I read in the papers that a distinguished umpire and a fellow cricketer Mr. Aslam Khokhar died at the ripe old age of 91, may his soul rest in peace. Mohammad Aslam Khokar, Pakistan’s oldest surviving Test cricketer, died in a Lahore hospital after a prolonged illness, on Saturday Janauary 22, 2011. It is customary for the human mind to enter into a reflection mode, when it receives the appropriate signals or messages. Mr. Khokhar’s death just did that to me.
Mr. Aslam Khokhar was born on the 5th Jan 1920 in Lahore. He only played one test match for Pakistan scoring 34 runs almost half of the runs coming in boundaries. Though I did not see him bat, I am told that he was a dashing stroke player. After retirement from cricket, he took up umpiring. It is then when I first met him.
I remember playing at least 4 games in which he officiated. He, along with Mr. Khizer Hayyat, Mr. Aman-Ullah-Shah and Mr. Nazar Mohammad I got to know very well. Mr Aslam Khokhar was a gentleman, and a food lover. In one of the games, standing in with Nazar Mohammad, I had opened the batting and was still undefeated at lunch, as he removed the bails, signaling the lunch, he came over to me and asked, “Where are we going for lunch? I hope it’s not the same crappy place as last year”…I responded, “Sir I believe, its home cooked food today, so should be good”. Oh good he said, otherwise the
finger may have had difficulty staying in the coat pocket.
He loved to tease Nazar Mohammad. And at every opportunity he called him, “Nakkam Aashiq” (Failed Lover). He was madly in love with Madame Noor Jehan as we informed. And after the days play, he would most certainly bring that topic up, and then for many an hour we would listen to Mr. Nazar Mohammad. Mr. Aslam Khokhar would often say,”iddy ankhaan dey which chammak waikhey aye”(check the spark in his eyes). He was full of jovial little quips, and was a great coach off the field. Often guiding us, pointing to us our mistakes and always full of encouragement. I feel greatly honored to have stood on the same cricket field as Mr. Aslam Khokhar. I pray to almighty Allah, that he be granted a place in paradise, Ameen.