March 26, 2012

One for Pakistan

Thirty-nine players have played just one Test each for Pakistan. Here's a selection of them

Zulqarnain Haider
Wicketkeeper Haider's peculiar Test career might have ended with a king pair - but he survived the second blob, at Edgbaston in August 2010, after a review overturned the original lbw decision, and went on to make a gritty 88. Then he was discovered to have broken a finger and was sent home... and not long after that he did a moonlight flit from a one-day series in the UAE, saying he was being threatened by match-fixers. Recriminations, bans and apologies followed, and now Haider is back playing first-class cricket in Pakistan, so another cap or two - or another chapter of two of a remarkable life story - can't be ruled out.

Farooq Hamid
The Lahore fast bowler Hamid played one Test, the one-off match against Australia in Melbourne in 1964-65, but took only one wicket. His victim was another debutant, but one who went on to rather greater things: Ian Chappell, for 11. Hamid was also a useful sprinter, although suggestions that he took part in the Olympic Games seem to be wide of the mark.

Yasir Ali
A fast bowler from Attock in northern Pakistan, Yasir earned rapid promotion to the Test side - his debut, against Bangladesh in Multan in September 2003, was also his maiden first-class match! Just 17, he took a wicket in each innings, but played a much more crucial role with the bat, coming in at No. 11 when four runs were still needed, and Bangladesh in sight of an amazing upset victory. Showing the benefits of a lunchtime coaching session from Javed Miandad, Yasir kept out his first three balls then tickled a single, allowing Inzamam-ul-Haq to hammer the winning boundary. Despite these heroics - and a nice, flowing bowling action - Yasir hasn't been selected again, although time remains on his side as he's still only 26.

Gul Mohammad
Gul played in Pakistan's inaugural Test against Australia, in Karachi in October 1956. A prolific batsman who had shared in a world-record stand of 577 earlier in his career, Gul made 12 and 27 not out in the nine-wicket win, the first 24 of his second-innings runs coming on his 35th birthday. But he was not your archetypal one-cap wonder: he'd already played eight Tests for India, including two against Pakistan in 1952-53, before returning to his native Lahore.

Bazid Khan
The son of the stylish Majid Khan, and the grandson of a Test player too (Jahangir Khan of India), Bazid spent some time on the fringes of the Test side, but made his only appearance (to date - he's still only 30) in a heavy defeat in Bridgetown in May 2005. He scored 9 and 23, and hasn't been asked back, despite having a first-class triple-century to his name. That cap made Bazid only the second third-generation Test cricketer, after England's Dean Headley, whose father Ron and grandfather George played for West Indies.

Javed Akhtar
Offspinner Akhtar's big moment as a player came in 1962, when - after joining the side in England as a replacement for Haseeb Ahsan, whose action had been questioned - he made his debut in the third Test at Headingley. But Javed failed to take a wicket, England won by an innings, and he was never selected again. He later turned to umpiring and stood in 18 Tests and 40 one-day internationals before his top-flight career came to an end not long after he was accused of favouring England in the deciding Test against South Africa, back at Headingley, in 1998, though no official charges were ever brought upon him.

Humayun Farhat
It was a family affair when wicketkeeper Farhat made his Test debut against New Zealand in Hamilton in March 2001: his brother Imran Farhat was opening the batting. But it was a dreadful match for Pakistan, who lost by an innings. Humayun hit 28 and 24 - no Pakistani made more runs in the match (Imran scored 24 and 1), and conceded no byes in New Zealand's total of 407... but he hasn't been chosen since.

Azmat Rana
A left-hander from Lahore, Rana made 49 in his only Test innings - in a boring draw against Australia in Lahore in March 1980 - so on the face of it he looks unlucky not to have been picked again. However, that was a hard time for fringe Pakistan batsmen, with players such as Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, Majid Khan and Mudassar Nazar locking down most of the available spots. Azmat's brother Shafqat Rana had played five Tests in the 1960s, but it's another Rana brother who is best remembered now - umpire Shakoor, half of that infamous double act from the Faisalabad Test against Mike Gatting's England in 1987-88.

Khalid Hasan
The good news for 16-year-old legspinner Hasan on his Test debut - at Trent Bridge in 1954 - was that he got the great Denis Compton out. The bad news was that Compo had 278 at the time, and England made 558 and won by an innings. Poor Khalid (who also dismissed Reg Simpson for 101) was never selected again, and remains the only man whose Test career was over before he had turned 17.

Shakeel Ahmed
Left-arm spinner Ahmed was called up against Australia in Karachi in October 1998, after he took ten wickets against them in an earlier tour match. But his round-arm deliveries were unprepossessing, and even though he took four wickets in the second innings - including both Waugh twins - he was not chosen again. Shakeel's main footnote in history was as the first man born in Kuwait to play Test cricket (Tanvir Ahmed, in 2010, was the second).

Nadeem Ghauri
Another slow left-armer, Ghauri, from Lahore, had a forgettable Test debut in Sydney in 1989-90: rain ruined the match, he was out second ball for 0, and failed to take a wicket. That was his lot in Test cricket as a player: he has since taken up umpiring, and has stood in five Tests and more than 40 one-day internationals.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012.