Former Pakistan batsman Waqar Hasan has passed away in Karachi on Monday at the age of 87. The middle-order batter, born in Amritsar in 1932, was the last surviving member of Pakistan's Test side that played against India in October 1952 in the country's first-ever international match.
Although Waqar couldn't contribute much in Pakistan's inaugural Test, he grew in stature in subsequent games and established his batting credentials in the momentous five-match series against India.
At the age of 20, he became the first batsman from Pakistan to score twin half-centuries when he racked up scores of 81 and 65 in Mumbai. He later starred with a five-hour epic in Kolkata in the final match of the series, rescuing his side from sliding into disarray and ensuring a draw.
The highest point of the stylish strokemaker's 21-Test career arrived when he forged a record 308-run stand with Imtiaz Ahmed against New Zealand in Lahore in 1955. Waqar amassed 189 runs during the batting masterclass - his best score at the apex level.
He last donned the national jersey in a contest against the Richie Benaud-led Australian side in 1959, though he continued to play first-class cricket till the 1965/66 season.
He ended his career with 1,071 runs at an average of 31.50 with a slightly better showing on the first-class arena where he averaged 35.64 in 99 appearances.
His brother Pervez Sajjad also represented Pakistan in 19 Test matches.
Following retirement, Waqar developed a reputation of being a shrewd cricket administrator and served the Pakistan Cricket Board in various capacities, including heading the selection committee in 1982-83.
PCB chairman Ehsan Mani reacted to the sad demise of Waqar by saying: “It is a sad day for Pakistan cricket as today we have lost our last hero who put us on the world cricket map in 1952. He was from that elite group of cricketers that laid the foundation of what turned into a proud cricket nation."
“I had the privilege of knowing him personally and I have nothing but the utmost respect for Waqar," he added.
"Waqar was not only an outstanding cricketer but a thorough gentleman who set very high standards. He was an articulate and smart cricket administrator who contributed to Pakistan with his wisdom and progressive approach and vision.
“On behalf of the PCB, I offer my deepest condolences to Waqar Hasan’s family and friends, and assure them that Waqar will always be remembered for the immense contribution he made to Pakistan cricket.”