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.)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 55 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Mumbai Indians won by 9 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 72 runs

Photos

West Indies vs Bangladesh, 2nd Test at Gros Islet

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Kevin O’Brien: Ireland will look to adjust to conditions in Australia-New Zealand ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014 Match 1 — Key battles

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014 Match 1: Kolkata Knight Riders’ likely XI

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014 Match 1: Chennai Super Kings’ likely XI

CLT20 2014: Why Mumbai Indians failed to recreate the magic

Bangladesh Bangladesh vs West Indies Bangladesh vs West Indies 2014 Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 Kolkata Knight Riders Lahore Lions Mumbai Indians Northern Knights Southern Express West Indies West Indies vs Bangladesh 2014

Shahrukh Khan revels in Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) CLT20 2014 win over Chennai Super Kings (CSK)

Durham seamer Chris Rushworth bags 15 wickets against Northamptonshire

Mumbai Indians’ poor show in CLT20 2014 will make them stronger: Pragyan Ojha

HPCA accuses Himachal minister for having double standards

Darren Bravo fined for breaching ICC Code of Conduct

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 Match 2: KXIP’s likely XI

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 Match 2: Key battles

Shivnarine Chanderpaul: First batsman to witness 500 dismissals from the other end in Test cricket

Do nervous nineties really exist?

Alphonso ‘Alfie’ Roberts: The face of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

635 Posts | 7 Fans

Yuvraj Singh in Anupam Kher show

Why some people are naturally inclined to music

Next-generation Apple iPads and OS X Yosemite to launch on October 21: Report

Consuming high-fat dairy products reduces diabetes risk

Gautam Rode bids the cast and crew of Saraswatichandra goodbye – View pics!

Tamanchey song In Da Club: Ikka Singh revamps his old Punjabi track for the Nikhil Dwivedi-Richa Chadda starrer!

iOS 8 requires over 5GB of free space to install, here’s what iPhone 5C 8GB users should do

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here