Waqar Hasan, last link to Pakistan's inaugural Test XI, dies at 87

Waqar Hasan was the last surviving member of Pakistan's inaugural Test team Getty Images

Waqar Hasan, the last surviving member of Pakistan's inaugural Test team, which played India in Delhi in October 1952, has died in Karachi at the age of 87.

A middle-order batsman, Waqar's first outing in Test cricket wasn't too auspicious, as he scored 8 and 5 in an innings defeat, but he ended the five-Test series as Pakistan's highest run-maker, with 357 runs at an average of 44.62, including three half-centuries. Waqar went on to play 21 Test matches during the course of a first-class career that spanned more than a decade and a half, from 1948-49 to 1965-66.

He finished with 1071 runs in 35 Test innings, an average of 31.50, and hit a century and six half-centuries. His first-class average was 35.64.

"Waqar Hassan was an attractive strokemaker, who was ideal in a crisis and and a fine field either at cover or further out," Christopher Martin-Jenkins wrote of Waqar in World Cricketers: A Biographical Dictionary (Oxford, 1996).

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"It gives me immense satisfaction to have achieved many firsts for Pakistan: first to score a half-century in each innings of a Test [Bombay, 1952-53], first Test half-century in England [Lord's, 1954], first Test half-century at home, and first to score two half-centuries in a home Test [Dacca, 1954-55], first century partnership [with Hanif Mohammad, Bombay, 1952-53], first double-century partnership [with Imtiaz Ahmed, Lahore, 1955-56]," Waqar recounted in an interview with The Cricket Monthly in November 2012, by which time he had started splitting his time between Karachi and London.

Originally from Lahore, Waqar shifted to Karachi in 1945 after being offered a job with the Public Works Department, and by the early 1960s, he launched a textile machinery business. The reason, as he explained, was financial. "I had lost my regular place in the Test team but my main reason for quitting cricket after the 1959-60 season was financial," he said. "I opted out at the age of 27 to establish my business. I had seen the likes of Amir Elahi and Wazir Ali living not-so-happy lives in their later years."

He did, however, return to the game for a brief fling as a player. "In 1963-64, after being out of first-class cricket for four years, on the insistence of the officials of the Karachi cricket association, I agreed to captain the team," he said. "I played only three more first-class tournaments in two years but we achieved remarkable results. We won all the three first-class tournaments - the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy [twice] and the Ayub Trophy.

"In the 1963-64 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final, my second-string Karachi Blues defeated the Karachi Whites, who had in their line-up five Test captains of the past and future. I played for fun with no ambition of making a Test comeback."

Waqar also served as a national selector, in spells during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.