Zulfikar Ali’s cricket career started at a very tender age
playing with his cousins and relatives in their neighbourhood in
Nairobi, writes ALIHUSEIN NAMAJEE.
At the age of
fourteen he joined Sir Ali Muslim Club one of the top
teams at the time and soon made it into the first team in
He was a very
talented young lad and with guidance from some senior
players he became a regular in the SAMC first team.
Zuli as he was
fondly known by his fellow players and hundreds of
supporters was an excellent swing bowler who could turn
the ball both ways and a superb batsman as well.
had the precision of a surgeon and batsman had to work
hard to get runs off him.
was the youngest of four brothers, who were all good
sportsman and Zuli followed in their footsteps playing
hockey, cricket, football, squash and golf.
Zulfikar Ali receives the Kenya Cricketer of the year
He was a natural
sportsman and excelled at any game he took up.
He first played for
Kenya in 1962 at the age of sixteen and in a career lasting over
two decades he had the distinction of bowling to the likes of
the Nawab of Pataudi, Sir Vivian Richards and Sunil Gavaskar.
Zulfikar became a
house hold name in the Kenya and East Africa team and he put up
some creditable performances for both teams during his career.
The highlight of his
international career was at a world cup in England when he took
the wicket of Viv Richards and bowled a marathon 48 overs
conceding only 72 runs against a star studded opposition.
He had the
distinction of being the only Kenyan batsman at the time to
score double century before lunch in a league match and also
scored 48 runs and 137 runs followed by 4 wickets against E.W.
Swantons XI from England.
He scored another
century against a Nigeria National team between lunch and tea
He was the hero of
his club team Sir Ali Muslim club on several occasions and
whenever he came into bat or bowl his fans had great
expectations and used to give him a standing ovation. He
achieved great heights as captain of his club SAMC winning the
KCA League six times in seven years under his leadership.
He was offered a
trial by Mickey Stewart of Surrey but family commitments
prevented him from taking up the offer.
He missed yet
another chance to play in the Lancashire league due to
bereavement in the family.
Zuli was an avid
traveller, having toured Pakistan, India, Malasia, Singapore,
Denmark, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi during his career.
He was also included
in a tour of South Africa in a team led by Khalid Ibadullah of
Warwickshire which included top West Indian, Indian and
He played against
many world class cricketers the likes of Vishwanath, Kapil Dev,
Kalicharan, Majid Khan, Javed Miandad, Conrad Hunte, Richie
Benaud, Tom Cartwright, Mike Brearly, John Snow, Derek Underwood
and Alan Knott to name a few.
Zuli called it a day
in 1983 when he decided to settle in England with his wife and
His son Yasin Ali
excelled at golf and was a professional golfer on the Asian
He is presently a
golf coach in Dubai.
Zulfequar Ali’s name
will always go down in the history books of Kenya and East
African cricket as the greatest all-rounder ever to grace the
Zulfikar Ali with his Sir Ali Muslim Club team mates
celebrating a clean sweep of all the trophies.