Fazal Mehmood inducted to PCB ‘Hall of Fame’ posthumously

LAHORE: Fazal Mahmood, Pakistan cricket’s first superstar, was formally inducted to the PCB Hall of Fame posthumously when PCB Chief Executive Faisal Hasnain represented a commemoration cap to his daughter Shaista Mahmood and a plaque to his son Shahzad Mahmood in a ceremony that took place ahead of HBL Pakistan Super League 7 Eliminator 2 at the Gaddafi Stadium on Friday.

Fazal was the first Pakistan cricketer to be named among the Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year in 1955 following his heroics during the 1954 tour of England when he took 20 wickets in a four-Test rubber, including figures of six for 53 and six for 46 that helped Pakistan win The Oval Test by 24 runs.

A couple of years earlier and during Pakistan’s first tour to India as a Test nation in 1952, Fazal had picked five for 52 and seven for 42 that earned his side an innings and 43 runs victory in Lucknow. In the 1956 Test against Australia in Karachi, Fazal had figures of six for 34 and seven for 80 as Pakistan beat Ian Johnson’s Australia by nine wickets.

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Fazal’s varied swing and a mixture of leg-cutters were too much to handle for the West Indies as the maestro picked up 20 wickets in the 1957-58 series in the Caribbean and then followed up with 21 wickets in three Tests in the 1958-59 series at home.

Fazal, who took 139 wickets in 34 Tests, was bestowed with the President’s Pride of Performance Award – the highest national literary award of Pakistan – in 1958. In 2012, he was posthumously awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz – the second highest civilian award – in recognition of his services to Pakistan cricket, seven years after his passing on 30 May 2005.

PCB Chief Executive Faisal Hasnain: “It is an honour for me to formally induct Fazal Mahmood into the PCB Hall of Fame on behalf of the Pakistan Cricket Board. Fazal’s contributions to Pakistan cricket are unmatched. He sacrificed his Test selection for India and when he represented Pakistan after partition, he put Pakistan firmly on the world cricket map by producing successive match-winning performances against the top sides of that time.

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“It was Fazal’s persona, personality and stardom that inspired and attracted the subsequent generation of cricketers who not only went on to become the legends of the game, but also earned Pakistan priceless victories and success. It all started with Fazal.

“Fazal will always be remembered as an iconic cricketer who spearheaded Pakistan’s journey from a young Test playing nation into a world-beating side.”

Fazal’s son Shahzad Mahmood, in his comments, said, “Fazal Mahmood was the first real hero and star of Pakistan cricket. He always took pride in representing Pakistan in international cricket and fondly shared his memories from his playing days. Post retirement, he continued his association with Pakistan cricket and made meaningful contributions.

“On behalf of my family, I thank the Pakistan Cricket Board for honouring him and inducting him into the PCB Hall of Fame”, he further remarked.

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