Cricket is one of the most popular games in Pakistan and the blue eyed Fazal Mahmood was definitely one of the finest cricketers of Pakistan. Born in Lahore on 18 February 1927 he was one of the best pace bowlers Pakistan
Cricket is one of the most popular games in Pakistan and the blue eyed Fazal Mahmood was definitely one of the finest cricketers of Pakistan. Born in Lahore on 18 February 1927 he was one of the best pace bowlers Pakistan had produced. Fazal Mahmood showed interest in cricket from a very early age. Encouraged by his father Ghulam Hussain a Professor of economics at Islamia College, Lahore was also the president of the College's cricket club, Fazal grew up to become a bowling wizard.
In March 1944, Fazal, aged 17 and still at college, made his first-class debut for Northern India. His outstanding performances in matches earned him a place in the Indian squad which was to tour Australia, however the partition of India was announced and Fazal Mahmood opted for Pakistan. He made his test debut in 1952 against India.
His bowling spells convinced the kingmakers at Lords to grant test status to Pakistan. The highlight of his career remains the test at Oval London in 1954 when Fazal took 12 wickets for just 99 runs. Beating the MCC was a big achievement for the newcomers which also helped in popularizing cricket in Pakistan.
Fazal Mahmood was chosen as the “Wisden Cricketer of the Year” 1955 for his outstanding performance at the Oval making him the first Pakistani to receive the honour. He is also the only bowler to take twelve wickets in a series on four occasions.
Fazal was the first Pakistani to pass 100 wickets he reached the landmark in his 22nd match. He captured a total of 139 wickets in 34 test matches. He succeeded Abdul Hafeez Kardar as captain and led the national team in 10 matches between 1959 and 1961.
Outside cricket Fazal gained a Master's degree in Economics, joined the Pakistan Services as an inspector of Police in 1947 rising to Deputy Superintendent in 1952 and Deputy Inspector General in 1976. Fazal married the daughter of Mohammad Saeed Pakistan cricket team’s first captain suffered a fatal heart attack at his Lahore residence on 30 May 2005.