Saturday, November 20, 2010
Hanif Mohammed (born 21 December 1934 in Junagadh, Gujarat, India) was one of Pakistan’s greatest cricketers, playing for the Pakistani cricket team in 55 Test matches between 1952/53 and 1969/70 and averaging a fine 43.98, with twelve hundreds.
The highest of those centuries, 337 against West Indies in 1957/58, was the longest innings in Test history (and stood as the the longest in all first-class cricket for over 40 years) as Hanif spent more than 16 hours at the crease to save his team from a hopeless position after they had followed on 473 runs behind.
In 1958/59, he produced another astonishing batting display by breaking Don Bradman’s record for the highest individual first-class innings. Hanif made 499 before being run out attempting his five hundredth run; this mark stood for more than 35 years before being eclipsed by Brian Lara in 1994. Plenty more runs were still to come, and in all he made 55 first-class centuries and finished with an outstanding first-class career average of 52.32. He could bowl with either arm, and even kept wicket on a number of occasions.
Hanif’s long career lasted until 1975/76 and took him all over the world, but he never played in the English County Championship, although he did have a single outing for the Northamptonshire Second XI in August 1965 whilst preparing for his appearance for a Rest of the World XI against England at the Scarborough Festival a few days later. Hanif was in fact working in England in 1994, and hearing of the possibility of his record being broken rushed to Edgbaston, unfortunately too late to witness any of Lara’s innings.
Hanif was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968.
Many of Hanif’s relations were also fine cricketers: his brothers Mushtaq, Sadiq and Wazir all played Tests for Pakistan, as did his son Shoaib, another brother Raees was once twelfth man for Pakistan, and four nephews had first-class careers. His mother Ameer Bee was a national badminton champion in pre-independence India and is considered responsible for inspiring her sons to take up sports.