Intikhab Alam September 7, 2013

A sleepless night, and praise from Sobers

When you dismiss a legendary allrounder in your first over, you don't forget it quickly

First sleepless night because of cricket
The night before the last day of the Headingley Test in 1971. Pakistan was in an excellent position to win the Test [25 for no loss, chasing 231] and hence a Test series outside Pakistan for the first time.

First piece of cricketing advice I got
It was from my brother Aftab Alam, a first-class cricketer himself: "There are no good legspinners in Pakistan. So you stand a good chance. Work hard." At that time I also bowled medium pace, but after the advice I stuck to legspin.

First time I thought I was good enough to play a Test
During the 1959 tour of England with the Pakistan Eaglets, I got more than 100 wickets. That gave me the feeling that I was ready for the big time. A few months later I got my first Test selection.

First compliment I got from an international cricketer
During the same tour, I was invited to play in the Fazal Mahmood benefit match. Sir Garry Sobers was playing for the opposition. I bowled him in the first over. After the match, he came to me and praised my bowling.

First memorable catch I took
It came during my first tour with Pakistan in 1960-61. In the Calcutta Test, I dived at gully to dismiss the Indian wicketkeeper [Naren] Tamhane off the bowling of our captain Fazal Mahmood.

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on cricket and other sports. For more about him and samples of his published work, visit