Mohammad Munaf, the former Pakistan fast bowler, has died. He was 84 years old.
Munaf played only four Tests for Pakistan, from the late 50s to the early 60s, but hovered around national team selection for a number of years. He toured, without playing a Test, with the Pakistan side on their famous first tour of the Caribbean in 1957-58, in which Gary Sobers made his then world-record 365 and Hanif Mohammad played one of the great rearguard innings of all time, the 337 at Bridgetown.
Munaf was born in Bombay (as it was known then) but settled in Karachi and it was there, as a strapping young fast bowler, that he first made his name in the famous Rubie Shield school tournament. At that time, he was good enough with the bat to have opened the batting with Hanif for Sind Madrassah. The late historian Khadim H Baloch wrote in his Encyclopaedia of Pakistan Cricket that Munaf delivered off a short run-up and had a slingy, round-arm action and some reports had him, at his peak, as one of the fastest bowlers in the country at the time.
But his career coincided with early riches in Pakistan's pace resources. Fazal Mahmood, Khan Mohammad and Mahmood Hussain were all starters for the national side ahead of him; in fact, his debut Test against Australia in 1959-60 only happened because Hussain was unavailable. He would go on to play only three more matches, all in Pakistan, with a best of 4 for 42 against England in Lahore in 1961-62.
Munaf's potential was never in doubt, though, as evidenced by two trips he made to England as part of the Pakistan Eaglets squad - which was essentially an A team back then. His career-best figures - 8-84 - came on an Eaglets tour in 1963, against Kent. England may have been a good place for his bowling and though he was picked for what turned out to be a disastrous tour in 1962, he had to withdraw with a leg injury.
Munaf was also part of Pakistan's squad to India on the 1960-61 tour, though once again he didn't play a single Test.
"The PCB is saddened by the news of Munaf's passing away," Ehsan Mani, the chairman of the PCB, said. "Munaf was one of those respected cricketers who made their name at the first-class level in the early days of Pakistan cricket. We share the grief of his friends and friendly and express our deepest sympathies."