Govt to bear expenses of Hanif Mohammad’s treatment: PM

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Sunday announced that the federal government would bear all expenses of Pakistan cricket legend Hanif Muhammad’s medical treatment.

Hanif, 81, was admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) of a private hospital in Karachi due to complication from a recurring cancer disease and was shifted to a hospital after a two-week-long struggle with breathing problems and congestion. Paying tributes to the legendary cricketer, Sharif said that he is a great fan of Hanif. He prayed for early recovery of the former Test cricketer.

After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013, Hanif underwent surgery in London which helped bring it under control, his son Shoaib MohammadShoaib said. "But the cancer spread with time."

"We sent the latest biopsy to our doctor in London and he said that chemotherapy will not be an effective option for further treatment."

Shoaib, who is a Pakistan International Airlines employee, said new treatments are expensive and will be difficult for him to finance on his own.

"The latest and effective treatment for this problem costs double the amount of the previous treatment and we will need the help of the government — probably from sports funds to help his (Hanif's) recovery," Shoaib said, who is also a former Test opener.

Earlier, the legend cricketer, popularly known as Little Master, said that he had contacted many people after his health deteriorated but no one even bothered to respond to his call.

Born on Dec 21, 1934 in Junagarh, Hanif played for Pakistan between 1952-53 and 1969-70 and with a fine test average of 43.98 comprising 12 hundreds.

Hanif represented Pakistan in 55 Tests, scoring 3,915 runs. He still holds the record for highest score (337) in an innings by a Pakistani batsman, followed by Inzamamul Haq (329) and Younus Khan (313).

At his peak, Hanif was considered one of the best batsmen in the world. Hanif’s marathon knock of 337 that he scored against the West Indies in a Test at Bridgetown in 1957-58, is regarded as one of the epic knocks in the entire cricket history. After Pakistan found themselves following on from a first-innings deficit of 473 runs on the afternoon of the third day, Hanif spent more than sixteen hours at the crease compiling his runs, allowing Pakistan to draw the game.

It remains the longest innings in Test history (and stood as the longest in all first-class cricket for over 40 years). It was the only Test match instance of a triple century in a team’s second innings until it was equalled by New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum against India in 2014.

In 1958-59, Hanif surpassed Sir Don Bradman’s record for the highest individual first-class innings. Hanif made 499 before being run out attempting his five hundredth run. This mark stood for more than 35 years before being surpassed by Brian Lara in 1994.

In all Hanif made 55 first-class centuries and finished with a strong career average of 52.32. Hanif was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968. In January 2009, Hanif was named along with two other Pakistani players — Imran Khan and Javed Miandad — among the inaugural batch of 55 inductees into the ICC’s Hall of Fame.

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