|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
November 29, 2012
Syed Shahid Akbar, a Hyderabad prodigy in the '70s, has died of a multiple organ failure at the age of 54. Akbar's is one of the more poignant stories of what could have been. His contemporaries all expected him to play for India, but Akbar couldn't quite make it. He ended with just 31 first-class matches, and a highest score of 97.
He was a dashing left-hand opening batsman, and an electric fielder in the days before Mohammad Azharuddin had arrived, "the best in Hyderabad in those days". Harsha Bhogle, who played Universities cricket with Akbar, says observers in Hyderabad cricket circles used to imagine him opening with Sunil Gavaskar even before he had made his Ranji debut, at the age of 18, in 1976.
Arshad Ayub, former India offspinner, was a dear friend and colleague. He played with Akbar in school, in university, and for Hyderabad. He regrets they didn't do it together for India. He remembers Akbar as a nice person, whom he never saw "even raise his voice to anybody". Ayub says, "He was probably the best talent around during the time. Unfortunate that he didn't make the grade."
Akbar played his last first-class game in 1984, and faded away. He kept working at State Bank of India before taking voluntary retirement. Ayub says he wasn't very social after his cricketing days, but didn't look back with regret. He kept watching a lot of cricket, both on TV and in Hyderabad, and would discuss a lot with Ayub. He remained a voracious reader, and would share the books with Ayub after finishing. Ayub is left with a valuable gift: all the books Akbar shared with him.
Akbar is survived by his wife, and a daughter who lives in Australia.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Sidharth Monga
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
|Comments have now been closed for this article
After the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death, this match showed that cricket and life will continue to go on. This time Test cricket dug in and got through to tea.
Virat Kohli's innings on the final day transcended the conditions, the bowlers and his batting partners, and when it was all in vain, he displayed remarkable grace in defeat
The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game
Both batsmen seemingly have buckets of talent at their disposal and the backing of their captains, but soft dismissals relentlessly follow both around the Test arena
The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be
Turning your back on a system that the whole cricketing world wants a discussion on, refusing to discuss it because it is not 100%, is not good enough
After a long time we have seen an Indian team and captain enjoy the challenge of trying to overcome stronger opposition in an overseas Test