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KARACHI, March 8: Former Pakistan Test cricketer and chief selector Haseeb Ahsan passed away after a protracted illness here on Friday morning. He was 73.

Haseeb was laid to rest at the PECHS graveyard later in the day.

Haseeb played 12 Test matches for Pakistan between 1958 and 1962 and also served the country as national chief selector, Director 1987 World Cup Committee besides touring England as the manager of Pakistan team in 1987.

He was the protégé of Pakistan’s legendary sports administrator, the late Air Marshal Nur Khan, and also served as a General Manager in PIA. Later on, he also served as a director at the American Express.

In 12 Test matches for Pakistan, Haseeb took 27 wickets with his off-spin at a high average of 50. His best figures came at Chennai in 1960-61 when India piled up 539 and he returned with figures of 84-19-202-6.

However, he never bowled in a Test in England for fear that he would be no-balled for throwing and was actually called against India in the first Test at Bombay in 1960-61. Haseeb bagged 242 wickets in 49 first class games while representing Karachi, PIA and Peshawar.

“I knew Haseeb Ahsan for nearly half a century and his contribution to Pakistan cricket will be remembered for a long time to come,” legendary Test opener and ex-Pakistan captain, Little Master Hanif Muhammad said on Friday.

“Haseeb was a fighter to the core and served Pakistan cricket with honour and dignity,” his former team-mate and stylish batsman Waqar Hasan said at the funeral.

Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Bari, who visited Haseeb at the Aga Khan Hospital on Thursday and remained very close to him throughout his illness said Haseeb’s services to Pakistan cricket will be remembered in golden words.

Current chief selector Iqbal Qasim, who served with Haseeb Ahsan as a player-cum-assistant manager in 1987, described Haseeb as a bold, courageous man who never compromised on principles.

“Haseeb sahib strongly defended Pakistan cricketers during the 1987 England tour when Imran Khan and company notched-up their first series win over England in England. His death is indeed a big loss for the country,” said Iqbal.

Former Pakistan captain Moin Khan also lauded the contribution of Haseeb Ahsan as a cricketer and administrator.

Haseeb’s funeral was attended by a large number of former Test players, KCCA and PIA officials, organisers, journalists, friends and relatives.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf, PCB director general Javed Miandad and other officials of the PCB also condoled Haseeb’s death.—APP

AFP adds: Former Pakistan captain and legendary pacer Wasim Akram said on Friday that it was Haseeb who selected him for the first time in 1984.

“As the chief selector, Haseeb Sahab convinced everyone of my talent and selected me against New Zealand,” Wasim told AFP.

“He was very close to me and as a powerful selector he spotted young talent and threw them in the bigger battles.“I have lost a very close supporter and it’s a great loss for Pakistan cricket,” said Wasim.