India news November 29, 2012

Syed Shahid Akbar dies at 54

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 ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 2, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    We always remained core fans of Shahid Bhai till the time we got the chance to play against his side SBI in the local league matches. It was nice of him to have given a chance for us to be associated with us in some of the un-official knockout tournaments. It was a great honour for us all. He was a non controversial by all means as our contemporaries have mentioned above. The only benefit match that he was awarded in 1986-87 unfortunately. I wish he could have played the highest level in his peak days but because of his ill health he did not reach the national side. I wish HCA should publish a Magazine on the players of yester years especially for those like Shahid Bhai who remained an Icon for the Hyderabad cricketers. May Allah rest his soul in Peace.

    My heartfelt condolence for all Hyderabad Cricketers.

  • Venkat on November 30, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    Must have been a really talented cricketer. May his soul rest in peace. @Noel Bernard Carr : Thanks for letting us know your personal experiences and the talents he possessed.

  • Dummy4 on November 30, 2012, 5:55 GMT

    This is so sad. he had so much talent and we never got to see it. RIP

  • Arnab on November 29, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    Remember growing up in Hyd and Shahid Akbar was part of my growing cricket consciousness. Came into the team from junior ranks alongwith Arshad Ayub, Khalid Abdul Quayyum and Shivlal Yadav. Always a mystery why he could not deliver. Eventually Vijay Mohanraj and Abdul Azeem formed a stable opening partnership. One of the 'could have beens' of Hyd cricket together with Saad Bin Jung Nagesh Hammond. RIP Shahid!

  • Dummy4 on November 29, 2012, 14:43 GMT

    Aftet reading the above comments,I have came to know about his greatness as player and as a person.May his soul rest in peace.

  • Sachin on November 29, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    Rest in peace Mr. Syed Shahid Akbar and my condolence to his family.

  • Dummy4 on November 29, 2012, 10:55 GMT

    Sad news. Condolences to his family.

  • Subba on November 29, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    He was a scintillating batsman who would play audacious shots up front. He was paticularly good against quick bowlers. I remember a match aganist West Indies visiting team when he played for South Zone. He got out trying to hook a Malcolm Marshall bouncer - out caught. It was the 'no helmet' era. It was his health issues but India would have a seen a Krish Srikanth like dasher much earlier. May his soul rest in peace.

  • Dummy4 on November 29, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    I am really saddened by the passing away one of the greatest talent that Hyderabad produced Syed Shahid Akbar in the late seventies and early eighties. I am really fortunate to have played against him . A graceful left hander who i thought would definately go on to represent the country but illness struck him at an early age which brought a premature end to his cricketing days. Haven't met a nicer human being and a gentleman to the core and on a few occassions i had the opportunity to discuss the game of cricket which made interesting reading. My heart goes out in this hour of grief to the family who has lost a son, husband and father. On behalf of my family my heartfelt sympathies to the entire family and i pray to god to give them strenght to overcome this irreperable loss. May his soul rest in peace. We miss you Shahid bhai !!!!

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