Pakistan cricket July 18, 2011

The story of Azeem Hafeez

The unremarkable Pakistan left-arm quick with an unusual handicap
43

Sometime ago I had posted a piece on Duleep Mendis and Roy Dias on the Different Strokes blog, motivated by a desire to shine a spotlight on memorable feats in cricket, which I felt hadn't received their due. I hope to keep doing that here at the Pitch, and in a similar vein, I want to talk a bit about cricketers who had only walk-on parts on the world's cricketing stages, but for some reason or the other, managed to make themselves memorable to me.

My first entry in what will, hopefully, be a long roll of honour, is the Pakistani left-arm quick Azeem Hafeez. His Test statistics are unremarkable: he played 18 matches between 1983 and 1985 and took 63 wickets at an average of 34.98 and a strike rate of 69. Azeem perhaps played only because the great Imran Khan was on the mend; he left because another great, Wasim Akram, had given notice of his potential, and more importantly, was Imran's new blue-eyed boy.

Why then, do I remember Hafeez? What makes him so enduring in my cricketing imagination? For two reasons, neither of them particularly earth-shatteringly interesting or important, but for a teenage cricket fan they added up. For one thing, he was replacing Imran in a series against India, and my curiosity was piqued: who was it, precisely, that was supposed to fill the great man's shoes in this clash of arch-rivals?

And secondly, reductive as this will sound, because he was distinguished by a small handicap: a pair of missing fingers on his right hand. Indeed, it might be the only reason that fans remember him today, including Pakistani ones. This pair of missing digits was part of every introduction afforded to Hafeez in the print media, and it willy-nilly made him into a novelty in my mind.

As I watched the first Test in Bangalore with my aunt for company (women did watch cricket before the IPL), I brought up Hafeez's handicap. She replied with a one-word description, "bechara", an instinctive expression of sympathy that set me thinking.

That particular expression, literally translated, means "without recourse", perhaps "helpless", or "at the mercy of one's fortunes". Its referent is supposed to be the recipient of our sympathies, our aid. But Hafeez was bowling in Test cricket; the description didn't seem to do justice to someone who seemed to be living out a schoolboy's fantasies. And he wasn't just bowling, he was bowling quick (I do not remember if he was express, but he certainly was no slouch).

At the very least, he didn't seem "without recourse". Rather, he seemed to have admirably overcome adversity to rise to the top of a pile that many youngsters would love to ascend, even those not physically afflicted as him.

Two fingers missing aren't quite the stuff of made-for-television drama: no missing limbs, no paralytic stroke, no recovery from cancer (testicular or otherwise). But cricket has always been a digital game (yup, even before the internet), and the hands are all-important. Fielding and batting require both hands to do full duty. Perhaps not so with bowling, but wouldn't a kid with two missing fingers have felt some lack of fit with the cricketing field? Did he have a few barbs sent his way - you know that wonderful way kids have of making sure every physical oddity is highlighted?

I was intrigued by Hafeez and monitored his career carefully thereafter. He did reasonably well against Australia on Pakistan's last five-Test tour Down Under (1983-84) and then later pulled off his best bowling performance, 6 for 46 on a lifeless Lahore pitch in 1984-85 that made India follow-on. Six Tests against New Zealand later, he was gone. Akram was in town and Hafeez never made it back.

To this day, I'm not sure why a bowler that I only saw bowl in a few Tests, all fairly tedious draws, who didn't produce a series of stunning performances, became so memorable for me. The only rationale I can offer is that while I was used to hearing tales of dramatic reversals of fortune and overcoming of adversity in sporting contexts, the constant reminders of greatness associated with those stories had somehow made them remote to me.

Hafeez was memorable just because his handicap and his associated story were somehow grounded and familiar, because in his own way, he didn't seem out of the ordinary. He could have lost those fingers to a thresher, perhaps to the careless lighting of a firecracker. He hadn't climbed Mount Everest; he had simply played cricket. But he had played it well enough to scale a pinnacle, Test cricket, well beyond the reach of most cricketers and fans. I knew I would have found his handicap scary had I been unfortunate enough to have been afflicted by it. And I knew getting into a Test team was hard. For me, the spirit that underlay his rise seemed worthy of attention and emulation.

Azeem came, he played a bit of Test cricket for his country, and he then slipped back into obscurity. And he also managed to hand out a couple of lessons to at least one teenage cricket fan. It's not a line he can add to his CV but I thought I'd let him know anyway.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mahmood on August 25, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    we have seen a re-incarnation of azeem hafeez in RP Singh in the 4th test vs eng.

  • David on July 25, 2011, 6:14 GMT

    I too remember Azeem Hafeez. In 83/4 Australia had a team stacked with lefthanders with whom Abdul Qadir had a terrible time. The Aussies scored heaps of runs but Hafeez just kept running in and bowling flat out. He was, in Aussie terms, a 'real goer'. However, maybe because of his disability, I do seem to remember he wasn't the greatest catcher in the outfield.

    Another player I enjoyed who had a physical disability was B S Chandrasekhar. How about an article on him?

  • Neal Patel on July 24, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    I sincerely thank you for your wonderful article. People who give their best for a cause despite having handicaps are true heroes. I salute you for remembering such people and look forward to reading more from you.

  • Harish Mohan on July 23, 2011, 19:41 GMT

    And if I am not mistaken, Azeem played one or two tenacious innings as a batsman also

  • Zeeshan on July 22, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    some one pointed me to a person in a small cafe, look he is Azeem Hafiz about 10 years back. i had the luck of watching him play in a small ground along with Saleem Yousuf in Karachi as i used to live in the same area where these guys live.

  • kent jones on July 22, 2011, 12:13 GMT

    This is a beautiful umcomplicated story of life. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you Samir Chopra!!!

  • Qaiser Shahzad on July 22, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    Truly a unique article..........bravo, Azeem infact personified sheer guts and talent. It was however a pity that he did not represent pakistan for a long time

  • kamran wasti on July 21, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    A. Ali -> It had nothing to do with Azeem Hafeez coming from Karachi. He actually hailed from Jehlum.

    He needed to be better than Wasim Akram to get into the team the moment Imran became available again because Pakistan would usually go with 2 spinners. His courage aside, he did have limitations as a bowler: He could only angle the ball across the batsmen and could not swing it in and was quite expensive too. His returns were modest even in First-Class cricket. So why do we admire him? It is for his courage and the fact that he manfully carried Pakistani fast-bowling on his shoulders for two seasons when Imran was away. Azeem played his last test with Wasim Akram who took 10 wickets in that match (his 2nd). In the next test, 8 months later, Imran opened the bowling under Javed Miandad's captaincy and no sane person would have preferred Azeem over Wasim.

  • Meety on July 21, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    As an Ozzy I remember him for several reasons that summer he played in Oz. Firstly there was the handicap, secondly he gained a bit of a cult following, I recal some matches any time he fielded a ball he was cheered - it wasn't a Bronx Jeer, the crowd were with him. Thirdly as mentioned earlier, Billy Birmingham - a local Ozzy comedian did a send up of the Nine Cricket Commentary Team, (spoofing Richie Benaud, Ian Chappell, Bill Lawry etc) - he would do this almost every year, the first year I remember him doing it was the Hafeez summer. The fourth reason I remember him is that I distinctly remember Greg Chappell upper cutting Hafeez over the slips deliberately on a number of occasions. It was the first time I ever saw anyone deliberately "scoop" the ball over the slips - 25 years later the "Dilscoop" came along!

    I wonder what Hafeez is doing now?????????????

  • PakFan on July 21, 2011, 0:28 GMT

    It is nice to remember people who have entertained us during our childhood. For Azeem Hafiz and other such cricketer who served the game shortly but in an honorable fashion - it won't be a bad idea to follow up on the article with a piece "Where Are They Now" to give homage to them while they are alive.

  • mahmood on August 25, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    we have seen a re-incarnation of azeem hafeez in RP Singh in the 4th test vs eng.

  • David on July 25, 2011, 6:14 GMT

    I too remember Azeem Hafeez. In 83/4 Australia had a team stacked with lefthanders with whom Abdul Qadir had a terrible time. The Aussies scored heaps of runs but Hafeez just kept running in and bowling flat out. He was, in Aussie terms, a 'real goer'. However, maybe because of his disability, I do seem to remember he wasn't the greatest catcher in the outfield.

    Another player I enjoyed who had a physical disability was B S Chandrasekhar. How about an article on him?

  • Neal Patel on July 24, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    I sincerely thank you for your wonderful article. People who give their best for a cause despite having handicaps are true heroes. I salute you for remembering such people and look forward to reading more from you.

  • Harish Mohan on July 23, 2011, 19:41 GMT

    And if I am not mistaken, Azeem played one or two tenacious innings as a batsman also

  • Zeeshan on July 22, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    some one pointed me to a person in a small cafe, look he is Azeem Hafiz about 10 years back. i had the luck of watching him play in a small ground along with Saleem Yousuf in Karachi as i used to live in the same area where these guys live.

  • kent jones on July 22, 2011, 12:13 GMT

    This is a beautiful umcomplicated story of life. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you Samir Chopra!!!

  • Qaiser Shahzad on July 22, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    Truly a unique article..........bravo, Azeem infact personified sheer guts and talent. It was however a pity that he did not represent pakistan for a long time

  • kamran wasti on July 21, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    A. Ali -> It had nothing to do with Azeem Hafeez coming from Karachi. He actually hailed from Jehlum.

    He needed to be better than Wasim Akram to get into the team the moment Imran became available again because Pakistan would usually go with 2 spinners. His courage aside, he did have limitations as a bowler: He could only angle the ball across the batsmen and could not swing it in and was quite expensive too. His returns were modest even in First-Class cricket. So why do we admire him? It is for his courage and the fact that he manfully carried Pakistani fast-bowling on his shoulders for two seasons when Imran was away. Azeem played his last test with Wasim Akram who took 10 wickets in that match (his 2nd). In the next test, 8 months later, Imran opened the bowling under Javed Miandad's captaincy and no sane person would have preferred Azeem over Wasim.

  • Meety on July 21, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    As an Ozzy I remember him for several reasons that summer he played in Oz. Firstly there was the handicap, secondly he gained a bit of a cult following, I recal some matches any time he fielded a ball he was cheered - it wasn't a Bronx Jeer, the crowd were with him. Thirdly as mentioned earlier, Billy Birmingham - a local Ozzy comedian did a send up of the Nine Cricket Commentary Team, (spoofing Richie Benaud, Ian Chappell, Bill Lawry etc) - he would do this almost every year, the first year I remember him doing it was the Hafeez summer. The fourth reason I remember him is that I distinctly remember Greg Chappell upper cutting Hafeez over the slips deliberately on a number of occasions. It was the first time I ever saw anyone deliberately "scoop" the ball over the slips - 25 years later the "Dilscoop" came along!

    I wonder what Hafeez is doing now?????????????

  • PakFan on July 21, 2011, 0:28 GMT

    It is nice to remember people who have entertained us during our childhood. For Azeem Hafiz and other such cricketer who served the game shortly but in an honorable fashion - it won't be a bad idea to follow up on the article with a piece "Where Are They Now" to give homage to them while they are alive.

  • Dinesh Mulloth on July 20, 2011, 15:22 GMT

    I have many times wondered what happened to him after test cricket.

  • sunil on July 20, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    If I am not wrong, he also caught Ravi Shastri at deep fine leg (or third man, I am not sure) in that close B&H final. I remember applauding his effort despite the handicap. Can someone please confirm this?

  • Khurram on July 20, 2011, 10:45 GMT

    Really touching article, thanks Samir - will keep an eye on this blog. Our love of Hafeez & Cricket aside, I am slightly jealous of your Bangalore upbringing and the fact your aunt took you to an Indo/Pak match in the 80's - something I had no chance of in UK. Azeem caused a bit of a stir I recall back in the day, but in Pakistan sadly, its hardly makes any mention (missing digits). 63 Wickets is not that bad, especially looking at his hit list...

  • Desihungama on July 19, 2011, 18:21 GMT

    I cannot but sit back and admire the writer for this article honoring not so well known bowler of that era. My salutes to you.

  • A.Ali on July 19, 2011, 17:22 GMT

    Hafeez was a Karachi based fast bowler and due to this specific reason he was denied. Pakistan used to play with 3 fast bowlers in those days. Imran and Akram were regulars and the 3rd seamer was never a solid contender for the spot. Hafeez was among the fastest ones around that time in Pakistan, he would have played more games if he were from Lahore. The prejudice in Pakistan is not new, it has always deteriorated Pakistan in every walk of life.

  • Anonymous on July 19, 2011, 14:05 GMT

    Continuing...

    When Mohsin did not play, Pakistan would invariably use Mudassar Nazar or Manzoor Elahi. In 1986, Saleem Jaffer arrived on the back of a strong last season and Azeem just didn't figure again in Pakistani colours save for a couple of side games during the 1987 England tour. I was yet to turn 9 but I think he played in a match in which Imran was not playing and had a

    He had already played his last test before he turned 21 in a career that lasted less than 2 years. Surprisingly, he played 18 tests during that phase (a lot by Pakistani standards) which actually bites me, how Imran would have done in those games: His tally would have been 105 (he played 2 out of those 19 tests) and would safely have taken 100 odd wickets and scored some 800 odd runs given the way he was doing before his injury and immediately afterwards.

  • prasad on July 19, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    Nice article. Enjoyed reading it. It would have been nice if you could have added a line or two to indicate what he is doing now.. I am sure curious fans would like to know. Is he teaching a group of youngsters somewhere? Thanks!

  • kamran wasti on July 19, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    @ Vigyan ---> Simon Cook took 5 for 39 in his only test and never played again. He was an Australian who played at Perth against New Zealand in 1997. I was in the hostel in my university and I remember how he spotted a crack which he kept hitting over and over and the ball kept cutting into the batsmen.

    What actually happened was that before Imran's return, Wasim Akram had already arrived. Imran basically returned to replace Azeem. The first test series that he played was against Sri Lanka in which he opened the bowling with Wasim and Pakistan played two spinners. In one test, Javed Miandad (who was still captain) played Jalaluddin (who had taken the first ODI hat-trick). Then there was the West Indies ODI series and Imran was named captain again. Azeem was having a pretty poor season at a time when Mohsin Kamal (who was genuinely quick) was doing pretty well and he automatically became the third specialist seamer for the ODIs for the rest of the season.

  • yacoob nakhuda on July 19, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    The tour to Austrailia in 1984 had 2 captains - Zaheer abbas on the field and later Imran came in as a batsman mid way through the series. Zaheer on landing at the airport denied the team as his. Border was all amused and called Imran's injury a red herring. Mohsin Khan retired mid way through the tour and Qasim Omar was the darling of the aussie crowds much to the chagrin of Imran.

    Poor Hafeez was poorly handled even by Zaheer on the preceding India tour. Waseem akram wasspotted by Javed Miandad in 1984 -85 during a net practice session when the New Zealanders were visting and Zaheer was the captain. There was a return series to New Zealand and Austrailia under Javed's captaincy in 1985( conveniently Zaheer had withdrawn from the captaincy - he was too defensive and could not bear to lose a match!). When Imran returned he wanted match winners which sadly Azim was not. On that fateful night in March 1985 sadly another cricketer also played his last match - the late Wasim Hasan Raja

  • Leena Khan on July 19, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    A well written piece. Thank you. I quite like this project of yours ---- bringing to the fore tales of the not-so-glamorous. Would be nice to have a few comments from Azeem Hafeez himself.

  • Imran Ali on July 19, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    It is one of the mysteries as to whyu he dropped off so suddenly after doing yeoman's service in the period when Imran was absent. Sure, Wasim Akram came on the scene but the team always had two or three other bowlers in the saquad, including Saleem Jaafar, another left arm pace bowler, who achieved a lot less than Azim. The only explanation could be that Imran Khan did not rate him and Imran pretty much had an exclusive right to pace bowler selection from the time he returned from his injury. My recolelction of him is that of a tireless bowler who though not devastating was lively an generally accurate. He must have been fairly young when he was discarded so one wonders if he could have developed into a better bowler under Imran's guidance.

  • Ajai Banerji on July 19, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    Some more ideas for those who had a short but dazzling career:

    Redmond and Ganteaume who scored a century in their only test. Others who scored a century on debut but vanished soon after-such as D.H. Shodhan for India, L.Baichan for WI. Marriott who took 11 wickets in his only test. Griffin of SA who took a hat-trick in his 2-test career Petherick of NZ who scored a hat-trick on debut but vanished soon after. R.E. Foster who scored a double century on debut but did little else-like Kuruppu.

  • Subu Sastry on July 19, 2011, 3:24 GMT

    Another touching nostalgic blog. This is amazing that you keep taking us back to 80s journey, I can vaguely remember his left arm angling across and in dipper deliveries to Indian batsmen in that Lahore test 1984, before Mohinder-Shastri killed the contest following on a flat pitch, just showed what a skillful bowler he was to knock six batsmen in first innings. His career was effectively over on that fateful night March 1985 when India lifted the WSC trophy, Hafeez length ball was tonked for a six over long off by Krish Srikanth, Hafeez did nothing wrong in that game giving less than 30 runs in 10 overs in a low scoring game BUT only fault was Pakistan lost to India in a final and another great Akram was ready to fill that left armer slot. Unfortunately Salim Jaffer another left armer less effective than Hafeez got a longer run in late 80s.

  • Karim Manji on July 19, 2011, 2:57 GMT

    Nice article Samir. What I remember about him is that he dropped (off a skier at third man) an Aussie player very early on in his innings and who then went on to score a big hundred. The obvious question asked was why place a fielder there who had two fingers missing and which most probably contributed to the dropped catch. But I guess he had to field somewhere!

  • shardul mude on July 19, 2011, 0:54 GMT

    Well written.A good initiative taken by you sir.Can you also write a piece about Murali Karthik who I feel has been hard done by the selectors.Also one Padmakar Shivalkar who could never play for India due to the presence of all time great Bishen singh bedi.

  • Tanveer Arif on July 18, 2011, 22:49 GMT

    yes i remember him too...very impressive

  • Hamayun on July 18, 2011, 17:48 GMT

    he also coached Afghanistan in recent times!

  • subbu on July 18, 2011, 17:30 GMT

    Fantastic article. Hafeez was truly exceptional and I do remember how he got the great SMG bowled of his leg. As much as I hate to see SMG getting out, this was probably the only instance where I felt OK because Hafeez got him. A true character and thanks a ton for those nostalgic moments where cricket was appreciated more by radio commentary and very little of live action.

  • araj on July 18, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    long on feelings. short on facts. would not be too difficult to try and reach him on the phone. and also get a couple of his peer's view points.

  • aniyan on July 18, 2011, 15:53 GMT

    Yeah,I remember him because he was the bowler in the Benson and Hedges Final between India and Pakistan, whom Srikkanth hits over the long off for a six and this shot was kept replaying again and again in TV sets through the Maltova AD featuring Srikkanth.

  • Rajaraman on July 18, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    I have for long felt the same way as the author about Hafeez. Like the one-breasted woman in a Bond novel, Hafeez was always a fascination for me. I have always wondered what happened to such a good talent. I am happy to note that I am not alone. I did not watch him on television but only heard radio commentaries, read and saw him in sports magazines. I remember he batted with a specially designed gloves. Nice article. Hats off!

  • stonebull on July 18, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    same with me here guy,i seem to always remember this azeem hafeez. i was only 15-16 when he started and stopped playing. strange i am not a pakistani or pakistan supporter but i always remember him maybe because out of sympaty for him.they should have stuck with him at least he was better than saleem jaffar.

  • Mukul Goyal on July 18, 2011, 13:26 GMT

    I was also scratching my head regarding why do I remember Azeem Hafiz. Ofcourse, he was a left-arm seamer who didn't have a couple of fingers and who came to India in 1983 after the world cup victory and after the thrashing India received soon after at the hand of Windies. But, there was some thing special about Hafiz that I could not remember any more. Then, I started to look at the scoreboards of the matches he played in that series. And then it struck me. Azeem Hafiz was the only test wicket Syed Kirmani took. In the 3rd test in Nagpur, when this boring series was about to be getting over, Pakistan sent in Hafiz and Naqqash as openers in their 2nd inning. I remember Kapil Dev bowling an over of gentle off-spin. I remember Gavaskar bowling an over in all fun and frolic. And I remember Kirmani bowling Hafiz out!! And what mighty celebration it was!!!

  • agni on July 18, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    Hey Samir.. when I read the caption"The Story of Azeem Hafiz", I instantly remembered the right hand with two fingers missing. So you were not unique. Also he dismissed the great SMG, bowled round his legs(SMG lost his leg stump while shuffling too far to off side to counter the left armers natural angle at Jullundur in 1983,so far Jullundur's only test).

  • Vigyan on July 18, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    What I remember from those days is that he was quite effective in the debut series against India in '83 winter in India (series played prior to West Indies whipping us 3-0 in Tests and 5-0 in one dayers; more than due revenge for World Cup final loss earlier that year). He had emerged as the main strike bowler for Pakistan during that tour. Those were the days when TV coverage was not quite big in India so the memory is really a bit hazy.... This reminds me something quite similar.... Some 6 years down the line came an Indian bowler called Vivek Razdan who had a '5 for'in an innings against Pakistan and yet played in only a couple of Tests in his brief cricketing life at the top level. This must be a record for the shortest career among all Test bowlers who have taken 5 wickets in an innings!

  • Azeem on July 18, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    Just to add to knowledge he is one of two fast bowlers with missing finger(s). The other being Waqar Younus one of the countries all time greats.

  • Roamer on July 18, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    Very nicely written, as I remember him very well and always admired his courage and character .... bravo !!

  • Rick on July 18, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    I remember the Twelfth Man (Billy Birmingham) called him Azeem HafeezHandMissing

  • Murtaza Maqbool on July 18, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    Really lovely and respectable article by an unbiased and respectable editor... I am a Pakistani but I never heard of Mr.Hafeez. I was fascinated by Waqar Younis's story of being handicapped (he didn't have 1 finger) but Hafeez would have been so spirited and courageous that a Bollywood director can take his story as a script... Brilliant work by the editor!!!

  • ShaniJ on July 18, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    A very nice article!!!:)

  • Kunal Talgeri on July 18, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    Nice ode :-)

  • Looch on July 18, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    I remember him very well. He was in the Pakistan team on their tour to Australia and he made quite an impression on me. He was Pakistan's leading wicket taker for that series and from memory took a couple of 5-fors and it is great to see such a gutsy player remebered. Saw him live in Jan 84 at the SCG in an ODI where he took some wickets against a well performing Australia side. Other players I admired on that tour were the mighty Mudassar Nazar and Qasim Omar.

  • Syed Osama Afaq on July 18, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    This is great initiative and certainly gives an account of people not remembered with reference to something they deserve. In Pakistan anyway except for very few, I think we have not even come close to give respect to our talent they immensely deserve,be it our heroes or legends. Nevetheless something is better than nothing. And I would like to thank you for sharing this. Its well written and very well gives an account of him.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Syed Osama Afaq on July 18, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    This is great initiative and certainly gives an account of people not remembered with reference to something they deserve. In Pakistan anyway except for very few, I think we have not even come close to give respect to our talent they immensely deserve,be it our heroes or legends. Nevetheless something is better than nothing. And I would like to thank you for sharing this. Its well written and very well gives an account of him.

  • Looch on July 18, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    I remember him very well. He was in the Pakistan team on their tour to Australia and he made quite an impression on me. He was Pakistan's leading wicket taker for that series and from memory took a couple of 5-fors and it is great to see such a gutsy player remebered. Saw him live in Jan 84 at the SCG in an ODI where he took some wickets against a well performing Australia side. Other players I admired on that tour were the mighty Mudassar Nazar and Qasim Omar.

  • Kunal Talgeri on July 18, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    Nice ode :-)

  • ShaniJ on July 18, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    A very nice article!!!:)

  • Murtaza Maqbool on July 18, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    Really lovely and respectable article by an unbiased and respectable editor... I am a Pakistani but I never heard of Mr.Hafeez. I was fascinated by Waqar Younis's story of being handicapped (he didn't have 1 finger) but Hafeez would have been so spirited and courageous that a Bollywood director can take his story as a script... Brilliant work by the editor!!!

  • Rick on July 18, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    I remember the Twelfth Man (Billy Birmingham) called him Azeem HafeezHandMissing

  • Roamer on July 18, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    Very nicely written, as I remember him very well and always admired his courage and character .... bravo !!

  • Azeem on July 18, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    Just to add to knowledge he is one of two fast bowlers with missing finger(s). The other being Waqar Younus one of the countries all time greats.

  • Vigyan on July 18, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    What I remember from those days is that he was quite effective in the debut series against India in '83 winter in India (series played prior to West Indies whipping us 3-0 in Tests and 5-0 in one dayers; more than due revenge for World Cup final loss earlier that year). He had emerged as the main strike bowler for Pakistan during that tour. Those were the days when TV coverage was not quite big in India so the memory is really a bit hazy.... This reminds me something quite similar.... Some 6 years down the line came an Indian bowler called Vivek Razdan who had a '5 for'in an innings against Pakistan and yet played in only a couple of Tests in his brief cricketing life at the top level. This must be a record for the shortest career among all Test bowlers who have taken 5 wickets in an innings!

  • agni on July 18, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    Hey Samir.. when I read the caption"The Story of Azeem Hafiz", I instantly remembered the right hand with two fingers missing. So you were not unique. Also he dismissed the great SMG, bowled round his legs(SMG lost his leg stump while shuffling too far to off side to counter the left armers natural angle at Jullundur in 1983,so far Jullundur's only test).