Today’s Doodle celebrates international cricketer Abdul Hafeez Kardar, affectionately known as “The Skipper.” One of the few players to have played Test cricket for both India and Pakistan, Kardar captained Pakistan’s first Test team and is widely remembered as the father of Pakistani cricket.
Born in Lahore, Punjab on this day in 1925 to a prominent cricket-playing family, Kardar was educated at Islamia College and traveled to England to represent India in Test play. A left-handed batsman and slow left-arm orthodox bowler, he went on to play for Oxford and Warwickshire County Cricket Club where he was coached by the esteemed New Zealand cricketer Martin Donnelly.
Following Pakistan’s partition from India in 1947, Kardar joined the Pakistani team and campaigned for the country to earn full Test status, which was finally granted in 1952. In 23 matches as their captain, Kardar led Pakistan to at least one victory over each of the Test teams they ever faced, including powerhouses such as Australia, India, New Zealand, and the West Indies. On his last tour in 1957, he ignored doctor’s orders and played against the West Indies with a broken finger, bowling 37 overs and scoring 57 during the match.
A fierce competitor on and off the field, Kardar was deeply engaged in the organization of Pakistani cricket, an early advocate of neutral umpires, and a passionate protester against political interference in the administration. In recognition of his contributions to Pakistani cricket, Kardar received the Pride of Performance Award from the Government of Pakistan in 1958.
Happy Birthday to The Skipper!