Fazal Mahmood

Cricketer described as 'Pakistan's Bedser'

For the first 20 years of Pakistan's existence, the cricketer Fazal Mahmood strode centre-stage for the young nation to all the acclamation of a Mogul emperor. He was explained to other cricket nations as "Pakistan's Alec Bedser", but even the lion of Surrey hardly carried as much of his country's hopes and expectations. For most of his career, Mahmood lived up to them.

Fazal Mahmood, cricketer and policeman: born Lahore, India 18 February 1927; married (one son, two daughters); died Lahore, Pakistan 30 May 2005.

For the first 20 years of Pakistan's existence, the cricketer Fazal Mahmood strode centre-stage for the young nation to all the acclamation of a Mogul emperor. He was explained to other cricket nations as "Pakistan's Alec Bedser", but even the lion of Surrey hardly carried as much of his country's hopes and expectations. For most of his career, Mahmood lived up to them.

Although a more wiry figure than Bedser, like him Mahmood bowled right-armed, fast-medium. He, too, was a master of nagging length, an accurate line and carried a full armoury, including leg-cutters and break-backs. Bowling on matting, he was devastating - "unplayable" according to one visiting Englishman - and he had the intelligence and diligence to adapt to whatever natural surfaces were set before him around the world.

Mahmood also had that other prime virtue in a Test bowler, a patient cheerfulness in adversity. As a lower-order batsman, he would be a dangerous hitter against all but the best bowlers.

He attended Islama College, Lahore, and before Partition played for Punjab and Northern India in the Ranji Trophy. Mahmood was expected to tour Australia with India in 1947-48, but stood down as Pakistan emerged as an independent nation. In 1949-50 he led the Pakistan attack against Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and his name first registered with English followers in 1951-52 when, playing against MCC in Karachi, he took six for 40 in 26 overs. Such feats did much to accelerate Pakistan's rise to Test match ranking.

Pakistan made their first official tour of England in 1954, by which time Mahmood's ability was recognised worldwide, and he lived up to that reputation by taking 77 wickets in 16 first-class matches at an average of 17.53. After the last Test at the Oval, Fazal Mahmood was for a few days a household name in Britain for he was chiefly responsible for that famous first victory, taking 12 for 99 in the match. He was to give the visiting Australians a similar thrashing in 1956-57 when his 13-114 in 75 overs helped deliver Pakistan another renowned first win.

Mahmood succeeded to the captaincy in 1958 and led his nation in 10 Test matches until 1961, when age took toll of his stamina and strength. On retirement he continued to serve his people as a senior police officer. He will also be remembered for his strikingly vivid green eyes.

Derek Hodgson



Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Reimagined: Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma
books
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
Cannes 2015Dheepan, film review
Sport
sport
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine