31 May 2005 09:11:05
Re: Pakistan Great Fazal Mahmood Passes Away

John Arlott recalls the surprise maiden victory in 1954, when the team
led by Abdul Hafeez Kardar and inspired by Fazal Mahmood humbled
England at The Oval

This was to be Fazal Mahmood's match. His action was not
prepossessing; but he was strong, immensely fit, built like the
policeman he was and, in many ways, was the ideal fast-medium bowler.
His length was consistently accurate, he took punishment well, his
stamina and determination were such that he never flagged and, given
the opportunity of a breakthrough, he would persist untiringly. His
stock in trade, like his pace, was similar to that of Alec Bedser;
although originally a wrist-spinner, he developed sharp swing; but
probably his keenest weapons were his cutters, which, particularly
from leg, he bowled outstandingly and, in helpful circumstances, with
deadly effect.

He comes from Lahore and had played effectively for Northern India. He
was as immensely successful a bowler on matting as he later was on
turf; and was unlucky not to tour England with Pataudi's side in 1946.
He was, in fact, chosen to go with the 194748 Indian team to
Australia, but Partition prevented him from making the tour. So he
became one of the first few major `pure' Pakistani Test cricketers
and, although he did not play his First Test until 1952 (against
India), when he was 25, he went on to appear 34 times for his country
and to take an impressive 139 wickets (an average of over five a
match) at 24.70. He often hit hard and usefully in the lower part of
the batting order and had a safe pair of hands: a cheerful,
good-hearted cricketer.

More at

+++ Partition
On another train journey, Mahmood was almost assaulted
by a couple of extremists, but CK Nayudu brandished his bat and
rescued him.
...For Mahmood it was a catharsis. Amarnath sent him a telegram asking
him to join the Indian team for Australia, but he declined. When the
chief minister of West Punjab followed up, at the request of his
Indian counterpart, Mahmood replied: "Barrey bhai, do you want me to
bring laurels for India?"

+++++ Polly Umrigar ++++++
He was a good cutter of the ball and I mean in the real sense. You
could actually see the ball cut away. Along with Alec Bedser, he was
one of his kind in those days.

01 Jun 2005 20:07:49
Re: Pakistan Great Fazal Mahmood Passes Away

I think at his pace and on matting wickets cutters were far more
effective than they would be on almost shiny batting paradises that so
much limited overs cricket is played on. Sill cutting the ball is an
art that does not come easy and from the sound of it Fazal was one of a
kind and would have ended up with 100 more wickets had he been "born in
England" :-)