On this day: Remembering Hanif sahab!

Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and a few other ex-Test players will join Shoaib Mohammed to remember the legendary Hanif Mohammed on his second death anniversary on August 11 in Karachi.

Pakistan cricketer Hanif Mohammed in action at a practice session in Madras.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

When Hanif Mohammed took guard for Pakistan, there weren’t as many tournaments. Yet, he averaged 43.98 at retirement after 17 years of international cricket. Two years ago on August 11, the legendary batsman passed away at the age of 81.

To celebrate his contribution to the sport, former Pakistan batsman and his son, Shoaib Mohammed, has organised a small function at his Karachi residence on Saturday. He will be joined by current captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed.

“Sarfaraz has confirmed his attendance. There will be a recitation of the Quran and a few people will be performing rituals. A few ex-Test players may turn up too,” Shoaib told Sportstar on Friday.

From left: Shahid Afridi with Hanif Mohammed (bottom), Shoaib Mohammed (top) and Shoaib Akhtar.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

Shoaib reiterated how his father's absence is greatly felt in the household. “Each and every one of us talk about him every now and then; things that he taught us and sometimes, we talk about his sense of humour. He has been witty throughout his life. His jokes were such that people close to him only understood; others used to be aloof thinking nothing had happened,” he said.

A veteran of 55 Tests, Hanif was the first star of Pakistan cricket. He is still remembered for the 337 he scored against West Indies in Bridgetown in 1958. It was perhaps the longest innings in the history of Test cricket, as he played out 970 balls.

Imran Khan at the Mohammed residence two years ago.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

“He was a very positive person. Never say never was his attitude. He never used to like the idea of even using negative words. He never wanted to hear them. Even if the food is not so great one day in the house, he would tell my wife ‘don’t say the food is not good today, the other person who is about to start his meal may have inhibitions’. That was his attitude,” recalled Shoaib.

Even in his final years, he would watch cricket most of the times on television. “Apart from that, he was also a big fan of Indian films starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan. 

“Talking about cricket, he would give an impression that he never even played a single Test. That was him inside the house, among us. At times, I would pull his leg that I had a better average than him but my wife would take his side and tell me, tum toh kuch bhi nahi ho unke saamne (you are nothing in front of him). He is the king of kings," he said.

 

Sachin Tendulkar presents a souvenir to Hanif Mohammed in Karachi in 2006.   -  AFP

Here's raising a toast to the first 'Little Master' of cricket.