Mushtaq Mohammad was born in the state of Junagadh in Gujarat in 1943. When British India was partitioned, the Mohammad family migrated to Pakistan and settled down in Karachi.
Mushtaq was the fourth child in Mohammad family after Wazir, Raees and Hanif. He also had a younger brother Sadiq. All five brothers went on to play First-Class cricket for Pakistan, with Raees being the only one not to get the Pakistan cap.
Mushtaq Mohammad made a world record when he made his First-Class debut at the tender age of 13. He then went one step further when he became the youngest ever test cricketer, debuting at 15 years and 124 days. 2 years later, he scored his 1st century at the age of 17 – a world record which stood till 2001 when Bangladesh’s Mohammad Ashraful bettered his record by just 17 days.
Apart from being a great batsman, Mushtaq was also a handy spinner. In fact, he was the first cricketer ever to score a century and take 5 wickets in an innings in the same match. He went on to do this twice in his career.
Mushtaq was appointed Pakistan’s captain in 1976. After being appointed, he faced an uphill task of building a team and turning them into strong competitors in order to face the big boys of the West Indies, Australia and England. His position was similar to what Misbah faced in 2010 or what India’s renowned captain Saurav Ganguly had to face in the early 2000s; build a team and turn them into world beaters.
Mushtaq passed the test with flying colours and it was during his captaincy that Pakistan cricket began to rise from an unpredictable team to a dangerous side that could challenge the best of the best anywhere in the world. He beat India in India and under him, Pakistan also won a match against the mighty Windies at Port of Spain, something which was inconceivable in the 70’s and 80’s.
After his retirement, he played several roles in the PCB. He was the coach of the Pakistan cricket team that played the finals in 1999 World Cup. He then took a backseat and his legacy of transforming the Pakistan team seems to have been forgotten amongst the younger generation.
Recently after Misbahul Haq’s retirement, there was a debate about the most successful Pakistan Test captain. While Imran Khan and Misbah himself are the outright favourites, an overwhelming majority of cricket fans who started following cricket in the 70s will be unified in the opinion that Mohammad is one of the most successful Test captains Pakistan has ever produced.