Pakistan great Mushtaq Mohammad paid tribute to a ‘thorough gentleman’ in Alimuddin after the former Test opener died aged 81 in London on Thursday.
The youngest cricketer 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 the highest run-getter in the second with 27.
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 was the best batsman on either side in Pakistan’s first home series, against India in 1954-55, but he rarely found his form thereafter, losing his place in the West Indies, before hitting back with a Test-best 109 and 53 against England at Karachi in 1961-62.
Alimuddin was also the first batsman to score a hundred at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi against India, in a low-scoring match in 1955.
He also faced the first ball bowled in an international match in Pakistan.
“I was very close to him,” said Mohammad. “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, 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.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2012.
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