The Fearsome Farooq Hamid

Published: 2024
Pages: 44
Author: Battersby, David
Publisher: Private
Rating: 4 stars

The fast men are the most thrilling sight in the game, and two of my personal favourites have always been Shoaib Akhtar and, at his all too brief peak one of the best of all time, Waqar Younis. To hear therefore that there was a Pakistani fast bowler before them who the likes of Majid Khan considered quicker than either was always going to pique my interest.

The man concerned is Farooq Hamid, now 78, who appeared in just one Test, his country’s first in Australia back in 1964. In a drawn encounter Farooq took a single wicket, that of Ian Chappell. Farooq was just 19 then, and was only 25 when he walked away from the First Class game in 1970.

Farooq’s was a sporting family, his father being a top class athlete, as indeed was Farooq himself. The belated recognition of his cricketing talents in this monograph will doubtless raise Farooq’s profile but until now, if anything, the best known member of his family was sister Tahira, the only family member who gets a mention in one major history of Pakistan cricket.

With the assistance of his trusted man on the ground and curator of the Cricket Museum of Pakistan, Najum Latif, David Battersby has been able to reconstruct Farooq’s entire career, including mention of each of his 43 First Class appearances as well as a few other significant matches and, in his early days his achievements as an athlete. Lest it be forgotten, and it could easily be given a First Class average of 13, Farooq also has one memorable achievement with the bat, one of the biggest hits ever seen at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and that single delivery is also fully dealt with.

Which would all be interesting enough in itself to justify the publication of The Fearsome Farooq Hamid, but what really makes it is that, again with much assistance from Najum Latif, Battersby had the opportunity to interview Farooq, and what an interesting man he is.

That Farooq has the mentality of a fast bowler is clear from his comments. He clearly didn’t like batsman very much and as an example of that is honest enough to admit to bowling a deliberate beamer at Warwickshire batsman Neal Abberley in an encounter with an MCC Under 25 side in 1967. The hand injury Abberley sustained put him out of the tour, but at least there were no hard feelings when the pair met at Lord’s a few years later.

The most interesting aspect of the interview is the reason why Farooq was never selected for Pakistan again after that one Test, and why he walked away from the game when he did. A large part of the reason is the Mohammad family, Hanif in particular but also Wazir, with whom Farooq clearly did not get on and who he sees as having restricted his opportunities to progress in his cricket career.

As always with David Battersby monographs, of which this is the twenty second, there are numerous photographs of people, places and memorabilia throughout the narrative many of which are exceptionally well reproduced and add much to an excellent account of the life of a most interesting cricketer.

This particular monograph appears in a limited edition of 100 numbered and signed copies at a very reasonable £11 including UK postage and packing with, as an added bonus, the first 60 copies being accompanied by a card signed by Farooq. It can be ordered directly from David via email at dave@talbot.force9.co.uk, and for those in Australia copies are currently en route to Roger Page.

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