ICL: Indian Cricket League

Pakistani player Masood Salahuddin dies at age 90

Written by Kashif Aziz on March 24th, 2006   (400 views)

Masood Salahuddin, the oldest living first-class cricketer in Indo-Pakistan, breathed his last on Tuesday night, after a brief illness in Lahore at the age of 90 years 88 days.

Masood Salahuddin, who was born in Meerut (Merath) in the Indian United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) on December 24, 1915, was a contemporary of the great Indian fast bowler Mohammed Nissar. Masood, in fact, was one of his understudies when he was just 20 years old.

After the creation of Pakistan, Masood continued to live in Lahore where he was employed with the Pakistan Railways in a senior position. He played first-class cricket until the end of the 1958-59 season, when he was already into his 40s.

He also earned name and fame as a cricket administrator in Pakistan, serving briefly as a Test and first-class umpire also. In 1954, he was the Pakistan team’s assistant manager to Syed Fida Hussain on its historic tour of England. In 1971, he went to England again as the team manager.

After having played his first Ranji Trophy matches in India in 1934-35, Masood was chosen for India in two unofficial ‘Test’ matches against Jack Ryder’s Australians in 1935-36. At the Lahore Gymkhana (Bagh-e-Jinnah) Ground, after not being called to bowl in the first innings, he shared the new ball with Nissar in the second and took one wicket, that of opener Wendell Bill, clean bowled for 5.

In the next ‘Test’ at the Chepauk in Madras, Masood didn’t open the bowling — the more experienced Nissar and Amar Singh did — but took one wicket, that of Ronald Morrisby in the second innings. India won both ‘Tests’, by 68 and 33 runs, respectively.

Just last month, Indian journalists visiting Pakistan had found that “Masood Salahuddin was hale and hearty at the age of 90. Despite his age, the lanky Salahuddin looks fit as a fiddle and walks straight. The only trace of age is the reading glasses that he wears”.

World War II terminated Masood’s promising career. Unusually for a fast-medium bowler, Salahuddin fielded at slips where he also had the opportunity to gauge Nissar’s speed.

Salahuddin, who played first-class cricket for the United Provinces, was 20 when his name came up among players to be selected for the Indian team that toured England in 1936. “I was in the reckoning for India’s tour of England in 1936, but eventually Shute Bannerjee was preferred over me,” said Salahuddin recently.

“I was probably faster than Bannerjee, who was more experienced than me. I used to move the ball both ways with equal ease.”

He, however, did not believe there was anything like reverse swing. “I don’t believe there is anything like reverse swing. How can you bowl reverse swing with action of in-swing, and vice versa?”

When World War II started, he was holidaying in India during a break from studying architecture at London’s University College. “My peak years were lost to World War,” rued Salahuddin.

Masood was a son of Khan Salamuddin, one of India’s first big-name fast bowlers who went on the inuagural tour of England back in 1911, Salahuddin was related to the famous cricket Khan clan of Pakistan and was a cousin of Arif Ali Khan Abbasi.

Masood’s father was an uncle of Dr Jahangir Khan, former All India Test cricketer, father of Majid Khan and grandfather of Bazid Khan.

Masud Salahuddin continued playing first-class cricket in independent Pakistan. He represented as well as captained the Railways from 1953-54 to 1958-59 and used the new ball quite effectively.

Source: The News

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