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When a spectator broke his legs watching Pakistan cricket great Hanif Mohammad bat

Pakistan cricket team great Hanif Mohammad, who was born on December 21, 1934, holds the record for playing the longest innings in Tests.

cricket Updated: Dec 21, 2017 13:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Hanif Mohammad,Hanif Mohammad birthday,Hanif Mohammad legend
(Archive pic) Hanif Mohammad, Pakistan cricket team's opening bat in action during the first match of their tour of England, against the Indian Gymkhana Club at Osterley. Hanif scored 102 in the match. (Allsport Hulton/Archive/Getty Images)

Pakistan cricket team legend Hanif Mohammad, who was born on this day (December 21) in 1934, is regarded as one of the best batsmen of all time. The ‘Little Master’ from across the border is best remembered for his marathon 337 against the West Indies at Bridgetown in 1958. Mohammad’s knock, which came after Pakistan were forced to follow-on, lasted 970 minutes, making it the longest innings in Test cricket.

Thanks to his monumental effort, Pakistan managed to draw the Test despite conceding a lead of 473 runs in the first innings. Hanif Mohammad’s epic rearguard vigil, that seemed to last forever back then, also gave birth to many legends and anecdotes. The most hilarious among them is the one featuring a West Indian fan, who broke his legs while watching the Pakistan legend bat.

As the story goes, this fan was watching the Test sitting atop a tree. With the West Indies scoring a mammoth 579 in the first innings and then bowling out Pakistan for a paltry 106, he was quite excited at the prospect of his team registering an easy win. But then Hanif Mohammad’s epic slow-paced innings started, which bored this man so much that he fell asleep and fell from the tree.

The man was taken to the hospital where it was found that he had fractured his legs badly. However, when he regained his consciousness, he didn’t care about his legs and instead asked the doctor, “”Is Hanif dismissed or still batting?”

“Yes, he is. Fortunately, you won’t be able to walk your way to the stadium again and are spared the ordeal of watching him bat,” the doctor apparently replied.

Whether this story is true or not is still debatable, but it is a perfect tribute to the man who batted for three days to save a game for his country.

Hanif Mohammad died last year in Karachi. He was 81.

First Published: Dec 21, 2017 12:20 IST