LONDON: Pakistan great Mushtaq Mohammad paid tribute to a “thorough gentleman” in Alimuddin after the former Test opener died aged 81 in London after protracted illness on Thursday.
The youngest cricketer ever to make a first-class debut, Alimuddin was aged just 12 years and 73 days when he played for Rajasthan in the pre-partition Ranji Trophy.
He top-scored in his first innings, albeit with 13, and then was second top score in the second innings with 27.
Born in Ajmer on December 15, 1930, Alimuddin made his Test debut at Lord’s in 1954 during Pakistan’s first tour of England. He went on to play 25 Tests for Pakistan, scoring 1,091 runs at an average of just over 25 with two hundreds, including a best of 109 against England at Karachi in 1961/62.
He also faced the first ball bowled in an international match in Pakistan.
In his early years, he formed a stable opening pair with little master Hanif Mohammad. In the Karachi Test of 1962 he hit 109 against England.
Known for his solid technique. he was also a member of the team which defeated England at The Oval in 1954.
“I was very close to him,” Mohammad told AFP in a telephone call on Thursday. “When I was a kid he would take me to nets and watch matches with me. I owe him quite a lot.
“When I came to England (to play for Northamptonshire) he was still very close to me. I lived in Birmingham and he lived in Harrow, so whenever I came to London I would see him.
“He was a thorough gentleman as well as a great cricketer for Pakistan.”
“Alimuddin was my senior partner and I learnt a great deal from him,” former Pakistan captain, Hanif Mohammad, a close friend of Alim said on hearing the sad news.
“It is a sad day for cricket because he served Pakistan with great deal of honor and dignity. We met last year at Lords in London during a Test match and I enjoyed his company,” he recalled.
Reminiscing about the times when Alimuddin played in the Raji Trophy, Hanif said that he used to go with his elder brothers Raees Mohammad and Wazir Mohammad to Junagadh to watch the late legend in action.
Speaking about his personality, he said, ” Alim remained well-dressed throughout his life and was a dedicated cricketer and modest person.”
Former Pakistan captain and a legend himself, Javed Miandad paid glowing tributes Alimuddin for his services to cricket and for his kindness towards junior cricketers.
“Because he was in PIA in London, he always helped and patronised cricketers,” he said,”Alim remained in cricketing circles throughout his life and used to arrange cricket matches,” he added.
First class cricketer Asif Ahmed, who played under Alimuddin recalled, “Alimuddin sahab always supported youngsters which helped them to excel. Because of his leadership and performance by the youngsters, Karachi Blues won the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in 1962.”
Alimuddin, after retiring as a player, moved to London and worked at Heathrow Airport for Pakistan International Airlines.
Two of his brothers, Azimuddin and Salimuddin, also played first-class cricket.