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Aftab Baloch: 1953 – 2022

Aftab Baloch
by Almanack Archive 7 minute read

Aftab Baloch died on January 24, 2022, aged 68. He played two Test matches, and was remembered in the 2023 Wisden Almanack.

AFTAB BALOCH, who died on January 24, aged 68, was a prodigy who made his first-class debut in Pakistan in August 1969, when only 16, and scored 77 not out. Three months – and three centuries – later, he was called up for the third Test against New Zealand at Dacca. He was the second-youngest Test player at the time, after Mushtaq Mohammad (15 in 1958/59), whose place he took. Baloch made 25 – and was promptly forgotten. Four seasons later, he amassed 428, the second-highest score by a Pakistani after Hanif Mohammad’s 499, as Sind responded to Baluchistan’s 93 all out with 915-7, and won by an innings and 575. It earned him a place on the 1974 tour of England, where he caused merriment in one hotel by being allocated room 428, but he managed only 101 runs in all, and could not crack a good Test team. He did win another cap, against West Indies the following winter, making 60 not out at Lahore. But, still only 21, he was dropped for good.

“It was a shame he never got more opportunities,” said the former Test all-rounder Nasim-ul-Ghani. “Besides being an accomplished middle-order batsman, he was agile, with a brilliant pick-up as a cover-point fielder, and a more than handy off-break bowler.” Baloch played on in domestic cricket until 1984-85, finishing with over 9,000 runs at 41, including 20 centuries, and had success in the Lancashire Leagues. He moved into coaching, and oversaw Pakistan’s victory at the Under-19 World Cup in 2006; he later had a spell in charge of Nepal’s national side. His father, Shamsher Baloch, and brother Karimullah also played first-class cricket.

Aftab Baloch made a quadruple century in first-class cricket.

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