Cricketing legend Hanif Mohammad died at the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi on Thursday. The 81-year-old, who was suffering from lung cancer for which he underwent surgery in London in 2013, was shifted to the ventilator a couple of days ago after his health deteriorated. Born on Dec 21, 1934, in Junagarh, the ‘Little Master’ played 55 Test matches for Pakistan between 1952 and 1969, averaging a fine 43.98 comprising twelve hundreds. Regarded as the most compact batsman in the world during his playing days, Hanif could bowl with both arms. He also kept stumps at the competitive level at various occasions. Hanif, a man with nerves of steel often weathered storms with his immaculate technique when Pakistan’s batting line-ups collapsed. His phenomenal 16-hour-long 337 against West Indies at Bridgetown – which saved Pakistan from imminent defeat – will be always be alive in history books. It remains the longest innings in Test history and was the longest in all first-class cricket for over 40 years.
However the way media covered the death of Hanif was deplorable. In the race for breaking many news channels ran the news that Hanif has passed away, however, half an hour later the media had to take back the earlier news as Hanif’s son announced that his father is still alive (however the Little Master passed away a few hours later). In the frenzy to break the news first none of the media outlets waited for official confirmation of the news from the doctors (something which should be a common practice). Majority of people on social media platforms were highly critical of media’s coverage of Hanif’s illness which shows that the general public is not very ‘breaking news culture’ savvy.
Hanif was a cricketing legend and will be forever remembered by cricket fans.