The Pakistan Eaglets in the 1960sMartin Chandler |
Author: Battersby, David
Rating: 4 stars
With this booklet David Battersby provisionally concludes his look at the Pakistan Eaglets, a pursuit which has already produced two excellent reads, that I reviewed here and here. That much said I doubt very much that this will end up as a simple trilogy as given what has happened in the past it is certainly reasonable to assume that in the coming months there will be sufficient new material unearthed to enable David to publish, if not another 147 page book, then certainly a worthwhile supplement.
The story begins with a first, the Eaglets bow as a First Class side, at home in May 1960 to a side styled as Indian Starlets. After that one off game a few weeks later a tour of Malaya and Sri Lankan was undertaken by a side led by Mian Mohammad Said, the by then 49 year old who had captained Pakistan back in 1948/49. There were also young Pakistani players in England in 1960 and 1961, but they were not officially a party of Eaglets, and there was another one-off First Class match in September 1961.
After looking at that Eaglet activity the greater part of this book is then taken up with just one tour, the Eaglets visit to England of 1963. These Eaglets were led by an experienced Test batsman, 33 year old Wazir Mohammad, and their ambitious two month tour included eight First Class fixtures. Seven of the Eaglets had already been capped and in the future another seven, including Sadiq Mohammad, Asif Iqbal and Majid Khan, would become Test players. Two of the First Class matches, against Worcestershire and Derbyshire, were lost, but Kent and Cambridge University were beaten with games against Somerset, Northants, Cambridge University and Scotland being left drawn.
The approach in this book is essentially the same as in the previous two. David has pored over newspaper archives and, once more, has had a great deal of assistance from Najum Latif, curator of the Cricket Museum of Pakistan. Latif also provides a foreword which succinctly explains his commitment to assisting in the research for a book. Latif appears again at the end of the book, which culminates in two excellent appendices from him, the first an essay on the man who founded the Eaglets, Judge Cornelius, and the second transcribing some conversations with past Eaglets.
And that is just about it, except for a couple of subjects that are touched on and in respect of which I think the supplement I mentioned in my first paragraph might concentrate. The first is the brief section that references another, and final, Eaglets tour that took place in 1969. It is a subject in respect of which David has so far managed to find out very little. It was clearly a lower key affair than the 1963 trip, but it is difficult to imagine that further information will not be forthcoming. And the second? That must be something more about Farooq Hamid, a man who went on to make just a single unsuccessful Test appearance, but who sounds like he was a most interesting cricketer.
The book is published in a limited edition of 125 copies, all individually signed and numbered and available at £15 including UK postage from the author, whose email remains firstname.lastname@example.org. That is a worthy purchase in itself, but for the collectors amongst us who are prepared to shell out another tenner the first 65 copies also come with some very special extras, signed photos/cards of Najum Latif and Asif Iqbal and, the jewel in the crown, a separate signature card signed by twelve Eaglets, one of them the now 93 year old Wazir Mohammad.