pentangular Cup being shown on Geo Super before his disease. The deceased left behind a widow, two sons and a daughter.

As a Commentator:

In mid 90s Taslim Arif started doing Urdu commentary on PTV. I always found his style and use of language very enjoyable. Once him and Saleem Altaf were doing commentary. Both were in a lively mood and then during live commentary they suddenly started addressing eachother with their full names. For example when a batsman would play a shot then Saleem Altaf would ask Taslim Arif:

Taslim Arif Abbassi, ye kaisa shot tha?”

To this Taslim Arif would jovially reply:

Salim Altaf Bukhari, ye ek acha shot tha”

While his cricket knowledge was very good, he sometimes tried to use impressive words in Urdu commentary. As a result he made funny mistakes too. Once I was watching this live match on PTV where Javed Miandad and Salim Malik were involved in a very big partnership and Taslim Arif was the Urdu commentator. Instead of using the word ‘rafaaqat’, Taslim spoke following sentence by mistake:

“javed aur Salim ki raqaabat mein ab tak 150 runs bun chukay haiN…”

Those were the good memories I had about Taslim Arif until a friend of mine forwarded me an email about his demise few minutes ago. I am saddened. May God rest the deceased soul in peace. Taslim Arif’s complete Career Record can be seen here

lai hayaat aaye le chali qaza chalay
na apni khushi aaye na apni khushi chalay

Photo Credits:

23 Comments on “Cricketer Taslim Arif (1954-2008) Passes Away”

  1. March 13th, 2008 11:24 pm

    Sad news indeed. He was still quite young. May his family have the strength to bear the loss.

  2. Asma says:
    March 13th, 2008 11:32 pm

    May Allah bless his soul …!

    I have definitely listened to his commentary … never had a chance to see his game though…!

    Thanks for writing about him.

  3. SH Kavi says:
    March 13th, 2008 11:48 pm

    Really sad news.I think he played for Korangi Gymkhana, did’nt he ?

  4. Aadil says:
    March 14th, 2008 1:14 am

    It is a tragic news for Pakistan cricket and whole of the nation because he was quite popular with the cricket loving masses. He scored a double century against the Aussies which is quite a feat considering that he was primarily a wicket keeper. Last but not the least, he was an excellant cricket analyst and commentator.

    May his soul rest in peace!

  5. Aqil Sajjad says:
    March 14th, 2008 3:23 am

    I didn’t know he was that young. Used to consider him much older. Does anyone know why he only played a very small number of matches despite his impressive performances? Looks like another wasted talent.

  6. Viqar Minai says:
    March 14th, 2008 6:00 am

    Inna lillahi va inna ilayh raaji’oon.

    This is a real shock. I did’nt know he was sick or anything.
    May his soul rest in peace. A great tragedy for his family, no doubt. May Allah(SWT) Helpg them and Grant them the strength to cope with this loss. Ameen.

  7. shahran says:
    March 14th, 2008 6:27 am


    I think you are correct. He was one of those talented player who were not given enough opportunities. Even in those few opportunities that he was given, he excelled and therefore people still remember him. He lost due to our poor infrastructure of the whole cricketing system.

    I do recall that he used to do commentary for the domestic matches and I still remember that he used to like inzamam ul haq and would say these words “he is a promising player” not once but a number of times even when he was out without doing a significant score and I started wonderinger if inzamam is Tasleem’s relative but later, Inzamam proved it that he is a great player.

  8. March 14th, 2008 7:25 am

    May Allah Bless his soul.

    A very nice tribute to Tasleem Arif, Aqil is right, he was certainly a wasted talent. I remember his playing days, how he used to pile up runs in domestic first class tournaments desperately awaiting his test call. After perhaps continuous pressure from the critics and fans he was reluctantly given a chance and to selector’s surprise he did wonders in his very first test. But after only playing six tests he was again barred though he continued playing domestic matches. I did watch his Faisalabad innings of 210 not out and still wonder how this slim, lanky looking cricketer stood all through five days of the test match in the field, first as a wicket keeper and then as a batsman showing extraordinary strength. This was the quality of a committed player, hardly found these days.

    I believe he was financially not very sound and urge our wealthy PCB to take care of the financial needs of the bereaved family on permanent footings.

  9. MileStone says:
    March 14th, 2008 8:07 am

    Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Ileh Rajeon.

    Sad news for cricket and Pakistan. May Allah grant him space in heaven. Ameen.

  10. Yasir Hasan says:
    March 14th, 2008 8:17 am

    InnaLillah-e-Wa Inna Elaihay Rajiyoon…. May his soul rest in peace…

    BTW Cricinfo didn’t find him important enough to give the news on main page… So bad…

  11. shuaib says:
    March 14th, 2008 3:47 pm

    May Allah bless his soul.
    During live commentory I remmeber him saying
    “Team per pressure ka dabao hey” :-)
    May Allah forgive all his sins.

  12. shahran says:
    March 14th, 2008 4:05 pm

    Inna lilah wa innah ilaya rajioon.

    Aqil you are correct that Tasleem Arif was one of the players who was lost due to poor cricketing selection system that is still prevailing in pakistan. We lost a number of talented players like him who even excelled even in those limited opportunities that were provided to them but then lost due to the system.

    Tasleem Arif was a good commentator and I also remember that when he used to do the commentary of domestic matches, he always used to admire inzamam ul haque.

    I remember a number matches when inzi was playing for multan and at that time no one knew who inzi was, he was the one who would always say that Inzamam is a promising player. This happened so often that I started thinking if he is his relative. Even if inzi was out on a duck he would still say with no fear that he is a promising cricketer.

    I think his prediction was successfull during the 92 worldcup.

  13. Nasim says:
    March 14th, 2008 7:32 pm

    You may delete this if you don’t like it. I have nothing against the man and did not even know him well.
    This is about his non selection to Pakistani cricket team.

    First, Taslim was in an era when Wasim Bari was still riding high. Second, Taslim and Aftab Baloch two friends were known as junkies in Karachi cricket circles.Both were known to smoke hashish during, before, and after the games they played in Karachi.
    That was one major reason Aftab Baloch, despite being a stylish and an accomplished batsman in the first Class circuit, never made it good in at the test level. Aftab did appear in couple of matches and scored a fifty on debut against WI. Still, they were both considered bad influence in the locker room.

    I doubt that he was born in 1954, he was clearly older and like they used to do in the old days had his birth date changed. Taslim appeared way past 30 on his debut.

    Lastly, many athletes use marijuana or hashish for relaxation and believe that poppy provides the physical endurance for the athletic events. Many in the NBA reportedly smoke marijuana!

  14. D_a_n says:
    March 15th, 2008 4:49 am

    Rest in peace Tasleem Sb…

    thanks for the stories and the memories…..

    am rather upset that cricinfo did not report his passing…like they do every other tom dick and harry aussie or brit player who ever carried drinks onto a field….for shame!

  15. Allah Wasaya says:
    March 16th, 2008 5:22 pm
  16. Yasir Hasan says:
    March 17th, 2008 9:48 am

    @Allah Wasaya
    Yeah cricinfo reported it, but not on the main page. he deserved to be on main page

  17. Owais Mughal says:
    March 17th, 2008 6:21 pm

    Taslim Arif’s ex employers ‘National Bank’ have announced Rs 1.2 million for his family as well as jobs for his two sons.

  18. Muhammad Shariq says:
    March 24th, 2008 2:35 pm

    Great words for one of the greatest wicketkeeper batsman this country has ever seen!!!!!!

    It would be really nice if we can share his pics/ videos here…

    My email is ibacompre [at] hotmail [dot] com.

    If you have any of his pics in your record, kindly email these to me.

  19. March 31st, 2008 4:39 am

    Tasleem Arif is not with us for a while.We will meet again.This is a true break.He is a good friend.He is a friend of everybody.In the circle of his friends besides the cricketers Hockey players Squash players athleets TV and FILM STARS Singers Social Workers Poets Writers Painters Molvies Docters Businessmens Wadairay Army Officers Millioners and Baggers as wel. He was born to make friends.He was the man of love.His huminty is his pride and his fame is his identity.Tasleem arif belong to a noble family.His mother was good Poet and his uncle Raees Ahmed Jafri is a renouns Urdu Scholer.Tasleem always pride on his family background and therefore he dose not compromis on the noble cause.May be he made some mistakes in his prime days which was became the reson to stop his lightning career.But i think his main mistake was his boldness
    ‘ Wo zahr-e-halal ko kabhi keh na saka qand’
    in the result of that God gave him the fame like a player who played 100 test matches.His Six test matches are equal the hundred test matches.We hope to see his son Ainan arif as a great Pakistai Cricketer.At the moment our relations has a break.Let see when we will meet again

  20. March 31st, 2008 5:07 am

    Tasleem Arif was my Uncle and i want to see his batting videos so i can play like him he was a legend.If anyone has videos of him kindly contact me at

  21. April 7th, 2008 7:09 am

    Good to learn about his old employers NBP’s good gestures who announced Rs.1.2m and jobs to his two sons. But, nothing we heard so far from the body who should be the first to take care of these matters e.g our rich Board of Cricket in the country.

  22. August 13th, 2009 1:40 am

    I am a true pakistani and i love pakistan very much
    i am proud of to be a pakistani.
    Pakistan Zinda Abad
    Pakistan PaIndAbad

  23. M.A. Qadir says:
    December 28th, 2009 1:07 am

    Undoubtedly, he played brilliant innings. On Pakistani wickets even my mom could score runs; says Geoffrey Boycott. It goes with Saleem Altaf as he was a midiocre player “moderate to inferior in quality that is.” But tell you what, getting there despite this curruption and nepotism prevailing in Pakistan’s sporting “culture” (if there is any thing like it to say the least) is in itself a great achievement indeed. “Good on him” oh yeh before I submitt and go “down under” I must say that just marrying an Australian cannot make you a better crickter, or politician, whatever. I never met him Tasleem Arif (R.I.P) but I think he was alright, may Allah give him better place in heaven please recite fatiha for his soul he was a good muslim. thats all I can say.
    peace out (M.A Qadir)

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