Saeed Anwar, born September 6, 1968, was one of the greatest opening batsmen produced by Pakistan. Arunabha Sengupta lists 15 relatively unknown facts about the destroyer with silken grace.

Saeed Anwar’s blistering strokeplay is remembered by all who had the privilege to watch him. Few batsmen combined silken grace and brutality like this Pakistani left-hander. However, some facets of his life and career may be relatively unknown. Here are 15 such factoids which are not so readily recalled about the southpaw.

1. Anwar, born in 1968, spent some of his childhood years in Tehran. His father, an engineer, had moved there from Karachi in 1973.

2. In 1977, Anwar’s father decided to move to Saudi Arabia, mainly due to the political climate of Iran. Nine-year-old Anwar was sent back to Karachi and lived there with his grandparents.

3. Anwar’s father was a gifted club cricketer who hit the ball hard. According to the batsman, he had once driven a ball that had cleared almost two grounds.

4. Anwar perfected his batting style and technique in the confined quarters of a garage. Bowling to him, with a tennis ball covered with tape from a 14-yard distance, would be a friend from the locality who later kept wickets for Pakistan– Rashid Latif.

5. Anwar first played for Malir Gymkhana as a spinner and a No 9 batsman.

6. Anwar graduated in computer systems engineering, But for cricket he would probably have joined his many classmates who travelled to United States for their Masters degrees.

7. Playing for North West Frontier Province Governor’s XI against the visiting Australians in 1988, Anwar walked in at No 5, with the score on 75 for three in response to 472.He nonchalantly flayed a Craig McDermott led attack for 127 from 156 balls.

8. Playing for United Bank Limited in the Wills Cup in late 1988, Anwar faced Pakistan International Airlines in the finals and struck Wasim Akram for two straight sixes in a knock of 36.

9. He was still considered a middle-order batsman and makeshift opener when he hit 126 against Sri Lanka at Adelaide in a three nation tournament in 1989-90.

10. Loss of form and a mystery illness prevented Anwar from taking part in Pakistan’s World Cup triumph at Australia in 1992. From December 1990 to February 1993, he played only five ODIs, failing to reach double figures even once.

11. It was not until 1994 that he first made his mark in Test cricket with a classy 169 at Wellington.

12. There was a second mystery illness, no one knew whether it was malaria or typhoid. But his wife Lubna, a doctor, nursed him through the period. Soon after that he blazed his way in the English conditions in 1996.

13. During his 194 at Chennai against India in 1997 under the gruelling May sun, he was aided by a runner from the 18th over after suffering cramps. He broke a 13 year old world record and it would be 13 years before Sachin Tendulkar would eclipse his feat.

14. Anwar’s three top Test innings were perhaps the 118 in a tense win at Durban, the 188 in the Asian Test Championship at Eden and a 119 against Australia at Brisbane.

15. Anwar’s life changed when his three-year old daughter Bismah passed away on the final afternoon of a victorious Test against Bangladesh at Multan. That match, incidentally, had also witnessed an Anwar hundred. The devastation could be countered only by seeking solace in religion. Anwar delved deep into the deepest teachings of Islam. Anwar took to delivering sermons in mosques, analysing life with Tablighi Jamaat. He read the Quran, which had been shelved all these years in favour of the life of Don Bradman.

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at