Fazal Mahmood: The Blue Eyed Boy of Pakistan Cricket

Posted on February 24, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, People, Photo of the Day, Sports
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Owais Mughal

Fazal Mahmood writes about the 1954 tour of Pakistan’s cricket team to England:

All the members of Pakistan Cricket team were introduced to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace. When my turn came, the Queen, while shaking hands with me, looked into my eyes and went on to meet the other players. After shaking hands with the last player, the Queen came back to me and said: “You are a Pakistani. How do you have blue eyes while others do not?’ ‘Your Majesty’, the people coming from the northern areas of Pakistan do have blue eyes,’ I told her. The Queen was amused.

Following is one of the memorable portraits of Fazal Mahmood

Fazal Mahmood


Cricket is one of the most popular games in Pakistan and the blue eyed Fazal Mahmood (1927-2005) was definitly one of the finest cricketers of Pakistan. He made a vital contribution to Pakistan cricket in its formative years.Fazal Mahmood played 34 test matches for Pakistan and took 139 wickets for 24.7 runs a piece. His most famous performance was against England at the Oval where he took 12 wickets for 99 runs as Pakistan won their match against England. Scorecard of this match can be seen here. He also took 13 wickets for 114 runs at Karachi when Pakistan won their maiden Test against Australia in October 1956. The scorecard of this match can be seen here. In First Class Cricket, Fazal Mahmood took 466 wickets at an average of 18.96.

Fazal Mahmood played an instrumental role in getting the newly independed Pakistan the Test status. His 6 wickets for 40 runs in an unofficial Test against the 1951-52 MCC tourists helped convince Lord’s of Pakistan’s suitability as a recognized trest match status country.

Following photo was taken on December 2, 1951 at the Karachi Gymkhana Ground. After Pakistan beat MCC, Pakistan’s Governer General Khwaja Nazimuddin (with raised hand in the photo) called Fazal Mahmood (Right in the photo) and Abdul Hafeez Kardar (2nd from the Left in the photo) next to him. He held their hands and said ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ (long live Pakistan). The jubilant 20000 strong Karachi crowd also joined in and soon the whole ground was shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ . The detailed scorecard of this match can be seen here.

Alex Bannister once said about Fazal Mahmood:

“On matting Fazal was often unplayable; on the grass he could be equally devastating. To the casual he might have appeared harmless and just another bowler putting his arm over. But what a guile and consumable skill went into every ball.”

Other than Cricket:

Fazal Mahmood left college with a Master’s degree in Economics and joined the Pakistan Police Service as an Inspector in September 1947. In 1976, he was promoted to Deputy Inspector General of Police. He also authored a well-documented manual entitles ‘Speed with Safety’ to streamline and update the road traffic system in Pakistan. He also wrote two books on religion entitled ‘Urge to Faith’ and ‘talash-i-haq’. He also wrote a book on cricket called ‘Fazal Mahmood and Cricket’ (1955).

References:

(1) Fazal Mahmood’s record at PCB database
(2) Cricinfo database on Fazal Mahmood
(3) From Dawn to Dusk by Fazal Mahmood

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34 responses to “Fazal Mahmood: The Blue Eyed Boy of Pakistan Cricket”

  1. Omar Jamil says:

    Owais Mian,glad to know that cricket runs in your blood-hope you have a photo of Keith Miller.

  2. Owais Mughal says:

    Omar Saheb,
    Abdul Wahab is my grand father. He now lives in Lahore. He stopped playing cricket sometimes in the 70s.

  3. Omar Jamil says:

    Abdul Wahab was rising medium pace bowler from Karachi but all his confidense was shattered when Keith Miller thrashed his bowling in a charity match played in Karachi Gymkhana.Incidentally great Mushtaq Ali came from India to playin thsi game.Miller hit a longest six-the ball landed in Governer General ‘s house.(That was some treat to Wahab’s in swinger.What happened to Wahab?Maybe he left playing cricket.

  4. Jon Ffoth says:

    Blue eyes only occur naturally among the caucasians of europe. If it occues anywhere else it is due to either admixture with european caucasians or due to albinism. Blue eyes is due to a recessive gene, recently isolated and derived from a single individual from the Baltic region of europe. If you have blue eyes you carry the gene from this particular individual and hence from a european caucasion.

  5. Undoubtedly, Fazal was among the many greats Pakistan has produced. Comparison with Imran Khan or else will be un-fair because both have class and greatness of their own. He will always be remembered as the ‘Oval Hero’.

    God bless his soul.

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