Historian of Pakistan cricket Heller pays tribute to Master Aziz

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KARACHI: The UK based historian of Pakistan cricket and renowned novelist Richard Heller has said that Master Aziz, a sports teacher and a coach of Sindh Madressatul Islam, had a great contribution in promotion of cricket in early days of Pakistan.
Delivering the lecture on the subject of “Contribution of Sindh Madressatul Islam and Master Aziz towards promotion of cricket,” as a part of the international lectures, organized by SMIU at its auditorium on Monday, Richard Heller said that Master Aziz was Durrani by clan and basically was hailing from Afghanistan.
Later, he came to Sindh from Afghanistan in 1930’s and was appointed as a sports teacher at Sindh Madressatul Islam. Heller said that Master Aziz had trained a number of the best cricketers including Little Master Hanif Mohammad, his brothers and others. While his son Saleem Durrani was the only and first cricketer of Afghanistan and firstly played there.
Later Saleem had become a most important test player in India after Partition, but Hanif Mohammad was a great player than him. Richard Heller added that at that time cricket was encouraged at school, college and university levels, and these were the institutions that were producing good cricketers. Adding to it, he said that today the situation has been changed in Pakistan and even in England. “Cricket is also in trouble on school, college and university levels in England, due to the academic pressures on students,” Heller said and maintained that the students of the England mostly give preference to their study rather than the cricket; this is why the situation has been changed in England too.
He suggested that Sindh Madressatul Islam University may get lead in revival of cricket in schools, colleges and universities like its past. He further said that security situation has improved mostly in big cities of Pakistan; therefore the PCB may invite visiting cricket teams from England and other countries to Pakistan to play in schools, colleges and universities of the country.
Talking on the history of Pakistan cricket, Richard Heller said that a lot of the material of cricket in Pakistan has been lost. No one had preserved it except a few pictures and some stories, but young generation should collect the history of Pakistan cricket and upload it online for the world.
Earlier, Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh, Vice Chancellor of Sindh Madressatul Islam University, in his welcome address thanked Richard Heller for delivering lecture to the students of SMIU.
He said that in just after the establishment of Sindh Madressatul Islam in 1885, in addition to the education Sindh Madressah was making all efforts to familiarize and encourage students to take up cricket, tennis, hockey and other such sports which had been introduced in the subcontinent only recently and were not much popular.
Top priority amongst these sports was given to cricket and a Cricket Club was established in Sindh Madressah. Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh said that the institution went to the extent that once a fortnight the whole Madressah was used to get a half holiday for cricket.
In the end a question-answer session was held where a student of SMIU suggested that a lesson about the services of Master Aziz rendered for promotion of cricket in the country should be included in the school syllabus.