Former Pakistan captain Saeed Ahmed dies at 86

Said Ahmed, the former Pakistan captain and all-rounder, died in Lahore at the age of 86 following a brief illness. Saeed, who played 41 Test matches between 1958 and 1973, captained the team briefly, for three drawn Test matches against England in 1969, replacing Hanif Mohammad. He scored 2991 Tests, including five Test centuries, including three against India. A competent off-spinner, he also took 22 Test wickets.
Saeed was born in Jalandhar in 1937 in what was then British India – now part of Indian Punjab. He made his debut at the age of 20 against the West Indies in the famous Test draw in Bridgetownwhere Hanif Mohammad batted for 970 minutes to score 337. Saeed completed a 154-run partnership with Mohammad for the third wicket, scoring 65 as West Indies bowled 319 overs before the match was eventually called off.

He quickly became known for his grace and easy power, particularly in handling the ball, and instantly demonstrated that he belonged at the highest level. He finished his career with a batting average of 40.01, almost identical to his first-class average of 40.02. He then scored his first of five Test hundreds – 150 – at Georgetown against an attack which included Roy Gilchrist, Lance Gibbs and Garry Sobers, although the West Indies won that Test by eight wickets. Pakistan have never won a Test in which they scored a hundred, although playing in the least prolific period in Pakistan’s Test history may have been a factor in that.

He was a fixture in the Pakistani side for most of his career, although it ended ignominiously. After falling out with Dennis Lillee during Pakistan’s tour of Australia in 1972, he ruled himself out of the third Test due to a back injury. The board believed he was faking and sent him home for disciplinary action; he would never play for Pakistan again.

“The PCB is saddened by the passing away of one of our former Test captains and expresses its deep condolences to the family of Saeed Ahmed,” PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi said. “He served Pakistan with all his heart and the PCB honors his record and service to the Test team.”

After his retirement, Saeed moved away from cricket and never worked in the sport again. He lived alone in Lahore for several years, living a solitary life with few friends or family for company, while his deteriorating health required repeated visits to the hospital. He was taken to hospital midday Wednesday and died there shortly after.

He is survived by two sons, a daughter and a half-brother Younis Ahmedwho played four Tests for Pakistan.

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