Two Great Cricketers Of Lahore - Lala Amarnath & Fazal Mahmood

Qasim Khan Lahore

From a poor background in Lahore, Lala Amarnath rose to prominence by scoring 109 ("a brilliant display" - Wisden) for Southern Punjab against MCC in 1933-34, and a few weeks later became a star with a century on his Test debut, India's first Test at home, at the genteel old Gymkhana ground in Bombay. 

Lala Amarnath scored India's first Test century and went on to become Indian cricket's patriarchal figure: as selector, manager, coach and broadcaster, as well as in a literal sense - his three sons became first-class cricketers and two played in Tests. 

Born in Lahore, Fazal Mahmood attended Islamia College, Lahore, from the age of 13. His father, Ghulam Hussain, was a Professor of Economics at the College as well as being president of the College's cricket club. He set Fazal a stringent training routine which involved waking at 4:30 am, walking five miles and running five miles. This schedule was adhered to for seven years. Fazal made the College first team in his second year and at the age of 15 took 5/13 in an inter-college final, a record for the tournament.

In March 1944, Fazal, aged 17 and still at college, made his first-class debut for Northern India. In a Ranji Trophy match against Southern Punjab he batted at number eleven scoring 38 not out and taking three wickets. His maiden first-class wicket was that of India Test all-rounder Lala Amarnath. In Fazal's second appearance, a semi-final against Western India, he claimed eight wickets including 6/65 in the first innings.

When the Partition of India took place in August 1947, Amarnath and his family migrated to India and lived in Patiala in the Indian state of Punjab till 1957, when he moved to the capital, Delhi. Lala Amarnath had received his education at Aligarh Muslim University. Amarnath is widely respected for reaching out to bridge the divide between players and fans of India and Pakistan, caused by political tensions between the two countries.

Amarnath as captain was complimented for being straightforward and aggressive, and possessing great tactical acumen. Under his leadership, India won its first-ever Test against the Pakistan cricket team in Delhi in 1952, and went on to win the series 2-1. Amarnath also managed the team when it toured Pakistan in 1954-55.

Lala Amarnath, died in New Delhi on 5 August 2000, aged 88

After Partition of India, Fazal Mahmood made his Test debut in the first match at Delhi, taking 2/92 in India's first innings, his maiden wicket was Indian captain, Lala Amarnath.

After leaving Islamia College with a Master's degree in Economic, Fazal Mahmood joined the Pakistan Services as an inspector of Police in 1947 rising to Deputy Superintendent in 1952 and Deputy Inspector General in 1976.

Fazal Mamhmood suffered a fatal heart attack and died at his Lahore residence on 30 May 2005.