It was disappointing that, despite the scores of visitors to the earlier post in this series, no one took the risk of guessing. What a 'safe-playing' nation we are!
Ok, I admit that guessing the author of the nazm would have been a shot in the dark - but who the young man in the photograph is (no, he is not the poet) I'd figured out the moment I set eyes on him because he bears a lot of resemblance to his father (though the environment in which we met helped, too).
This is Shehzad Mahmood. Assistant Manager | (Library /Archives / Museum) at the Pakistan Cricket Board National Cricket Academy, a task that has him surrounded with Wisdens. Once I'd have died for these …
Standing before such a collection of them and other cricket books sent my head spinning back to my pre-seafaring days when Cricket was a religion for me and Shehzad's father sent girls into the kind of swoon that only Imran Khan, years later, elicited more strongly.
Yes, folks, Shehzad is the son of the great Fazal Mahmood. Hero of many matches, he will be remembered most for the memorable Oval Test that put Pakistan on the map and caused sports headline in UK papers to scream "Pakistan Fazals England!
". What a man he was … and a rarity, too: an honest Police Officer.
The PCB-NCA is well laid out and, as you can see, has at least tried to complement the old Lahore-architecture charm unlike some of the newer horrors that architects have unleashed.
(I still remember the shock and horror of returning to Lahore after years and seeing the monstrosity known as the WAPDA House - and things have gotten even worse over the years through replacement of beautiful old trees by palm trees. Palm trees? Trees that are bare and ugly. Trees that cast no cool shadows. Aaaargh. Do some people really think that by turning this country into Little Arabia by doing this, and by uttering a few guttural sounds, we will all go to Heaven? We won't. But we may become as uncouth as the Soddies, sooner than you think.)
Sorry for that distraction, but it does make my blood boil. OK. Lemme get back on track.
So what was I doing at this NCA? Had I reached it by mistake while looking for the other one? No! I'd gone there after years of promising myself to do so, just to meet my real cricket hero, the legendary Imtiaz Ahmed (T.I., Pride of Performance), who is Advisor to the PCB Women's Wing. Little wonder they are doing so well :) My face lights up even now when I recall the magical duo of Imtiaz and Maqsood ('Merry Max') on the pitch. Their partnerships drove the old men at the even older manual scoreboards mad.
There was so much to talk about with him, so many wonderful stories to hear. It was a delight to travel back to a time when even the tense Indo-Pak political relations did not mar sports. When the Commonwealth XI played the Indian Prime Minister's XI three of our
cricketers were chosen and invited personally by Panditji (a great cricket lover) to play on his
team. Bowlers Fazal Mahmood & Khan Mohammad and Batsman-Wicketkeeper Imtiaz Ahmad —whose score of 300 Not Out
not only saved the match but still stands as the highest score on that ground.
I will blog about some of the wonderful things he spoke about and recount a few of the anecdotes next week.
Thank you, Imtiaz Sahab and Shehzad, for spending so much time with me. It was wonderful to see you both together. Until next time …
Labels: Bloggers, Pakistan, People, Personal, Poetry, Urdu