Imtiaz Ahmed passed away aged 88    Getty Images
Imtiaz Ahmed passed away aged 88 Getty Images

Former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Imtiaz Ahmed has passed away at the age of 88 in Lahore. Imtiaz, who played 41 Tests for Pakistan between 1952 and 1962, died in a Lahore hospital on Saturday after a brief illness, his family said. “He [Imtiaz] was suffering from chest infection and died early Saturday,” a member of the family told local media. Imtiaz scored 2,079 runs for his country at 29.28, which included 3 tons and 11 fifties and a highest score of 209 against New Zealand at Lahore in 1955. He also took 77 catches and affected 16 stumpings in his Test career.

Imtiaz was a key part of Pakistan s first official Test side, which was led by Abdul Kardar, which toured India. Ahmed played the first three Tests as a batsman, but took over the wicketkeeping gloves for the fourth Test at Chennai from Hanif Mohammad, according to Imtiaz then kept wickets for the rest of his international career, till his final Test against England at The Oval in August 1962. Pakistan however lost that five-match series 2-1. Imtiaz Ahmed s First-Class career began when he was just 16 years in 1944-45 and he played for a decade after he played his last Test. He played a total of 180 First-Class games, scoring 10,391 runs at an average of 37.37, which included 22 tons and 45 half-centuries. His First-Class career consisted of 322 catches and 82 stumpings.

Imtiaz also received presidential pride of performance award and was later awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for his services to the Pakistan Air force, where he retired as the Wing Commander. After his retirement, Imtiaz served Pakistan cricket as its selector and was also the head of the selection committee between 1976 and 1978. After that, he took up a coaching role with the PCB and developed Under-19 cricketers for nearly 10 years.

He had put on 152 for the first wicket with the legendary Hanif in the Bridgetown Test against West Indies in 1958, scoring 91. Mohammad, who died in August this year, went on to score an epic 337 in 970 minutes still the longest innings in Test cricket history. Imtiaz’s death means that middle-order batsman Waqar Hasan is now the only surviving member of Pakistan’s first Test team.

(With inputs from AFP)