Little-known facts about Bangladesh cricket-1

A common question asked is “Was there any East Pakistani who played in Tests for Pakistan?” and most cricket fans, even from that part of the world, are not sure of the answer.

As Bob Dylan might say: the answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind, but can be found after some research on the internet.

See this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Pakistan_first-class_cricket_teams

and a list of East Pakistani cricketers here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_East_Pakistan_first-class_cricketers

Note this extract:

“These included six Test cricketersMahmood Hussain, Mohammad Munaf, Mufassir-ul-Haq, Nasim-ul-Ghani, Naushad Ali, and Niaz Ahmed[6] No native East Pakistanis, Bengali or otherwise, represented Pakistan’s national side at Test level. The closest was Raqibul Hasan, who was twelfth man against the touring New Zealanders during the 1969–70 season, and the following season represented a full-strength Pakistan side against a Commonwealth XI.[7] Raqibul went on to serve as Bangladesh’s inaugural captain in the 1979 ICC Trophy, and later played two One Day International (ODI) matches for the team.[8] Two other East Pakistan players went on to play for Bangladesh in ICC Trophy matches—Ashraful Haque and Shafiqul Haque.[9][10]”

However, the information in this extract is not quite correct. The first 5 Pakistani players mentioned were indeed from West Pakistan and appear to have spent some time in East Pakistan for employment or other reasons. Mahmood Hussain and Nasim-ul-Ghani were fairly prominent in their time.

However, the case of Niaz Ahmed is different.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/pakistan/content/player/42069.html

and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niaz_Ahmed

The Wikipedia entry is more detailed than the one on Cricinfo. Niaz Ahmed was born in Benares in the United Provinces (now Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh) and his family moved to East Pakistan after Partition. He appears to have spent his early life there, when he made his two Test appearances in 1967 and 1968-69. He and his family then moved to Pakistan after the liberation of Bangladesh and settled in Karachi. He died there in 2000.

While he appears to have been originally from UP and not a Bengali, he did spend his early life in East Pakistan and started his cricketing career there. Thus, although he did not achieve much in his Test career (2 Tests, 17 runs and 3 wickets) we have to consider him as the only permanent resident of East Pakistan to have played in official Tests for Pakistan.

Then there is Raqibul Hasan:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/bangladesh/content/player/56070.html

and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raqibul_Hasan_(cricketer,_born_1953)

He was indeed a Bengali, born in Dacca in 1953. He was also 12th man in the P v NZ Test at Dacca in 1968-69, though those outside the playing XI are ignored in the records. However, he did play in what might be called an unofficial Test side, for the BCCP  XI vs International XI in early 1971, just before the Liberation War began:

Scorecard of this match:

http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1970S/1970-71/INT-XI_IN_PAK/INT-XI_BCCP-XI_26FEB-01MAR1971.html

The BCCP  XI seems to be practically a full-strength Pakistani team, as most of the players did play in the Test series in England later in 1971-the same season in which India recorded its first Test and series win in England.

Note that the International XI consisted mainly of English players (essentially fringe and former Test players). Probably the best known members would be wicketkeeper JT Murray and the Australian bowler Neil Hawke. It is not clear how Pakistani test player Younis Ahmed and another Pakistani first-class player Wahid Yar Khan were playing in this team.

(Wahid Yar Khan, like Asif Iqbal, had grown up in Hyderabad in India and started his cricket career there before moving to Pakistan in the 1960s).

After this, Raqibul, like most Bengalis in East Pakistan, underwent a lot of hardships when the war resulted in  the deaths of many of his family and friends. He went on to be Bangladesh’s first cricket captain in the initial stages, and even played in two ODIs in the Asia Cup in 1985-86 besides a number of other limited-over matches (such as those in the ICC Trophy in 1979) which did not have ODI status. At that time Bangladesh was classified as an Associate and only their Asia Cup matches had ODI status.

So the question is now answered. Niaz Ahmed was the only permanent resident of East Pakistan who played for Pakistan in Tests.

And Raquibul Hasan was the only Bengali who played for Pakistan in what can be described as an unofficial Test.

 

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