Abdul Hafeez Kardar

Abdul Hafeez Kardar  or Abdul Kardar (born Lahore, 17 January 1925, died 21 April 1996) was an international cricketer, who is one of the only three players to have played Test cricket for both India and Pakistan; the other two being Amir Elahi and Gul Mohammad. He became the first captain of the Pakistan cricket team and is widely regarded as a father figure of Pakistan’s cricket

Early career

Kardar was born in Lahore Punjab in 1925,[4] and educated at Islamia College Lahore. He played domestic cricket for a variety of teams, including: Oxford University, Northern India and Muslims. He was one of the few players of his generation who played for India in Tests against England, and following the independence representing Pakistan. Kardar was appointed to lead the team which would play its first official Test series touring India in 1952–53. Kardar fielded his men against Lala Amarnath‘s Indian team. Although India won in Delhi and Bombay and won the series, Kardar’s Pakistan achieved their first Test victory in only the second Test in Lucknow. He was a left-handed batsman and a slow left-arm orthodox spin bowler, scoring 6,832 runs and taking 344 wickets in first-class cricket. He averaged 29.83 in batting, and 24.55 in bowling. Kardar played for the Pakistan team from 1948 to 1952, in the years before Pakistan was granted Test status. Kardar also played for Warwickshire and Pakistan Services.

Pakistan’s captain

Kardar captained Pakistan against all the Test playing nations of the day, and achieved an unparalleled distinction of leading his team to victory against each of them, which was remarkable for a nascent cricketing nation. Especially famous was the series-levelling victory achieved touring England in 1954 at The Oval. It was unimaginable for the cricket’s godfather nation and team to be beaten by minnows in their first rubber in England. Kardar and his men also created history by winning the first-ever and only Test against Australia in Karachi in 1957. Although aggressive, motivated and confident, Kardar’s Pakistan was yet immature, inexperienced and raw in their cricketing skills to win series victories. The attitude of the players was especially criticised when all the five Tests played by the Indian cricket team on its first tour of Pakistan in 1954–1955 ended in a draw. The fear of both Indian and Pakistani players of losing to each other, owing to political tensions and the bloody legacy of independence, was too much for competitive cricket to be played. During his tenure, Pakistan won six, lost six and drew eleven matches in a total of 23 Tests. Kardar retired in 1958.

The Cult

Kardar had been a strong supporter of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and an adherent to the idea of Muslim glory in India. Abdul Hafeez Kardar went into politics and served as the president of the Pakistan Cricket Board in the 1970s. His tenure was notable for increasing representation of Asian and African cricketing nations with the International Cricket Council. Kardar was forced to resign after an embarrassing pay dispute with the players in 1977. He also worked with many charitable and social development causes, and in the last years of his life was assigned as Pakistan’s ambassador to Switzerland, prior to his death in his hometown, Lahore in 1996. Kardar is today credited with popularising the game with common Pakistani people and youth, for his tutelage of some of Pakistan’s greatest cricketers, young talent and prodigies, and his stewardship of the Pakistan team and the board in its early years, developing a culture of pride and professionalism. He was also elected to the provincial assembly of Punjab in 1970 on a ticket of the Pakistan Peoples Party, and was also inducted in the provincial cabinet as a minister..[2][3]
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