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Fazal Mahmood - One of Pakistan's Greats

The first non-English bowler to excite my attention (it was after all the era of Trueman and Statham) watching test cricket on TV as boy was Fazal Mahmood. This canny medium-pacer had been lithe and quick in his early days. By the time I saw him operating against England in 1962 he was stocky and short on pace, and in truth this series, his last, was not a great one for him, and he was called up only as last resort. Yet on occasion he mesmerised the English batsmen with off and leg cut, and quite extraordinary late swing, and was very hard to score off. His last two test wickets were those of Dexter and Cowdrey. Finding himself narrowly on the Pakistan side of partition in 1947 (he was actually selected for India originally), he rapidly became a mainstay of Pakistan’s early efforts in test cricket. Despite many consistent performances spanning about 14 years, his greatest hour was without doubt at The Oval in the final test of Pakistan’s first tour of England in 1954. It was a low-sc…