Karachi: The country’s top cricketers,sportspersons and high profile personalities attended the funeral of Pakistan’s former captain and legendary batsman Hanif Muhammad with many lamenting that sporting greats were not given the recognition they deserved during their lifetime.
Hanif, 81, passed away on Thursday at a local hospital after a long battle with lung cancer and other related complications. The funeral was attended by former captains Javed Miandad, Wasim Bari, Saeed Anwar and Moin Khan, squash legend Jahangir Khan, hockey Olympians Hanif Khan, Islahuddin Siddique and Samiullah among others. Government dignitaries and ministers were also present at the funeral held yesterday near the former captain’s home.
“Hanif Muhammad was the greatest cricket brain I have come across. He was a cricket genius who did wonders for Pakistan,” Miandad told the media. “Unfortunately in our country we don’t honour and recognise our greats during their lifetime. What is the use of honoring them after they are gone,” he said. Hanif’s brother Mushtaq Muhammad, also a former Pakistan captain, said that his elder brother was not only a great cricketer but also a wonderful human being.
“He was more like a father to us and we all learnt our cricket from him. He taught us a lot and he is gone now. I don’t think the void will ever be filled,” a sobbing Mushtaq, who flew down from London, said. He said that Hanif had been one of the pillars of Pakistan cricket in its formative years and should be remembered for his achievements. Hanif was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013 and went to London for surgery and treatment and returned home well but his condition deteriorated in time as the cancer had spread with time.
He was admitted to hospital on July 30 with respiratory complications which eventually led to his passing away. The former great was a member of Pakistan’s first touring Test squad that went to India in 1954/55 and went on to play 55 Tests, scoring a memorable 337 runs against the West Indies in 1957/58. It remains the longest innings in Test history and stood as the longest in all first-class cricket for over 40 years. Jahangir Khan said that Hanif had always worked tirelessly to help and promote sports and sportspersons.
“Whether it was cricket, hockey, squash or tennis when he was in PIA he always backed us and we learnt from him. His death is a big loss to Pakistan sports,” he said. PTI
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