Altaf Hussain, independent Bangladesh's first coach, dies

Altaf Hussain (seated, second from right) with the Bangladesh team at the SAARC cricket tournament in 1992 

Altaf Hussain, independent Bangladesh's first cricket coach, passed away in Dhaka on Tuesday. He was Bangladesh's head coach in the 1990 Asia Cup, having held a similar role with several representative sides in the 1970s and 1980s.

Altaf was awarded the National Sports Award in 1999 for his contribution to Bangladesh cricket, particularly in the period following the 1971 war of independence, when cricket in the country seemed to have a bleak future. He was also a first-class umpire, and his name always seemed to crop up whenever someone talked about cricket coaching or umpiring in the early days of Bangladesh.

His playing career as a fast bowler reached its peak in 1965 when he was picked in the 15-man Pakistan Test squad for the first Test against New Zealand, though he didn't make the playing XI

Altaf played for Mohammedan Sporting Club, Dhaka Wanderers, PWD, East Pakistan Gymkhana and Shantinagar Club in the Dhaka league.

In his later years as a coach, Altaf also played a crucial role in developing women's cricket in the country, having worked closely with the BCB till 2007.

BCB president Nazmul Hassan paid tribute to Altaf, saying: "We have lost an architect who had shaped the return of cricket in Bangladesh following independence in 1971. Altaf Hussain had the most pleasant personality and was respected by all for his selfless commitment to our cricket.

"His is a lasting legacy. For half a century he had worked with exemplary dedication, sincerity and honesty, often in the most challenging circumstances to develop cricketers and the game of cricket. Altaf Hussain's contribution to Bangladesh cricket will never be forgotten."