KARACHI: It was a cherished dream and desire of Little Master late Hanif Mohammad to establish a cricket academy for the future generations of cricketers who could learn the art of batting, the proper techniques, skills and ethics of the gentleman’s game and serve Pakistan in the best possible manner to do the country proud and be in the limelight for a longer period in their careers.

This was stated by Shoaib Mohammad, son of the legendary opener on his 86th birthday here on Monday. Hanif was born in Junagadh on December 21, 1934.

Shoaib said that it has been more than three years that he has been making efforts to get a decent venue allotted for the launch of an academy in his illustrious father’s name and is looking forward to cooperation from the concerned people and his fans.

“On this occasion of my father’s 86th birthday, I would like to make a passionate appeal to Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa Sahab to help me in this regard as he is a big cricket fan and a great admirer of my father and our famiily and knows all cricket records by heart.” said Shoaib.

“I would also request and appeal to Chief Minster Sindh Murad Ali Shah Sahab and other respected officials to kindly help me fulfil my father’s dream and arrange for a decent plot in Karachi for the Hanif Mohammad Cricket Academy.

I wish to appeal to COAS, CM Sindh to help me fulfill my father’s dream: Shoaib Mohammad

“This country has given me and my family a lot of respect, name and fame and i feel it is time for me to give something back to Pakistan. As famous philosopher Aristotle once said, ‘Without giving, man has no legacy. Rarely does a man have the opportunity to live his dream and then give back and share his passion through contributions to the future generations of his country.’ I have that opportunity and cherish it greatly.”

He recalled how the entire cricketing world mourned Hanif Mohammad’s death in 2016 and paid lofty tributes to him which was a matter of pride for not just his family but the entire country. “Even thenational flag of Great Britain was at half mast on the day of my father’s passing away which was a huge honour for our family as well as for Pakistan,” he said. “Besides that, almost all the leading newspapers in the world published tributes and articles for him.

“Who can forget his monumental 337 at Bridgetown when he battled the West Indies for over 16 hours wiithout any helmet or protective gear which saved Pakistan from a certain defeat in face of the heaviest of odds,” said Shoaib while recollecting the salient features of his father’s career. “And then my father’s record-breaking innings of 499 in First Class cricket — a record that stood for nearly 35 years — and countless other laurels that he earned for the country which have made him a true legend for all times to come.”

Shoaib went on to add: “I strongly feel that those people whose feats and achievements brought tremendous recognition and respect to Pakistan must be honoured in the highest manner and should never be forgotten. And by the grace of God my father’s and my family’s achievements in the game are second to none.

“I take immense pride to be the scion of the greatest cricketing family in the history of the game which produced no less than five Test cricketers in Hanif Mohammad, Wazir Mohammad, Mushtaq Mohammad, Sadiq Mohammad and myself while six other members have also played First Class cricket.

“I sincerely hope that my plea for a cricket ground dedicated to my father’s name will be met with a favourable response and all our well-wishers and fans will pray for an early launch of a model cricket academy in late Hanif Mohammad’s name in Karachi,” concluded Shoaib.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2020

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