Alimuddin, the former Pakistan opener who faced the first delivery bowled by an international side in Pakistan, has died at the age of 81. He was 12 years old when he made his first-class debut in 1942-43, appearing for Rajasthan, in the pre-partition Ranji Trophy.
He was a member of the touring side led by Abdul Hafeez Kardar on the historic tour to England in 1954. He started with a hundred at Worcester and scored a second one against Cambridge, but his form fell away and in three Tests he managed only 51 runs. He bounced back to be the best batsman on either side in Pakistan's first home series, against India in 1954-55, but he rarely found his best form thereafter, losing his place in the West Indies, before hitting back with a Test-best 109 and 53 against England at Karachi in 1961-62.
Alimuddin was also the first batsman to score a hundred at National Cricket Stadium in Karachi against India, in a low-scoring match in 1955. He played 25 Tests for Pakistan, before retiring and moving to England where he worked in Heathrow Airport for Pakistan International Airlines.
He had lung and heart problems, and was also on dialysis. His international career lasted eight years, ending in 1962. He would have played more matches, had it not been for the presence of other quality openers like Nazar Mohammad and Hanif Mohammad. After partition, he stayed back in India to play the 1947-48 season, but later migrated to Karachi.
Alimuddin's was a cricketing family with two of his brothers, Azimuddin and Salimuddin, also playing first-class cricket briefly. He remained unmarried all his life, working to support his sister and brothers.
The Pakistan board conveyed their condolences to the family. "The PCB management is deeply saddened by the loss of Mr Alimuddin, and their thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time of sorrow," a PCB release said.