Home > News >

Former Pakistan PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was useful right-handed batsman, claims new book

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto © Getty Images
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto © Getty Images

New Delhi: Jul 20, 2014

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a useful right-handed batsman, who played for the Sunder Cricket Club in Bombay and University of California and was occasionally used as opener, says a new book on the country’s cricket history.

Had he gone to Oxford first for his studies instead of California he could have earned a place in the cricket team of the university and the famous Blue, it also says. Oxford has been graced by some of the most famous cricketers of all time, producing many Blues who have gone on to represent their country such as Imran Khan, Douglas Jardine, and Mike Smith.

Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in PakistanWounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan by British journalist Peter Oborne is an insight into the nation’s tryst with the game, digging deep into the political, social and cultural history and is packed with memories from former players and top administrators.

“Bhutto was more than a star-struck fan. He was also a useful right-handed batsman, who played for the Sunder Cricket Club in Bombay, where he was occasionally used as opener. In his autobiography, Abdul Hafeez Kardar asserted that Bhutto was a good enough cricketer to have earned a Blue had he attended Oxford first, and then the University of California at Berkeley, rather than the other way around,” the book, published by Simon & Schuster, says.

The book also mentions the cricketing pursuits of current Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who played a First-Class match though he was out for a duck and also a warm-up match against England before the World Cup in which he scored a single before being bowled by Phil DeFreitas.

Oborne says Bhutto was a decent player and crazy about cricket when he was a youngster and loved to be near cricket stars, such as Mushtaq Ali, who scored India’s first Test century overseas, or the precocious Alimuddin, Pakistan’s Test opening batsman who appeared for Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy.

He says that according to Kardar, Bhutto’s “interest in cricket was that of a scholar. He knew the history of cricket, including such technical developments as the introduction of the third wicket and the sightscreen”.

Oborne quotes Bhutto’s friend Omar Kureishi, a newspaper columnist, author and radio commentator in describing Bhutto’s cricketing prowess, “We had been schoolboys together at the cathedral School in Bombay. We had played cricket, indeed that had been the bond.”

Kureishi later travelled to study at the University of California, where he was soon joined by Bhutto. They shared lodgings and played cricket together at Griffith Park for a club called the Corinthians, for whom Bhutto opened the batting.

Oborne, however, feels that Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, unlike most of his successors, had little interest in cricket, though he probably played it while at school in the Sindh Madrasa in Karachi.

According to the author, cricket writing about Pakistan has sometimes fallen into the wrong hands and has been carried out by people who do not like Pakistan, are suspicious of Pakistanis and have their own preconceptions.

“English journalists have tended to follow suit, with the result that Pakistan cricketers emerge as caricatures: Javed Miandad as a hooligan; Imran Khan as a princely scion in the tradition of Ranji; A H Kardar as a fanatic. None of these crude images bear much connection with reality.

He says Pakistani cricket is a relatively unexplored subject. “The library at Lord’s is rich in volumes from every major cricketing nation. Pakistan occupies barely half a shelf. If this book does nothing else, I hope it will stimulate an interest in Pakistan cricket.”

“Everywhere I went in Pakistan, I was aware that people feel a huge sense of pride in their country. Cricket is played in the plains of Sindh and in the mountains of the north. It is played by the army and the Taliban. It is enjoyed by all Pakistan’s sects and religions.”

The author rates Imran Khan highly. “Imran Khan took charge at a vital moment in the evolution of Pakistan cricket. From the late 1970s onward, the game was exploding in popularity and significance. Pakistan cricketers were no longer patronised by the dominant white cricketing nations. Instead, they came to be feared and resented. The balance of power titled. All these changes took place during Imran’s period of dominance, and he came personally to represent the cricketing consciousness of the new era,” he writes.

He then mentions an anecdote about how a holy man predicted that Imran will make a comeback after he retired from the game after the World Cup in 1987.  Imran had first declined when the Pakistan cricket board formally asked him to rejoin the national squad. “A series was looming against the West Indies and Gen Zia uttered a personal plea. Eventually Imran was unable to resist,” Oborne writes.

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI

Videos

Australia perpare for 1st Test against Pakistan

Pakistan’s chances in ICC World Cup 2015 bleak: Mohammad Zahid

Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test in Dubai Preview: Motivated Pakistan look to hurt rusty Australia

MS Dhoni rested, Virat Kohli as captain, and other points of interest from squad for first 3 India vs Sri Lanka ODIs

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: MS Dhoni gets much-needed break ahead of Australia tour

A Pakistan all-time XI: A galaxy of captains

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India India vs West Indies 2014 New Zealand Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India 2014

Pakistan vs Australia 2014, 1st Test at Dubai: Visitors on top at Lunch on Day 1

Shane Watson believes that Australia can improve in T20s

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younus Khan and Azhar Ali add stability to Pakistan innings

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 Semi-final North Zone vs Central Zone: Jalaj Saxena’s half century take Central to 149 for 2 at Lunch

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Kumar Sangakkara in doubt for ODI series

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Why did Mohammad Hafeez go for a shocking review?

Australia’s best opportunity to bury ghosts of playing on spinning track

Duleep Trophy Semi-Final, Central Zone vs North Zone: Players to watch out for

Pakistan’s chances in ICC World Cup 2015 bleak: Mohammad Zahid

Quinton de Kock equals wicketkeeping record with six catches in South Africa vs New Zealand 1st ODI

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Gmail is down! So are Hangouts, G+, Contacts and Calendar

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 could get Android 5.0 Lollipop update sooner than expected

82 वर्षीय फैशन डिजाइनर ऑस्कर डे ला रेंट का निधन

Man jokes with Barack Obama: ‘Don’t touch my girlfriend’

Masss first look: Green eyed Suriya will leave you spell bound!

Google launches physical USB ‘Security Key’ to further its fight against malicious hacks

Aamir Khan, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Arjun Kapoor, Anushka Sharma: Celebs who sizzled and fizzled at MAMI’s closing ceremony-view pics!

स्वच्छ भारत के लिए स्वच्छ मध्य प्रदेश बनाने का आह्वान: शिवराज

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here