Pakistan cricket July 24, 2013

Fazal Mahmood, a straight-up iconoclast

Osman Samiuddin, writing for Star Sports recollects the impact of former Pakistan fast bowler, Fazal Mahmood, who set up memorable victories during the side's early years in Test cricket

Fazal Mahmood, often regarded as one of the finest players of his generation, was the first Pakistan bowler to take 100 wickets. He also has the distinction of being the first player in the history of the game to take 12 or more wickets in a single Test against four different teams. Osman Samiuddin, writing on Star Sports, sheds more light on the bowler's impressive achievements.

Until the end of March 1959, Pakistan's first golden age, Fazal was a giant; 114 wickets in just 24 Tests, close to 40 per cent of all wickets taken by Pakistani bowlers. To that add the 36 wickets he took in seven unofficial Tests played in the run-up to Pakistan's first official Test. Few of those were freebies: 93 of his wickets were specialist batsmen. The men he dismissed most often? The cream of the age: Conrad Hunte, Polly Umrigar, Vijay Manjrekar, Gary Sobers, Neil Harvey, Denis Compton thrice in four Tests, Sir Len Hutton twice in two Tests. All this leaves as little doubt to his greatness as he carried within himself, and it led Pakistan to wins in India, England, West Indies, against Australia and New Zealand in their first eight years; at least one against every country they played. No full member has had as promising a start and no one did more than Fazal, with 65 wickets in the seven wins he played in.