K.Han Mohammad teamed up with Fazal Mehmood to form the Bow Ling duo, which was behind many of Pakistan’s successes in the early Tests. Khan was born in Lahore in 1928 on New Year’s Day. He came from a middle class background and his father, Jan Muhammad, was a carpenter.
Khan Muhammad developed an interest in cricket during his school days. He then enrolled at Islamia College where he studied economics and history and also played cricket for the college team. It was at Islamia College that he first met and partnered with Fazal Mahmood in Bowling Attack. He also played for the famous Universal Club and his performances for both sides were seen by the selectors who selected him to represent North India in the Ranji Trophy of 1946-7. Khan Mohammad took ten wickets in three zonal matches.
After the formation of Pakistan, Khan Muhammad participated in the inaugural first-class match played in his new homeland, in which Punjab was represented against Sindh. He sent down the first ball bowled in a first-class match in Pakistan and when, after 13 runs, he knocked out MEZ Ghazali’s stump by four runs, he was also the first bowler to take a first-class wicket in the new country. Became
Khan Muhammad made it to the Salon (called Sri Lanka) team in the national team in 1949. It was a great achievement to take 14 wickets in two Tests.
When Salon visited Pakistan the following year, Khan spoke out against those representing both Pakistani universities and the national team. Later in the summer of 1950, the chairman of the cricket board, Justice AR Cornelis, decided to send four talented young men to train at a famous coaching school in London run by former England Test cricketer Alf Gower. Khan Mohammad was one of the four conscientious young players selected for the project, followed by Hanif Mohammad, Imtiaz Ahmed and Russian Dinshu.
The following year, in 1951, Khan Muhammad returned to England with the intention of settling there. Somerset had shown interest and were ready for a three-year qualifying period that would allow them to play regularly for the county. He took five important wickets in the match against South Africa, including his captain and star batsman Dudley Course and the opening pair of McGlue and Wyatt.
The call of the Pakistan Cricket Board changed Khan Muhammad’s plans. A strong side of the MCC was touring Pakistan in the winter of 1951 and if Pakistan did well against them, they are likely to get Test status. County Khan to keep the country before returning to Pakistan. In Lahore, in the first match of two unofficial Test matches, Khan Muhammad took 5 for 84 in the first innings of the draw. In the second unofficial Test in Karachi, Khan and Fazal were in poisonous form, leaving a strong MCC squad for just 123 in the first innings. Khan took three wickets in 45 overs and Wisden noted that “he blew the ball.” In the second innings, he performed better than 5 on a score of 88, as MCC was bowled out for 290 and Pakistan got a target of 285 runs. Pakistan won by four wickets and was included in the Test playing list based on that. Performance
Khan was an automatic selection for the Pakistan team that toured India in the winter of 1952 for his team’s inaugural Test series. He bowled Pakistan’s first ball in Test cricket in the opening Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground in New Delhi. After 19 runs, when he bowled Pankaj Rai on his legs, he became the first Pakistani wicket-taker in Test cricket. Then, after seven runs, Wono Mankid’s prize wicket was also bowled clean by Joe Khan. Tragedy struck now. Khan suffered a lengthy injury in the match and was significantly increased by 20 overs on the opening day. He was unable to participate further in the match and, in fact, refused the entire tour.
Pakistan’s next Test engagement was a tour of England in 1954. By this time Khan Muhammad had started playing league cricket in England. He joined the Lower House in the Lancashire League and his appearance for Pakistan on this tour was limited to the first two Tests and a few side matches. In the opening Test at Lord’s, he bowled his first ball to the legendary Lane Hutton, the classic Khan in swinger. Wet, rain-affected, Khan and Fazal continued to bowl without reducing England’s powerful batting line-up to 117 for nine. Khan took 5 wickets in 61 overs. In addition to Hutton, his victims included Peter May, Bill Edrich, Trevor Bailey and Godfrey Avon.
When India visited Pakistan in early 1955, Khan was in excellent shape. He played four out of five Tests, unfortunately missing an injury, a feature that has propelled him throughout his career. He scored 4 for 42 in the first innings of the first Test in Dhaka, 5 for 74 in the opening innings of the second Test in Bahawalpur, 4 for 79 in Peshawar, 4 in the first innings of India in the fourth Test and 72 in Karachi. 5 wickets in the first innings of the final Test of the series. His series total is 22 wickets at 15.86 which is the best on both sides.
In the winter of 1955, New Zealand visited Pakistan and played three Tests. Khan Mohammad played in all three and really came into his own in the third Test in Dhaka. The first three days of the test were over due to rain. On the fourth day, on the wicket with a light damp coir meeting, Khan was almost impractical. New Zealand were bowled out for just 70, with Khan scoring 21 for six. In their second innings, New Zealand fought hard to survive, reaching 69 for 6 in 90 overs when the stumps were drawn for the match. In this innings, Khan Mohammad had 2 wickets for 30 overs, 19 employees and 20 runs.
Just a few months after the New Zealand series, Pakistan hosted the MCC team for a three-month tour that included four unofficial Tests. Khan Muhammad played in the first three of them. Dhaka hosted the second unofficial Test and it once again became another top-performing performance by Khan. He took wickets for 84 wickets in the first innings and then scored 5 for 55 in the second innings and made the match statistics 12 for 139. Pakistan won the match by an innings. In the third unofficial Test in Peshawar, Khan took five for 65 in the second innings to give Pakistan another victory. His number in this series was 19 wickets for 16.5 runs.
In October 1956, the Australian team stopped in Karachi for a solo Test. Bowling 53.1 overs without any change, Fazal and Khan Mohammad bowled out Australia for 80 runs. Khan took four wickets in his second over. In their second out, Khan and Fazal again shared all 10 wickets and bowled 88.5 overs between them, Khan took 3 wickets for 69 runs. Overall, the fast bowler bowled 142 overs out of 163 sent by Pakistan. All 20 wickets of Australia fell yesterday. It was an extraordinary performance and it defeated Pakistan by 9 wickets in the tour of Austria.
During this Test, Khan Mohammad also reached the milestone of 50 Test wickets in his 11th Test, which was the fastest for a Pakistani bowler at that time. The record remained unbeaten until 1990 when Waqar Younis reached the milestone in just 10 Tests. Khan Mohammad had now played 11 Tests and took 52 wickets at an average of just 17.98.
Khan was selected for the Pakistan team to tour the West Indies in 1957-58. He suffered injuries for most of the tour and played only two Tests, including the Kingston Test, where the Sobers set a world record of 365 not out and scored 790 for three in the West Indies. Khan bowled in 54 overs but lost the wicket. Khan Muhammad’s international career came to an end at the end of the West Indies series. He took 54 wickets for 23.92 runs each.
After retirement, Khan took coaching assignments in Canada and Sri Lanka. He also conducted training camps in Pakistan, especially for fast bowlers. One such camp in 1984 was attended by a young man, Wasim Akram. Khan Mohammad remained associated with the National Cricket Board in other managerial capacities and managed some of the junior national teams.
He spent most of his later life in London, where he ran a travel agency. She died in 2009 of prostate cancer.
Dr. Salman Faridi is a senior surgeon, poet, sports aficionado and an interesting reader with a personal collection of more than 7000 books. [email protected]