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Published in the 1-15 Jan 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Irfan Pathan: 27th Muslim to play test for India
By AN Shibli

After a world record performance in the recently concluded ACC under–19 championship held in Pakistan, Irfan Pathan got a chance to play test cricket for India. He made his debut against Australia in the second test in which India registered a historic victory against Australia in Australia after a gap of 22 years. Born on 27 October 1984, Irfan Pathan created a world record against Bangladesh at Lahore in a match of under-19 championship by claiming nine wickets. He became the first bowler in the history of limited over cricket to do so. In the same match he also batted well and scored 34 runs. Today, he has emerged as one of the best bowlers in India. This time he played only one test and claimed one wicket. Irfan Pathan is the 27th Muslim who has played tests cricket for India. 

In the first cricket team of India in 1932 there were many Muslim players. Mohammed Nisar was one of them. He represented India in the first test against England in 1932. He is considered as one of the fastest bowlers India ever produced. Born on January 8, 1910 in Hoshiarpur, Mohd Nisar holds many records in bowling. He is the first bowler to bowl for India, first to claim a wicket for India and also the first to claim five wickets in an innings. In his career he played 6 tests and claimed 25 wickets including five wickets in an innings on three occasions. He died on March 11, 1963.

Like Mohd Nisar, Jahangir Khan was a fast bowler. He also played in the first test of India in 1932 against England. He altogether played four tests and all were against England. He claimed four wickets and scored 39 runs. Syed Nazir Ali and Syed Wazir Ali were brothers and they were members of India’s inaugural test in 1932.Nazir Ali played only two tests, scored 30 runs and claimed four wickets. Wazir Ali played seven tests. He scored 237 runs with 42 as his best. Dilawar Hussain, who was a wicket keeper, made his debut against England in 1933-34 at Kolkata. In total he played three tests for India and with the help of three half centuries scored 254 runs. After partition he migrated to Pakistan and died on August 28, 1960.

Syed Abid Ali was a right arm medium pace bowler. He made his debut against Australia in 1967 He played 29 tests for India in his career and took 47 wickets. He was also a good batsman. Salim Durrani was famous for hitting sixes on public demand. He was an aggressive batsman as well as good spinner. He made his debut against Australia in 1959. He played 29 tests for India and scored 1202 runs including a hundred against West Indies. As a bowler he took 57 wickets including five or more wickets on three occasions. 
Syed Mushtaq Ali who was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Wisden, made his debut against England in 1934. He played 11 tests and scored 612 runs including two hundreds and three half centuries. His highest score was 112. As a bowler he captured three wickets. Jamshed Irani was a wicket keeper who played only two tests for India and dismissed three batsmen behind the wickets. 

Arshad Ayub of Hyderabad was a spinner. He played 13 tests for India in which he scored 257 runs and claimed 41 wickets. On three occasions he took five wickets in an innings.

Syed Mujtaba Hussain Kirmani, at present chief selector of Indian Cricket team, was the best wicket keeper of India. He holds the record of highest number of tests played and highest dismissals by any Indian wicketkeeper. He made his debut against West Indies in 1975. In total he played 88 tests and scored 2759 runs which is another highest by any Indian wicketkeeper. Behind the wickets he dismissed 198 batsman.

Amir Elahi, Abdul Hafeez Kardar and Gul Mohammed are players who after partition also played for Pakistan. Amir Elahi made his debut against Australia in 1947and scored 17 runs. after migration he played five more tests for Pakistan. Kardar made his debut for India against England in 1946 . He played three tests for India and scored 80 runs. After migration to Pakistan he became the first captain of Pakistani cricket team. Gul Mohammed also made his debut against England in 1946. He played eight tests for India. After partition he migrated to Pakistan and played one test for Pakistan.

Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi are one of those father-son duo who played cricket for their country. Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi was the first Muslim player who became the captain of the cricket team. He played only three tests and was captain in all three tests. His son Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi holds the world record of being the youngest captain of the world. He played 46 tests for India and scored 2793 runs including a double century. After making his debut against England in 1961 he suffered a car accident in which he lost one eye. In 1974 he returned to cricket and led the team. Gulam Ahmad was the second Muslim player who captained for India. He made his debut against West Indies at Kolkata in 1948-49, played 22 tests and took 68 wickets as a good off-spinner.

Abbas Ali Baig made his debut against England in 1959 and scored hundred on his debut test. He played 10 tests and scored 428 runs with the help of a century and two half centuries. Gulam Ahmad Hasan and Baqa Jeelani played only one test for India. K C Ibrahim played in four tests and scored 169 runs.

Mohammed Azharuddin is one of the best players India ever produced. He holds many records as a batsman and as the finest fielder. He holds the world record of three consecutive hundred in his first three tests. In total he played 99 tests and scored 6215 runs with the help of 22 centuries and 21 half centuries. His highest score is 199 that he scored against Sri Lanka at Kanpur in 1986-87. As the finest fielder he took 105 catches. Under his captaincy India won 14 tests which is a maximum by any Indian captain. 

Wasim Jaffer one of the best opening batsman of India played seven tests for India and scored 261 runs. Mohammed Kaif the stylish batsman who is a permanent member of the oneday team has played 4 tests and scored 141 runs. Syed Saba Karim played only one test for India and in his only inning he scored 15 runs.

In the current Indian test team Zaheer Khan is the main bowler. He is doing very well as a strike bowler. Till now he has played 28 test for India. Because of his superb bowling he is the integral part of the team.

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