Home > Features > Moments in history >

Nezam Hafiz: The only cricketer to lose his life in the 9/11 attacks

Nezam Hafiz: The only cricketer to lose his life in the 9/11 attacks

Nezam Hafiz played for Guyana and USA. He lost his life during the attacks on September 11, 2001. (Photo courtesy: 911memorial.org)

The Guyanese Nezam Hafiz had passed away on September 11, 2001. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the only First-Class cricketer whose life was claimed by the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York City.

It was a day like any other in New York City. Nezam Hafiz was early to work (he was always early to work: he was brought up in a household like that). He was there, inside the Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. office on the 94th Floor of Tower One of World Trade Centre. They never got to know what he was doing when the aircraft crashed into the building; they will never get to know.

Nezam Ahmed Hafiz is the only cricketer to have been killed by the infamous attack on World Trade Centre on September 9, 2001.

The man

Had he made it big he would probably have made a name as one of the most stylish cricketers around. He played hard — but was seldom spotted in dirty cricket attire; nobody had a permission to touch Hafiz’s hair, and he always smelled of more cologne than was needed.

As his ex-roommate Carl Hooper reminisced: “He’d [Hafiz] go into the bath and, man, he’d be there for half an hour. He’d come out and he had these black shorts, boxers, on, and he would stand in front of the mirror and there was this little curl he had at the front of his hair, just a little curl going, a little wave going, and he would spend minutes just trying to fix it right.”

The career

Born on April 21, 1969, in Rose Hall, Hafiz had taken to cricket at a very early age. He made his debut against the Leeward Islands Under-19s and scored 66 in the next match against Windward Islands Under-19s, both at Kingston. He batted at three against Trinidad and Tobago Under-19s at Spanish Town; the number three in the opposition was a certain Brian Lara.

After a delightful 119 against Leeward Islands at Kensington Oval he was selected for Demerara for the highly anticipated Guyana derby against Berbice: Hafiz’s maiden First-Class match was washed out. He played three matches for Guyana that season and played on till 1990-91 before moving to the United States next season. Before leaving he donated most of his cricket kit to Malteeones Cricket Club — his old club — in Demerara.

He went on to play a Red Stripes Cup match for United States of America (USA)  against Leeward Islands but could not bat due to an injury he picked up while fielding that resulted in five stitches. In the summer of 2000 he went on a tour of England where he scored a 70-ball 58 with nine fours and two sixes against Minor Counties at Stone. He did play one more match for USA — against Cayman Islands at King City later that year.

However, he was strongly associated with the American Cricket Society [ACS]; he played for them in the Commonwealth Cricket League [CCL]; he earned a name as an improviser with the bat and a keen runner between the wickets. During his tenure ACS won CCL seven out of nine times. He went on to lead ACS, and was subsequently selected as an all-CCL captain in New York’s Inter-League Tournament.

In 2001, Hafiz was named the vice-captain for an USA tour to Canada. With USA taking strides in international cricket (they qualified for ICC Champions Trophy in 2004) Hafiz was one of the contenders for the captain’s spot.

It was not to happen, though.

Instead, if you go to Panel N-6 of the North Pool you will come across his name. He is just one of the 2,983 names in the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Centre site. They have renamed his residence at South Ozone Park in Liberty Avenue, Queens as Nezam Hafiz Villa.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Colombo

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

More

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

AB de Villiers: Disappointed with defeat in Australia

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 3rd ODI at Dhaka

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs New Zealand, 3rd Test at Sharjah, Day 1: Shan Masood dismissed for 12; Pakistan 44/1

Don Bradman vs Clarrie Grimmett — how did The Don fare against the craftiest leggie of his era

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15: Top 5 performances of the tournament

Phillip Hughes injury: Spare a thought for Sean Abbott

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 India India tour of Australia 2014-15 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Live Cricket Score Sri Lanka vs England 1st ODI at Colombo

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 3rd ODI Dhaka: Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque notch up 50-run partnership

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 3rd ODI Dhaka: Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque begin cautiously

Wriddhiman Saha’s performance in the 1st Test at Brisbane could make or break his career

Mohammad Aamer’s return to Pakistan team not final as yet, says PCB chief

Quinton de Kock equals record for most centuries before the age of 22

England tour of Sri Lanka 2014: Stats overview of past encounters

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: New Zealand’s inspired performance in 2nd Test serves important lesson to non-Asian countries

Don Bradman vs Clarrie Grimmett — how did The Don fare against the craftiest leggie of his era

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15: Top 5 performances of the tournament

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

Bigg Boss 8 Highlights: Sonali Raut’s greed ruins Praneet Bhat’s opportunity to meet his girlfriend

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Indian-American Singer Dixi Patel’s Journey with Music Helps her Excel in Life

Revealed — number of calories in different types of milk

ISL 2014: Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone could attend Indian Super League semi-final if Atletico de Kolkata qualify

What was Abhishek Bachchan’s T-shirt doing on Priyamani’s bed?

Week by Week Pregnancy Guide – Week 27 of your pregnancy

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here