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Coastweek-- With Indian test cricketers Bishen Singh Bedi, Ajit Wadekar India Captain, Mehmood Quraishy, Ramakant Desai, Zulfikar Ali and  Farookh Engineer.
Zulfikar Ali, Kenya and East Africa’s Greatest All Round Cricketer

Coastweek-- 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 1960.

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.

His bowling had the precision of a surgeon and batsman had to work hard to get runs off him.

Zulifikar Ali, was the youngest of four brothers, who were all good sportsman and Zuli followed in their footsteps playing hockey, cricket, football, squash and golf.

 
 
Coastweek-- Zulfikar Ali receives the Kenya Cricketer of the year award.

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 time.

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 Pakistani cricketers.

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 three children.

His son Yasin Ali excelled at golf and was a professional golfer on the Asian Tour.

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 scene.

Coastweek-- Standing [from left] Zulfikar Ali with his Sir Ali Muslim Club team mates  celebrating a  clean sweep of all the trophies.

 

           

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