Home > Features > Moments in history >

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was passionate about cricket

© Getty Images
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto wanted to be a cricketer in his young days, but then got busy with politics © Getty Images

January 5, 2014 marked the 86th birth anniversary of Zulifkar Ali Bhutto, the former President of Pakistan. Sarmad Hussain brings out the cricketing links of the former President.

Two of Pakistan’s political stalwarts have cricketing connections — Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and, of course, the de facto leader of the opposition, Imran Khan. While Imran reached the pinnacle of the sport in 1992, Sharif had to be content with a forgettable First-Class debut for the Railways in 1972.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), winners of the first elections in the country, is not far behind. Though it is not as well known, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, PPP’s supreme leader, was an ardent follower of the game. Bhutto’s biography by Stanley Wolpert mentions the memoirs of another enigmatic ‘civilian dictator’ albeit on the cricket field — AH Kardar.

Anwar Hussain, the Bombay-bred cricketer, who later faced the first ball in Pakistani First-Class cricket, was the captain of the Sunder Club in Bombay, where a teenaged boy named Zulfi played under the tutelage of legends like Mushtaq Ali and Vinoo Mankad. It was Anwar who made possible the meeting of the two charismatic leaders from different fields — Bhutto and Kardar. Kardar writes that had Bhutto managed to go to Christ Church before Berkeley, one could have seen him harbor ambition of becoming a First-Class cricketer.

Bhutto’s fascination for cricket wasn’t just restricted to the field of play; he was a historian as well. Though he had little time for cricket, he used to meet the visiting team and share anecdotes with them. He was especially fond of Keith Miller, the poster boy of cricket in the post-War decade, and developed a good friendship with the handsome Australian. Again, lack of time meant that Bhutto could not himself do much for cricket as a premier. But, to his credit, he gave that task to the ‘best man for the job’ — Kardar, who proved to be a formidable administrator in the 1970s.

Had things gone according to young Bhutto’s wishes, Pakistan could have had a Prime Minister who played First-Class cricket much earlier. Bhutto focused on politics after the creation of Pakistan. After his move to Radcliffe, he was too busy trying to rebuild the country.

(Sarmad Hussain is currently a student of History and Literature at the Forman Christian College, Lahore. He has been a cricket aficionado since the age of six when he watched the 1999 Chennai Test between, India and Pakistan. His long term plan is to be a researcher, and cricket is right up there in his list. He can be followed on twitter @SarmadXIV.)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan’s double ton puts Pakistan on top against Australia at stumps on Day 2 of 2nd Test

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 214/4 at stumps; lead by 111 runs

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

WICB officials should visit India to minimize damage: Andy Roberts

Younis Khan: I want to be remembered as team-man

ICC World Cup 2015: New Zealand prime minister urges Indian fans to attend the tournament

Mohammad Yousuf: Muttiah Muralitharan would not have been allowed to bowl under current ICC rules

Mohammad Azharuddin’s son included in UP One-Day squad for Vijay Hazare Trophy

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here