Thursday, December 30, 2010

Masood Ahmed - Dashing Batsman With the Heart of a Poet

The opening batsman for All Saints High School in 1982 was Masood Ahmed, one year our junior but one who had already played for the state Under 15 team. Stocky and strongly built, Masood was one of the most exciting batsmen we have watched in those days. In fact I would go to distant matches just to watch Masood and Suresh bat, whether it was in state matches or college matches. Coming from All Saints it was no surprise that Masood had a penchant to casually flick the ball over the square leg at regular intervals and compile tall scores before anyone knew it. As a teammate he was a considerate and good natured guy who helped me get over my initial fears in our star studded cricket team. He loved Hindi films, Hindi film music and was a romantic at heart.
Masood Ahmed

Masood also became my captain when I played the Under 15 for Hyderabad something which I had never dreamed of. When I played cricket for All Saints I was only too happy to be in the cricket team, something which fed my romanticised notions of cricket in Tom Brown's school days. When I learnt that the team played Sunday league cricket it was a bigger bonus. And when I heard that I was eligible to pay for the Under 15 state team I was even more surprised. I made it to the Under 15 team by the skin of my teeth - the captain of which was Masood. I was all set to tour Bangalore as an extra and I remember other players ask me if I could lend them my sweater and shoes which were the only possessions I had. But when there was a chance for me to show my prowess, Masood it was who handed me the new ball and said that the Manager wanted to see me and that I should go flat out. I did and I opened the new ball the next day, and got a wicket off the second ball as well. So much for Mr. Extra and all credit goes to Masood.

It was fitting then that in the final against Karnataka we were chasing 243 and were suddenly down to 208 for 9 after being 189 for 4. I walked out and met Chetan Joshi, our dimunitive left arm spinner who was no taller than the bat then, and we merrily swung our bats away. In no time Karnataka took the new ball surprised by this attack and I edged one boundary over thirdman and swung the next one over square leg to push us into the lead. They told me that Masood was in the tent crying, at the prospect of losing the match and only came out bleary eyed when he heard that we got the first innings lead. I got 27 runs which proved invaluable in the game. He was the captain for the South Zone as well, in which there were seven Hyderabadis, including me. We went to Calcutta, got stuck in a cyclone, won the first game against North Zone by toss and lost to East Zone the next.

Masood and I played many matches together and against one another. I was very happy to get his wicket when I played for St. Alphonso's against All Saints the next year. Then we played Under 19 together at Vizianagaram, and after he joined Nizam College we played many tournaments for Osmania University, the HCA Under 19, Under 22 and other categories. Masood was  with me when we played the Vizzy Trophy at Bhilai and we had a great time that tour which was when I discovered his great liking for Hindi film songs and poetry.

A devout Muslim, Masood was loved by all and always had a fair and just outlook on life. There was oen season which he played for Nizam when he got three hundreds in a row and played Buchi Babu that he looke dlike he would play for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy. But fate had it otherwise and he did not. He did his MBA and then left for the UK and then onwards to the US. The day he came from the US later, (I lost touch with him after 1991 when he was my skipper for the Osmania University in the Inter varsity tournament), he called me to announce that he was getting married and invited me. I went of course because he is a pure soul, someone whom I always looked at as affectionately as my younger brother. Recently he invited me again for the wedding of his niece and I met him and gifted him copies of both books. He kept in touch since and we are on the mail these days. he asks me about the progress on the movie.

Masood was fun to have in the team. Songs, discussions, movies, jokes, laughter - he was a true gentleman. Always polite, always well mannered, always kind and considerate, the sensitive dasher was truly one of my favorite persons. Another one of the great guys I met on the cricket field, Masood has played for the US cricket team already and plays active cricket there. He told  me he would like to play a game together when he comes next. I am looking forward to that day - it should be fun. Until, then Masood my friend, take care and god bless.        


Unknown said...

Thanks Hari, I just found out today about this blog when one of my nephew called me and said about the blog, guess what he googled about you and me after watching the GHS movie. It feels good specially when you are away from your home. Keep up the good work man,chao.


Harimohan said...

Hi Masood, I watched GHS about 9 times already and its fun watching your pictures at the end - Ehtu, you, Suresh. Its playing the US - NJ, Dallas and Bay Area right now. Hopefully it will come to theatres near you but if you can make a trip to NJ, its worth going to watch the movie - and check your pic at the end of it. Take care buddy.

Unknown said...

Hi Harimohan,

It reminds me of same masood who was also called as "pappu",was our neighbor in mallepally and i too have played against him in many local tournaments.
Later he bacame a relative to my couain who is a doctor in saudi.
I left india after my engineering in 1990 and have met his team mate fareed in boston during my stay in US.
Hope someday i will meet all these genius players one day, in india.
Currently i am in australia and simply recalling those golden days of pre teenage in 80s. We often called masood,local viv richards of nizam college.


Harimohan said...

Hi Mujtaba, It is the same Masood you are talking of. I guess Hyderabad has had only one Masood like him - Viv Richards is an apt description - loved watching him bat. And I know Fareed well too. I met Masood recently in India and he is just the same - warm hearted, fun loving and is pretty fit compared to the rest o of us. Thanks for writing in and keep in touch so I can arrange a meeting with your old rival.