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Muslim cricketers played for India
By AN Shibli

Indian Muslims have tried tried their best in every field of life and have done very good job to shape a proud India. In every sport Muslim players, whoever got the chance performed well and helped India to win many major tournaments and trophies and captured good positions in different sports.

In cricket very small number of Muslims got chance to represent India at international level. Among them Mohammed Azharuddin is the most successful cricketer. He is one of the best batsmen India ever produced. Born on 8Feb, 1963 in Hyderabad, Azhar made his test debut against England at Calcutta in 1984-85 series and hit 110 runs and became only eighth Indian to do so. This inning was followed by 105 at Madras and 122 at Kanpur. He is the only player in over 125 years of test cricket to score centuries in three consecutive tests. He is the only Indian to score a century in one session of a day’s play, he moved from 59 to 162 between lunch and tea on the third day of the second test against England in 1990. His highest test score is 199 which he scored against Srilanka at Kanpur in 1986-87. He is the most successful Indian Captain. Under his captaincy, India won many series.

Azhar was very successful in one-day cricket also. He is only the second cricketer in the world to score more than 9000 runs. He holds the record of highest number of appearances, highest number of catches and highest number of fifties in one-day cricket. India won majority of one-day tournaments under Azhar’s captaincy.

Mohammed Nisar is among those cricketers who represented India in its very first test in 1932 against England. It is believed that he was the fastest Indian bowler. Born on 8 January 1910 in Hoshiarpur, Mohammad Nisar holds the record of bowling very first ball in test for India including very first to claim wicket and claiming five wickets in an inning. In total he played six tests and took 25 wickets including three hauls of five wickets with 5 for 90 as his best. He played all his six tests against England. He died on 11 March 1963.

Syed Nazeer Ali and Syed Wazir Ali were brothers. Both played in very fist test of India in 1932. Born on June 8, 1906 in Jalandhar, Nazeer Ali played only two tests, scored 30 runs and took 4 wickets. His brother, Wazir Ali, who was born on 15 September 1903, played seven tests. In total he scored 237 runs with 42 as his best.

Jahangir Khan was a fast bowler. He also played against England in 1932, which was the inaugural test of India. He played four tests and all against England and scored 39 runs and claimed 4 wickets.

Syed Abid Ali was a right arm medium pace bowler. He made his debut in 1967 against Australia. Born on 9 October 1941, Abid Ali played 29 test matches in all and captured 47 wickets. As a batsman he scored 1018 runs with 81 as his highest. He was an integral part in India’s first test win over West Indies in 1970-71. He also played in one-day cricket matches. He played 5 one-day internationals and scored 93 runs including 70 as his best. He captured 7 wickets in one-day cricket.

Salim Durrani was famous for hitting sixes on public demand. An aggressive batsman who was also a fine spinner, he was born in Kabul on 11December 1934. He made his debut in 1959 against Australia. He played 29 tests in all, scored 1202 runs including a hundred (104) against West Indies at Port of Spain. He also captured 75 wickets including three hauls of 5 or more wickets in an inning.

Dilawar Hussain was a wicket-keeper-batsman. He made his debut against England in 1933-34 at Calcutta. In total he played three tests, all against England and scored 254 runs including three half-centuries with 59 as his best. After partition he migrated to Pakistan where he died on 28August 1967.

Jamshed Irani was a wicket-keeper. He played only two tests for India and dismissed 7 batsmen.

Arshad Ayub was a good spinner. But due to his failure on certain occasions he could not play for long. He played 13 tests, scored 257 runs and captured 41 wickets including three hauls of five wickets in an inning. He played 32 one-day matches after making his debut against West Indies in 1987 and claimed 31 wickets.

Farrukh Engineer was one of the best wicket-keepers of the world. Born on 25 February 1938 in Bombay, he made his debut in 1961-62. In all he played 46 tests, scored 2611 runs including 2 centuries and 16 half-centuries. He dismissed 72 batsmen behind the wicket. He also played 5 one-day internationals and scored 114 runs including 54 as his highest.

Rashid Ghulam Mohammed Patel played only one test and one one-day game for India.

Syed Mustafa Hussain Kirmani was the best wicket-keeper of India. He was also a good batsman. Born on 29 December 1949, he holds the record for highest dismissals by an Indian wicket-keeper and also for having played highest number of tests for India as a wicket-keeper.

He made his debut in 1975 against the West Indies. In all he played 88 tests for India, scored 2759 runs (highest by any Indian wicket-keeper) including two centuries and 12 half-centuries. He dismissed 198 batsmen behind the wickets. He also played in 49 one-day matches, scored 373 runs and dismissed 36 players as a wicket-keeper.

Syed Mushtaq Ali made his debut in 1934 against England. In all he played 11 tests, scored 612 runs including 2 centuries and 3 half-centuries. He scored 112 runs as his best. He also bowled 378 balls and captured 3 wickets.

Amir Elahi, Abdul Hafeez Kardar and Gul Mohammed played for both India and Pakistan. Ameer Elahi made his debut against Australia in 1947 and scored 17 runs. Then he migrated to Pakistan and played 5 more tests. Kardar made his debut for India in 1946 against England. He played 3 tests for India and scored 80 runs with 43 as his best. After partition he became the first captain of Pakistan. Gul Mohammed made his debut against England in 1946. In all he played 8 tests for India including 5 tests against Pakistan. After his migration to Pakistan he played one test for Pakistan against Australia in 1956.

Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi was the first Muslim cricketer who captained India. He played only three tests for India and led the team in all. He had the distinction to play for England also. He scored 55 runs for India. One of the finest sports persons who also played hockey for India at international level, he died on 5 January 1952, the 11th birthday of his son Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi.

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, who is commonly known as Junior Pataudi, holds the record of youngest captain of the world. He played 46 tests for India and scored 2793 runs including a 203 (not out) as his highest score. He made his debut against England in 1961. He suffered a car accident in which he lost an eye and stopped playing cricket. In 1974 he returned to cricket and led the team. Under his captaincy India won 9 tests.

Abbas Ali Baig made his debut against England in 1959 and scored a century (112), thus became the first Muslim cricketer to do so. He played 10 tests for India and scored 428 runs in all including one century and two half centuries.

Ghulam Ahmad is the second Muslim to captain India after Pataudi Senior. He was India’s first world class off-spinner. He made his debut against West Indies at Calcutta in 1948-49. In all he played 22 tests for India, captured 68 wickets including the best of 7 for 49. He died on 28 October 1998 in Hyderabad.

Ghulam Ahmad Hasan played only one test for India and scored 6 and 1 respectively. Baqa Jeelani also played only one test for India and scored 22 runs. K.C. Ibrahim played in 4 tests and scored 169 runs. His highest score was 85 runs.

Syed Saba Karim a wicket-keeper-batsman played in limited matches. He played a lot of good innings for Bengal. But in international cricket he could not get a chance on proper time. Selectors were not kind for him.

Mohammad Kaif of Uttar Pradesh and Wasim Jaffar of Maharashtra also played for India. Both are very good batsmen but they could not do much. That is why this time they are out of squad but they will make their entry in playing eleven. Both are doing very well in domestic cricket. Kaif is the son of former railways cricketer Mohammad Tariff. He came into limelight when as Vice-Captain of the ‘India under-15’ team for 1996, in Lambard Challenge Cup in England he averaged over 90 runs and was voted the best batsman of the championship.

In the present Indian squad Zaheer Khan is doing very well. For his good bowling he was declared Man of the Match in only his 6th match. Hailing from Mumbai, he had to move to Baroda to get his break in first class domestic cricket. In domestic cricket he proved himself a dependable player and got a chance in national squad. He is also a good hitter. Nobody can forget his four consecutive sixes against Zimbabwe. On his performance, Indian captain Saurav Ganguly had said, “He is already my trump-card. Whenever I am under pressure I give the ball to Zaheer.”
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