Miran Bux

MIRAN BUX (MALIK MIRANBAKSH), who died at Dhok Rata, Rawalpindi old town, on February 8, 1991, in his 84th year, was the oldest cricketer to make his Test debut in the twentieth century. Summoned to play for Pakistan in the Third Test against India at Lahore, when the match began on January 29, 1955, he was 47 years and 284 days old. Only James Southerton, who played for England at Melbourne in the first of all Test matches in 1877, made his debut at a more advanced age (49 years 119 days). And only four others have played Test cricket at a greater age: Wilfred Rhodes, "Dainty" Ironmonger, W. G. Grace and George Gunn. A tall man, with large hands, Miran Bux worked for a number of years at the Rawalpindi Club as coach and groundsman, and there he perfected the art of off-spin bowling, with its attendant variations. Recognition came in 1948-49, when he appeared for the Commander-in-Chief's XI against the West Indians at Rawalpindi, and he seized his chance by taking five for 62, including Headley and Walcott in the first innings. When a Commonwealth XI were the visitors in the corresponding fixture a year later, his match figures were ten for 82. Among others he had the Australian Test spinner, George Tribe, in all kinds of trouble before trapping him lbw, and in old age Miran still remembered Tribe's sporting acknowledgment of his skill with a pat of his bat as he left the wicket. In his first Test for Pakistan he had the Indian batsmen at full stretch, especially Umrigar, who was dropped off him early on; his figures were 48-20-82-2 in India's first innings of 251, but he did not bowl in the second innings. At Peshawar in the Fourth Test he was allowed only ten overs, and that was that.

By now Pakistan's domestic cricket was beginning to take shape. The main competition was for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the format varying from year to year, and in 1956-57 Miran achieved the best performance of his career: six for 15 for Services at Dacca against East Pakistan (Whites), who were all out for 33. In his last season, two years later, he had match figures of nine for 72 for Rawalpindi against Services. In fifteen first-class matches he took 48 wickets at 19.43 apiece.

© John Wisden & Co