In today’s Biography section, we’re going to discuss the life of Mushtaq Mohammad who was one of the finest cricketers produced by the country.
Mushtaq was born on the 22nd of November in 1943 and he was amongst the few players who were born before the independence of Pakistan. Mushtaq was a highly talented all-rounder and he hails from the family of cricketers in Pakistan as four of his brothers played for Pakistan alongside him.
Early Life and Career:
Mushtaq Mohammad was born in the Junagadh state of British-India in 1943 and he started playing cricket at a very young age. He was only 13 when he made his first-class debut. Also, it wasn’t an ordinary debut because he announced himself as a proper all-rounder in his very first competitive match.
On his first-class debut, Mushtaq played a knock of handy 87 runs and also went on to take a five-for. He claimed 5 wickets for just 28 runs on his first-class debut and started to make an impact straight away.
Mushtaq Mohammad made his Test match debut in 1959 on the 26th of March against the West Indies. He went on to represent the Men in Green in 57 Test matches and 10 One-Day International matches. Mushtaq Mohammad played for Pakistan for almost two decades between 1959 and 1979.
He was a right-handed batsman and a very handy leg-break bowler. He was not only good with the bat but he could turn matches with his bowling as well. Mushtaq Mohammad was a genuine all-rounder and his cricketing skills had no match at his time. Mushtaq Mohammad is considered as one of the most successful all-rounders Pakistan has ever produced.
He also captained the national side in nineteen Test matches. He also holds the record for scoring a Test hundred and also getting a five-wicket haul in the same match on two different occasions.
Mushtaq Mohammad also tried his hand at coaching and he went to the United States of America (USA) to coach their national cricket team. However, he returned back to Pakistan to join the commentary team of the Pakistan Television Network.
First-Class & County Career:
As we have discussed before, Mushtaq Mohammad began his cricketing career at a very young age of 13 when he played first-class cricket for the first time.
He played for Karachi and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) at home in domestic cricket and also represented Northamptonshire County Cricket Club from 1966 to 1977. He used to play regularly for the English county and was a prolific run-scorer for his side.
He scored more than 1,000 runs in 1967 and 1971 and he used to stay in the United Kingdom to play for his County side after the conclusion of the international fixtures of Pakistan.
He captained his County team Northamptonshire between 1975 and 1977 and led his side to title victory in the year 1976 in the Gillette Cup. Gillette Cup was the first County Competition at that time.
However, after spending successful few years with Northants, Mushtaq Mohammad resigned under some controversies as he claimed that his future plans were not made clear by the Club and the dressing rumors also suggested that the management of the Northants wanted the former captain Jim Watts to be reappointed. In 1978, Mushtaq resigned from his County team’s captaincy and never played for them again.
In his illustrious career of 502 first-class matches, Mushtaq scored 72 tons and was the first batsman from Pakistan to score 25,000 first-class runs. He ended his first-class career with more than 31,000 runs and half of them were scored for Northamptonshire. He also played an innings of 303 in his first-class career.
Test Career & Achievements:
Mushtaq Mohammad was a natural talent that got its opportunity at the age of just 15 against the mighty West Indians. He could only score 18 runs in his first Test match. In his 6th Test match, he scored his first Test ton against India at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi.
He was just 17 at the time of his first Test hundred and the record was broken after 40 years by Mohammad Ashraful of Bangladesh.
In early 1973, he scored 121 against Australia in Sydney and 201 against New Zealand in his next match a month later. In the latter game, he became the only cricket player to score a double century and take five wickets in a Test match other than Denis Atkinson. At an average of 86.33, he finished the year with 777 runs.
He led Pakistan to a 2-0 victory over India in 1978–79 when the two countries played their first series against each other in eighteen years. He was the youngest person at the time to play Test cricket.