Majid Khan, Cricketer

Majid Jahangir Khan is a former cricketer, batsman and captain of the Pakistan cricket team. In his prime, Majid Khan was considered one of the best batsmen in the world, able to decimate any bowling attack, including the mighty West Indian fast bowlers of that era. It is a shame that over an 18-year Test career, he only played in 63 Test matches, primarily because Pakistan played a very limited Test match schedule. Thus, the cricketing world was deprived of the pleasure of watching one of the greatest exponents of batting in the world. Khan’s first-class career spanned 1961 to 1985. Overall, he played 63 Tests for Pakistan, scoring 3,931 runs with 8 centuries, scored over 27,000 first-class runs and made 73 first-class centuries, with 128 fifties. Majid played his last Test for Pakistan in January 1983 against India at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore and his last One Day International (ODI) was in July 1982 against England at Old Trafford, Manchester.

Early life

Born on 28 September 1946 in Ludhiana, in the state of Punjab in India, Khan grew up in Lahore, the capital of the Punjab in Pakistan. His father, Jahangir Khan, had played Test cricket for British India before the independence of Pakistan in 1947. Majid Khan started his career as a pace bowler, but a back injury and doubts over his technique converted him into an off-spin bowler and batsman. He also played for:

  • Glamorgan and Cambridge University in Britain
  • Queensland in Australia
  • Pakistan International Airlines
  • Rawalpindi
  • Punjab

Majid’s father, Dr. Jahangir Khan, famously killed a bird in flight while bowling during an MCC vs. Cambridge University match in 1936. This bird is now part of the permanent MCC museum exhibit at Lord’s Cricket ground. Dr. Jahangir Khan was the Chief Selector of then Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP) when Majid Khan was close to national selection. Dr. Jahangir Khan resigned from his post to maintain the impartiality of the Cricket Board during selection.

International career

Majid’s Test career started in 1964 against Australia at National Stadium, Karachi. Khan is one of only five batsmen (the other four are Trumper, Macartney, Bradman, and Warner) to have scored a century before lunch in a test match, scoring 108 not-out off 112 balls against New Zealand in Karachi during the 1976–77 test series.

Khan made his ODI debut against New Zealand in 1973 at Lancaster Park, New Zealand. He also holds the unique honour of scoring the first one-day century for Pakistan, in an ODI against England at Trent bridge on 31 August 1974. Khan scored 109 from 93 balls with 16 fours and a six.

Majid had played for Lahore since 1961–62 and had made his Test debut against Australia in 1964–65 and toured England and Wales with the 1967 Pakistanis. During a match with Glamorgan, Majid blasted a rapid 147 in 89 minutes, hitting Roger Davis for five sixes in one over. Wilf Wooller, the club secretary, had been a close friend of Majid’s father when Dr Jahangir Khan had been up at Cambridge, and the influential Glamorgan secretary persuaded Glamorgan county to sign him as the overseas player from 1968.

In 1972 he won the Walter Lawrence Trophy for the season’s fastest century which he scored in 70 minutes for Glamorgan against Warwickshire. He captained the Welsh county between 1973 and 1976, scored over 9000 runs punctuated with 21 first-class centuries for them. Imran Khan, the legendary Pakistani ex-captain and fast bowler, and Javed Burki are his cousins. Bazid Khan, Majid’s son, has also played for Pakistan, making the family the second, after the Headleys, to have three consecutive generations of Test cricketers.

Initially, Majid Khan continued to boost Pakistan’s middle order, until he was promoted to fill the opener’s slot with Sadiq Mohammad in 1974. He was the first century scorer for Pakistan in One Day International Cricket, scoring 108 runs against England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham in the same season. Majid Khan was also a specialist slip fielder and made most catches look easy. Khan was also well known as a “walker”, maintaining the standards of the game in an era when professionalism was straining at the game’s traditional etiquette.

The 1976–77 tour of West Indies was the most remarkable period for Majid Khan, where he scored 530 Test runs against one of the most powerful bowling attacks in the history of the game. His best innings was perhaps the 167 in Pakistan’s second innings at Georgetown that saved Pakistan from likely defeat. Pakistan lost that series 2–1.

On 30 October 1976, while playing against New Zealand in Karachi, he became only the fourth cricketer to score a century before lunch on the first day of a Test match, after Victor Trumper, Charlie Macartney and Don Bradman.

After retirement from International Cricket, Khan became an administrator with the Pakistan Cricket Board, becoming the CEO of the board in mid-1990s.

He now lives in Islamabad.

Courtesy: Wikipedia.org

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3 thoughts on “Majid Khan, Cricketer

  1. Reblogged this on keithbracey and commented:
    I recall seeing Pakistan thrash England at my home city ground of Edgbaston in 1972 with the great bespectacled Zaheer Abbas scoring a double century and Mushtaq Mohammed of the famous Pakistani cricketing brothers which included Sadiq and Hanif who at one time held the record for the highest scoring Test match innings of over 400……Thinking about it Majid Khan may have been playing in that Edgbaston Test when Zaheer Abbas scored his double century………? Do you know whether Majid Khan was playing in that game Mohamed Syed Husain…..? Keith Bracey

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    1. I knew Majid while I was at St. Anthony’s High School in Lahore in the period 1955-59. He used to live close to my house in Lahore. I left for the Air Force school at Sargodha in 1959 while Majid went to Aitchison College Lahore around the same time. He had the making of a good sportsman even then and the change of school was in support of that. I met him now after a period of 60 years, although I flew him to Lahore while I was in PIA, though on going in the cabin, I found him sleeping and did not disturb him. The occasion was the Muslim festival of Eid and the flight was an extra section to cope with the rush at an unusually odd hour.
      I have not followed his career too well, so your question cannot be answered by me. I used to admire his technique as a batsman and his confident style in batting. I asked him now what was the trick in getting ahead of the bowler, and he replied that one had to observe the bowler as he delivered the ball, the wrist and palm at the time of delivery would tell where the ball would land.
      My father and mother and his father were both in England in 1934. My father was also fond of cricket and so the contact continued while the partition of India took effect. My father settled in Lahore in 1948 from Hyderabad State.

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