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LAHORE: In a tribute to one of the pioneers of the early era of Pakistan cricket, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has named the grade-II four-day tournament as Hanif Mohammad Trophy, which will be contested by 10 regional teams from the 2023-24 domestic season.

This is another step by the PCB to honour and recognise the services of the legends of the game, and ensure that their efforts continue to be remembered.

PCB Management Committee Chairperson Zaka Ashraf said, “This step is homage to a true cricket legend whose grace, dedication, and timeless contributions to the sport have left an indelible mark on the hearts of cricket enthusiasts in Pakistan and around the world. It is of utmost importance that we remember our greats and take steps that keep their memories alive.”

Son of Hanif Mohammad and former Pakistan Test cricketer, Shoaib Mohammad said, “My family and I are thankful to Zaka Ashraf and the Pakistan Cricket Board for honouring my father’s contributions to the game of cricket. It is an amazing feeling to know that the board continues to remember the sacrifices and hard work of cricketers of the early days who played a pivotal role to put Pakistan on the world map. I hope our young domestic cricketers get inspiration from his career and go on to serve Pakistan.”

Known as ‘Little Master’, Hanif Mohammad was one of the most outstanding batting talents in the early years of Pakistan cricket. As a teenager, he opened the innings for Pakistan in the inaugural Test in 1952, played against India at Delhi and went on to score 3,915 runs, which includes 12 centuries and 15 half-centuries, at an average of 43.98 in 55 Tests.

He played the longest Test innings at Bridgetown in 1958 when he batted for 970 minutes for his 337 – still the highest score for a Pakistani in the format – against the West Indies. He also captained Pakistan in 11 Tests from 1964 till 1967 before retiring in 1969.

His first-class score of 499 for Karachi against Bahawalpur in 1959 is still the highest for a Pakistani and the second best overall behind Brian Lara’s 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994. He amassed 17,059 runs at 52.32 in his first-class cricket and scored 55 centuries and 66 half-centuries in 238-match career that spanned from 1951 till 1976.

Hanif Mohammad Trophy serves as a pathway for the regional sides to qualify for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, premier first-class tournament. The team that wins this tournament is promoted to the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, and the side that finishes at the bottom of the first-class tournament is relegated to the grade-II event.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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