Like Hanif and Shoaib both scoring unbeaten double centuries against the same country (as detailed in part one last week), it’s a feat unlikely to be matched. And if it is, chances that it will be against the same country are about as much as Dave Whatmore passing instructions in Punjabi.
That century by Nazar Mohammad was also the first for Pakistan. In that match he became the first player to be on the field throughout the five days. He got 277 runs at an average touching 40 in the eight innings he played in that series but his promising career was cut short after a freak accident back home. Still he kept contributing to cricket as an administrator and selector off and on. He passed away 17 years ago at the age of 75.
But in early 1978 he had seen his son block his way to the slowest ever Test match century, in 557 minutes or a little over nine hours, at Lahore. It was admittedly a needless innings, 114 in 449 deliveries, targeted it seems at the very record held by South Africa’s D.J. McGlew who reached his in 545 minutes against Australia 20 years earlier. Pakistan was shorn of Packer players and Wasim Bari was content to draw the rubber against the visiting England. So no batsman had any compulsions other than stay in the middle and block away. The pitches, too, were as lifeless as a politician’s speech these days.
Though Gurusinha, Jeff Crowe and Sanjay Manjrekar came close between 12 and 57 minutes to breaking his record, he owns the title Turtle King of batting. The way Test cricket is approached these days it is unlikely to be slowed further down. Maybe someone batting like Hanif Mohammad to save a Test; but then in those days concentration and temperament was not infected at the roots by the Twenty20 virus.
He later on would score at a relatively faster pace and became a useful man to have around. At one time Mudassar Nazar also held the record for highest partnership in Test cricket: 451-runs for the third-wicket with Javed Miandad against India at Hyderabad, Pakistan in 1982–83. In that series he scored over 750 runs with four hundreds, the first of which came batting lower down after he turned up too late on the ground to open the innings due to a reported stomach bug.
Mudassar worked hard on his medium pace swing and twice caused a collapse, against India and England, to put Pakistan in winning position in both those Tests.
Another fine cricketer to start his Test career with Nazar in Pakistan’s very first Test was Waqar Hasan, who went on to play till the end of the decade, leaving cricket early at 27 to start a business that today has gone global. Waqar was a true gentleman and debonair which led to offers of lead roles in films which he refused. A sparkling top order batsman who excelled in crisis; crafting 81 after Pakistan were 60-6 on opening day of the third Test, with another 50 in the second innings. A near century with four wickets left and only 12 ahead, saved the fifth Test. But his supreme feat was with Imtiaz Ahmed against New Zealand when the pair added 308, picking up from 111-6; his contribution 189. His Test average was second only to Hanif (among regulars) while he played for Pakistan.
His younger brother, Pervez Sajjad, entered the Pakistan team as a left arm spinner in 1964. He was a shrewd reader of pitches and bowled to its strengths, finishing with 59 wickets at just over 23 each in 19 Tests, with a best of 7-74 in a nine-year span. Like Waqar, a distinguished man.
The second extended family to play for Pakistan over three generations was the Khan-Burki clan from western India-Lahore. If the Mohammad brothers started their cricket from Jahangir Park, the Khan cousins’ nursery was Zaman Park and Atchison.
Javed Burki, Majid Khan and Imran Khan were the three cousins, sons of sisters, who played for Pakistan. But earlier than that Majid’s father, Jahangir Khan, played four Tests in the 1930s for India; Jahangir’s brother-in-law, Baqa Jilani, also played a solitary Test for India around that time taking no wickets with his medium pace. When Majid’s son, Bazid, played his solitary Test it qualified them as one of two families, along with the Hearnes, to have most family members playing Test cricket. And in both cases four played for one (England) and two for another country (South Africa).
Jahangir Khan bowled fast medium and once bowling in a Test match at Lord’s he famously struck down a sparrow that was flying across the pitch after the six-foot Jahangir had let go of the ball. The dead bird was preserved and is still on display at the museum at Lord’s cricket ground. Though there was the probability that he would lead the first Pakistan team after Partition, he was overlooked in favour of Mian Mohammad Saeed. But both had retired when the time of playing the first official Test came.
All three captained Pakistan, another first in Test cricket, that of three first cousins though both Javed and Majid were thrust into captaincy when they did not merit it considering the other options available.
Imran was the only one among them to live up to the leadership role; Javed and Majid were too aloof and did not have the ability and the team composition to be successful. All three were Oxbridge graduates, Javed and Imran from Oxford and Majid from Cambridge.