KARACHI: Cricketing legend Hanif Mohammad died at the Aga Khan Hospital here on Thursday, a hospital spokesman confirmed.
The 81-year-old, who was suffering from lung cancer for which he underwent surgery in London in 2013, was shifted to the ventilator a couple of days ago after his health deteriorated.
Earlier today, reports of the cricketer’s passing away had surfaced after his son, Shoaib Mohammad, was ‘misinformed’ by doctors about his father’s death.
Shoaib Mohammad told reporters that his father’s heartbeat was faint and the family mistakenly believed that he had passed away but that he is still breathing and on the ventilator.
Hanif was admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital three weeks ago after he faced breathing problems, son Shoaib Mohammad told Dawn.com on Jul 31.
The Little Master’s namaz-e-janazah will be offered on Friday at Masjid-e-Noumani, Al-Hilal Society Karachi, Shoaib informed DawnNews.
‘He was a fighter’
Shezar Mohammad, Hanif’s grandson, while talking to DawnNews said: “My granddad was a fighter. The way he fought for his life today proves that. He loved me the most and used to sit hours with me so I could play computer games. He was my best friend.”
The man with nerves of steel
Born on Dec 21, 1934, in Junagarh, the ‘Little Master’ played 55 Test matches for Pakistan between 1952 and 1969, averaging a fine 43.98 comprising twelve hundreds.
The right-handed batsman was one of the country’s early cricketers who played an integral role in Pakistan achieving Test status.
Pakistan was granted Test status after the team rode on Hanif’s invaluable 64 runs at the top-order to win a four-day first class contest against Marylebone Cricket Club, chasing down a daunting 288-run target at the Karachi Gymkhana cricket ground.
Regarded as the most compact batsman in the world during his playing days, Hanif could bowl with both arms. He also kept stumps at the competitive level at various occasions.
Hanif, a man with nerves of steel often weathered storms with his immaculate technique when Pakistan’s batting line-ups collapsed.
His phenomenal 16-hour-long 337 against West Indies at Bridgetown – which saved Pakistan from imminent defeat – will be always be alive in history books. It remains the longest innings in Test history and was the longest in all first-class cricket for over 40 years.
It was also the only Test match instance of a triple century in a team’s second innings until it was equaled by New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum against India in 2014.
In 1958-59, Hanif surpassed Sir Don Bradman’s record for the highest individual first-class innings. Hanif made 499 before being run out attempting his five hundredth run. This mark stood for more than 35 years before being surpassed by Brian Lara in 1994.
In all, Hanif made 55 first-class centuries and finished with a strong career average of 52.32.
Hanif was named as Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968. In January 2009, Hanif, along with two other Pakistani players (Imran Khan and Javed Miandad) were part of the inaugural batch of 55 inductees into the ICC’s Hall of Fame.