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.