Pakistan news March 8, 2013

Haseeb Ahsan dies aged 73


Haseeb Ahsan, the former Pakistan offspinner, has died at the age of 73 in Karachi. Ahsan was staying with former Pakistan captain Hanif Mohammad and was on dialysis for the last two years.

Ahsan played 12 Tests for Pakistan between 1958 and 1962. His last stint in cricket was in England, when he represented Pakistan Eaglets in 1963 against Scotland. Following his first-class career, which lasted almost eight years, he took up an executive role in American Express.

He went on to become one of the most influential selectors in Pakistan cricket. As chief selector, he picked the teenager Wasim Akram for the national side in 1984. He was also the chairman of the 1987 World Cup technical committee and a member of the tournament's organising committee.

Akram paid tribute to Ahsan, telling AFP: "Ahsan convinced everyone of my talent and selected me against New Zealand. He was very close to me and, as a powerful selector, spotted young talent and threw them into the bigger battles. I have lost a very close supporter."

In the official history of Pakistan cricket, he was recorded as a "prodigious spinner of cricket ball". On debut in first-class cricket, he didn't take a wicket against MCC in 1955 in his only match of 1955-56 season, but followed up that with a solid second season, finishing with 19 wickets at 12.68. In 1957-58, his tally was 26 wickets at 9.76, and he claimed his career best of 8 for 23 - that eventually brought him into contention for international cricket, and he was subsequently picked for a tour to the West Indies. Ahsan finished with 27 Test wickets at an average of 49.25. He took his best figures of 6 for 202 against India in Chennai in 1961.

Later, Ahsan was a key figure in Karachi cricket and became the pivotal figure in the Sindh Cricket Association in 2003. In 2006, he was named in the panel that heard the appeals of fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif against doping bans.

PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf praised Ahsan's administrative skills: "Haseeb was not only a superb Test cricketer but also was a good administrator who intimately knew the game. His death is a loss to the cricketing fraternity." Karachi City Cricket Association president Sirajul Islam Bukhari said: "Ahsan fought illness with courage."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Haseeb on March 11, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    I was named after this man. My puppo worked with him at PIA and thats where I got my roots. Funny I played 2nd XI for Surrey CCC as a off spinner as well.

  • Tom on March 9, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    I remember him as the most powerful selector in Pakistan history. In Pak cricket culture where "ChaCha Mama" rules and "Parchi" is the influential factor of selection, he fought against all odds and brought fresh and talented cricketers in the teams. His support of KCCA and fresh cricketers are unquestionable. May Allah bless his soul and rest him in peace.

  • Dummy4 on March 9, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Hasib Ahsan was a great human being plus a great administrator. I met him when he joined PIA in March 1960 in the marketing department where he rose to the rank of general manager. Besides cricket where he took decisions honestly and fearlessly he would go out of his way to help anyone who needed his help. It has been a great personal loss for me and my family. RIP my friend.

  • Dummy4 on March 9, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    its sad...all the old warriors are passing away...ones connection to the cricket of yore is being cut strand by strand...left with what it is today...a game of commerce...Salute a man who had a lot of influence but little reward out of that...

  • kaka on March 8, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    so sad to hear the passing of Haseeb Ahsan, may GOD have mercy on his soul and give strength to his family.

    he is a great loss to pakistan's cricket, pakistan cricket needs lot more people like Haseeb to keep heading in the right direction.

  • Mirza on March 8, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    Sad to hear about death of Haseeb Ahsan. Nice gentleman and a great cricketing brain that helped him to be a strong administrator, selector and manger on tours. Great at unearthing and recognizing talented cricketers at young age, remember many young cricketers making their international debut when he was the chairman of selectors, RIP.

  • Naveed on March 8, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    i met him at the oval, england when pakistan beat england in a test series, think it was 1986, maybe 87. what a nice man, may Allah rest his soul in peace.

  • Dummy4 on March 8, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    I was a school kid when Hasib Ahsan bowled, or rather had to bowl, 86 overs in one innings of a Test Match against India at Madras, as it was then named. It was a dead batting wicket. Pakistan had batted first and scored more than 400 runs over 2 days and declared. India followed suit with over 500 runs over more than two and a half days and the match ended in a tame draw. Pakistan's opening attack of Fazal Mahmood & Mahmood Hussain bowled 80 overs between them and got 1 wicket for 152 runs. The other two spinners Intikhab (who was a young one at that time) and Nasim-ul-Ghani bowled 63 overs between them and got 2 wickets. Hasib got 6 for 202. I can remember the Mahraja Kumar of Vizzyanagram, Vizzy, saying that blood was oozing from Hasib's fingers by the time India declared, probably an exaggeration, but you get the meaning.

    More than his exploits with the ball, he was a gentleman. RIP

  • Dummy4 on March 8, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    May Allah bless his soul and him InSHAllah. He is a courage selector!

  • Dummy4 on March 8, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    RIP. very sad to hear about him .

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