Fazal Mahmood was one of the finest cricketers Pakistan had produced. Born on 18th February, 1927 in Lahore, Fazal Mahmood showed interest in cricket from a very early age and encouraged by his father Fazal Mahmood grew up to become a bowling wizard.
Before the creation of Pakistan, Fazal played for North India. His outstanding performance in matches earned him a place in the Indian squad which was to tour Australia; however the partition of India was announced and Fazal Mahmood opted for Pakistan.
He helped in popularizing cricket in Pakistan. His bowling spell against the visiting MCC convinced the kingmakers at Lords to grant test status to Pakistan. Fazal Mahmood thus made his test debut in 1952 against India.
The highlight of his career remains the test at Oval England in 1954 when Fazal took 12 wickets for just 99 runs. Beating the kings at their own game was a big achievement for the newcomers (Pakistanis).
In his career, He captured a total of 139 wickets in the 34 test matches he played averaging 24.7 runs. Fazal was a medium fast bowler who specialized in leg cutters and break backs.
He is also the only bowler to take 12 wickets in a series 4 times. He was chosen as the Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1955 for his outstanding performance at the Oval making him the first Pakistani to receive the honor.
He was the first Pakistani to reach the 100 wicket mark in 22 tests. He also led Pakistan in 10 test matches. After retirement Fazal Mahmood served as a National Selector. He passed away on 30th May, 2005 in his hometown, Lahore. He was awarded Pride of Performance Award by the Government of Pakistan in 1958. In 2012, he was awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz.