Masood Salahuddin one of the oldest living first-class cricketers in Indo-Pakistan breathed his last on the night of March 22, 2006, after a brief illness in Lahore at the age of 90 years and 88 days. Masood was born in Meerut in the Indian United Provinces now Uttar Pradesh on Dec 24, 1915, was a contemporary of the great Indian fast bowler Muhammad Nissar. He was in fact, one of his understudies when he was just 20 years old.
After the creation of Pakistan Masood continued to live in Lahore where he was employed with the Pakistan Railways in a senior position. He played first-class cricket until the end of the 1958-59 season when he was already into his 40’s.
Masood also earned name and fame as a cricket administrator in Pakistan. He served briefly as a Test and first-class umpire also. In 1954 he was the Pakistan team’s assistant manager to Syed Fida Hussain on its a historic tour of England. In 1971 he went to England again as the team manager.
After having played his first Ranji Trophy matches in India in 1934-35. Masood was chosen for India in two unofficial Test Matches against Jack Ryder’s Australian in 1935-36. At the Lahore Gymkhana Ground, after not being called to bowl in the first inning. He shared the new ball with Muhammad Nissar in the second and took one wicket of opener Wendell Bill. He clean bowled him for 5 runs.
In the next Test match at the Chepauk in Madras, Masood didn’t open the bowling the more experience Muhammad Nissar and Amar Singh did. But took one wicket, that of Ronald Morrisbyin the second inning. India won both Tests by 68 and 33 runs respectively.
In the start of 2006, Masood Salahuddin was hale and hearty at the age of 90. Despite his age, the lanky Salahuddin looks fit as a fiddle and walks straight. The only trace of age is the reading glasses that he wears. World War II terminated Masood’s promising career. Unusually for a fast-medium bowler, Salahuddin fielded at slips where he also had the opportunity to gauge Nissar speed.
Salahuddin who played first-class cricket for United Provinces. When he was 20 his name came up among the players to be selected for the Indian team that toured England in 1936. I was in the reckoning for India’s tour of England in 1936. But eventually, Shute Banerjee was preferred over me.
Maybe I was probably faster then Bannerjee, who was more experienced than me. I used to move the ball both ways with equal ease. He, however, did not believe there was anything like the reverse swing. I don’t believe there is anything like the reverse swing. How can you bowl revere swing with the action of in-swing and vice versa?
When World War II started, he was holidaying in India during a break down from studying architecture at London’s University College. My peak years were lost due to World War II. Masood was a son of Khan Salamuddin one of India’s first big-name fast bowlers who went on to the inaugural tour England back in 1911. Salahuddin was remotely related to the famous cricket Khan clan of Pakistan and was a maternal cousin of Arif Ali Khan Abbasi a former CEO of the PCB.
Masood Salahuddin continued playing first-class cricket in independent Pakistan. He represented as well as captained Railways from 1953-54 to 1958-59 and used the new ball quite effectively. He also umpired in a Test match between Pakistan and Indian in Karachi in 1954-55.