Bazid Khan © AFP
Bazid Khan was born on March 25, 1981. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the career of the man who kept the torch of one of cricket’s most famous dynasties going.
Bazid Khan was a star even before he had played his first Test: his grandfather Jahangir Khan and father Majid Khan had played Tests for India and Pakistan respectively (Majid had also led Pakistan); two of his uncles, Imran Khan and Javed Burki, had also led Pakistan. All four were Cambridge Blues in cricket.
Jahangir Khan’s brother-in-law, Baqa Jilani had played for India as well; Majid’s elder brother Asad Jahangir had played First-Class cricket; Jahangir’s uncle Salam-ud-din and Salam-ud-din’s son Masood Salahuddin had played First-Class cricket as well, as had Jahangir Khan’s nephews, Javed, Fawad, and Humayun Zaman.
Given the legacy it was only obvious that Bazid would become a fine cricketer. Having honed the solid, old-fashioned defence and unwavering temperament, Bazid earned recognition as a first-rate domestic batsman in Pakistan, having scored 7,647 First-Class runs at 36.41 with 15 hundreds and 3,983 List A runs at an impressive 44.25 with five hundreds. His exposure to international cricket, however, has been limited despite his not-too-bad display in the Test and five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) he had played.
Born in Lahore, Bazid was destined to inherit the legacy of the Khan Dynasty — one of the grandest in the history of the sport. Considered a child prodigy, he broke into the Islamabad Under-19 side at an age of 14, and scored 68 and 96 in his first two innings. He got picked for Pakistan Under-15s for the Lombard Under-15 Challenge Cup. At 15 he made his debut for Pakistan Under-19s.
He was probably selected a tad too early, as his performances at Under-19 level never met the high expectations Pakistan cricket had of him. He did score 65, adding 177 with Abdul Razzaq for the third wicket, as Pakistan Under-19s chased down 289 against Australia Under-19s at Shepparton in the 1998 Under-19 World Cup. His only hundred, however, came in the same tournament against Denmark Under-19s.
He had made his First-Class debut before the World Cup for Lahore City against Multan at Sahiwal. He scored 13. When the West Indians came along later that year, he played for Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s XI at Rawalpindi against the tourists, and the 17-year old made a gutsy 49 against Ian Bishop, Mervin Dillon, and Franklyn Rose. After his return from the World Cup, he made his List A debut for Lahore City at Gaddafi against, of all teams, Malaysia, scoring 88.
Bazid’s maiden First-Class hundred came for Pakistan Reserves against Peshawar: after Peshawar had set up 376. Imran Nazir and Taufeeq Umar added 207 for the first wicket. Bazid walked out at a comfortable 248 for two, added 153 with Ahmer Saeed, and eventually retired out for 119 to provide practice to other youngsters like Shoaib Malik.
It was the match against Rawalpindi in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy of 2000-01 that first established Bazid. After Lahore Blues were bowled out for 168 (Bazid scored 19) against Yasir Arafat and Shakeel Ahmed (whose figures read 8-4-7-4) Rawalpindi acquired a slender 11-run lead. Bazid walked out at 30 for three, and saw his side slump to 95 for five.
There was some support from Shabbir Khan, but it was Bazid who controlled the innings. Shakeel was turning the ball viciously, but Bazid was up to the challenge, thwarting him and scoring runs at the same time. He drove with panache, brought up his hundred, and when he eventually fell for 104 Lahore Blues were almost out of danger. Set to score 272, Rawalpindi collapsed for 155.
Bazid made his ODI debut in the opening match of the Paktel Cup against Zimbabwe at Multan. Some superb bowling from Tinashe Panyangara and Douglas Hondo under favourable conditions reduced Pakistan to six for three with Bazid holding one end up. Unfortunately, he was caught-behind for 12 off Panyangara shortly afterwards.
He got another opportunity in the same tournament, also against Zimbabwe — this time at Peshawar. Walking out after Yasir Hameed had fallen for a duck, he struggled against Panyangara and Hondo before the former trapped him leg-before for a ten-ball duck. He was subsequently dropped for seven months.
Bazid Khan was a prodigiously talented batsman, but couldn’t make it count in the international level © Getty Images
The magnum opus
It took close to two days to complete it, but it was well worth the effort. Bazid had walked out after half an hour in that Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match against Hyderabad. He lost Babar Naeem soon, but found an ally in Bilal Asad, and the pair added 141 in 93 minutes. When Naved Ashraf became the next wicket to fall he had added another 153 with Bazid for the fourth wicket — in only 113 minutes.
But Bazid had only started: he soon became the fifth Rawalpindi batsman to reach a double-hundred, and made the most of whatever support he received at the other end. He went past Asif Mahmood’s Rawalpindi record of 250, and then aimed for the coveted triple-hundred mark.
Wickets kept falling at the other end, but Iftikhar Anjum allowed Bazid to bat on; Bazid eventually became the first Rawalpindi batsman to score a triple-hundred. He reached the landmark in 433 balls and 532 minutes, and had hit 28 fours and four sixes. Anjum declared immediately afterwards with the score on 581 for eight: the unbeaten 300 remained Bazid’s career-best, and no one else in the innings managed to reach 70.
Hyderabad were bowled out for 275, and had a collapse towards the end: the match ended with Hyderabad on 209 for nine. Asked to bowl his off-breaks, Bazid picked up two for 23 — his career-best First-Class haul.
Bazid found form in Pakistan A’s tour of Sri Lanka in April 2005, scoring 128 at Kandy and 84 and 124 at Dambulla in three consecutive innings. He made it to the tour of West Indies that summer and top-scored with a career-best 66 in the third ODI at Gros Islet; Pakistan won by 22 runs and clean swept the series 3-0.
Then came the coveted Test cap at Kensington Oval. As he took field, Jahangir, Majid, and Bazid represented only the second instance of three generations of the same family playing Test cricket after George, Ron, and Dean Headley. After Brian Lara’s 130 and Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s 92 had propelled West Indies to 345, Fidel Edwards scythed through the Pakistani line-up, bowling them out for 144 on a fast surface; Bazid had scored nine before being caught-behind off Corey Collymore.
Chanderpaul then extended the lead to 572 with an emphatic 153 not out, and Bazid found himself walking out at one for two in the third over. He counterattacked with a vengeance before Collymore trapped him leg-before: his 25-ball cameo of 23 had included four fours. Pakistan later slumped to a 276-run defeat. Bazid never played another Test.
Bazid kept on playing in the domestic circuit for a few years with limited success till 2007-08. He started the season with a 122 for Khan Research Laboratories against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, but the purple patch came at the end of the season when he scored 172 for Federal Areas against Punjab, and followed it up with 170 and 100 against North-West Frontier Province.
His form got him back into the side for the third ODI in the home series against Bangladesh that season at Gaddafi. Batting at three, he scored a couple of runs before pushing one to Mashrafe Mortaza at mid-on and calling for a single. Salman Butt never responded, and Bazid was left stranded midway.
He was retained for the fourth ODI at Multan, where Bangladesh were bowled out for 210. Bazid walked out after Butt and Kamran Akmal had got Pakistan off to a flier; this time he took his time to settle down, scoring only 16 from his first 55 balls before clearing the fence over mid-wicket off Mohammad Mahmudullah.
The fifty came in 87 balls with a cut off Abdur Razzak for four, and three balls later he holed out to Shahadat Hossain for a 90-ball 51. Pakistan won comfortably, but Bazid never played for Pakistan again.
Back to domestic cricket
Bazid’s form waned after that (though he managed 558 runs in 2009-10 at 42.92 and 624 more the following season at 41.60). He has never played a First-Class match since November 2009, having scored 18 and 54 in his last outing for Khan Research Laboratories against Habib Bank Limited. He has also played Twenty20 matches (at domestic level), mostly for Islamabad Leopards, but with limited success.
(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)