An unsung and peerless administrator of Pakistan Cricket

April 9, 2016 | By


Ghulam Mustafa Khan

An unsung and peerless administrator of Pakistan Cricket


Ghulam Mustafa Khan, one of Pakistan’s foremost cricket administrators, passed away, on 4th January, 2016 in Lahore, a fortnight short of his 84th birthday. A tragic end to his life for a good many years he had been housebound and not having, his worthy services to the game, acknowledged by people, at the helm of the affairs, in Pakistan Cricket Board. His departure, on the heels of Yawar Saeed (October 2015) and Dr. Zafar Altaf (December 2015), leaving the Pakistan cricket fraternity, to reflect on the life and times of three of its most distinguished names.


G.M. Khan, born in Multan, (Punjab), British India on 17th January, 1932, was a graduate of Karachi University. Initially taken on board, as a typist, in 1957, he was promoted, as a deputy to Mir Mohammad Hussain, the BCCP Secretary, with its office in the National Stadium, Karachi. In 1961, G.M. Khan was the initial contact for Asif Iqbal, who had migrated from Hyderabad (Deccan), India to Karachi, Pakistan and went on to enjoy a distinguished career with his adopted country. It was appropriate and highly commendable of Asif, as a co-ordinator of CBFS (Cricketers’ Benefit Fund Series) to invite KhanSahib, amongst VIP guests, to Sharjah, on regular basis, in the period 1984-2003. The pre-season Annual Wills Dinner, conducted by Pakistan Tobacco Company, the leading sponsors of cricket, was another occasion, where one stood a chance of inter-exchange of views with him.


In no time, G.M. Khan established himself as an accurate compiler of scorecards, both international and domestic. He contributed articles, statistics, pen-sketches of the Pakistan touring teams and obituaries to a number of cricket publications abroad, more so to the Wisden Almanack, for more than two decades, till 1983. He was editor of the first BCCP Annual in 1965 and of further two editions in 1974 and 1975 before there was a lull of 15 years for this most useful official cricket publication. In addition to that, he also produced ‘Pakistan Book of Cricket’ the first of its kind, in 1971. G.M. Khan was the leading Pakistan cricket statistician and his work inspired the trio, Gul Hameed Bhatti, Nauman Badar and Abid Ali Kazi, to set-up Pakistan Association Cricket Statisticians in 1983.


A BCCP employee, from the mid 1950s till his retirement in the late 1990s, he was designated as Deputy Secretary (1957), Assistant Secretary (1969), Joint Secretary (1980) and also briefly acted as Honorary Treasurer, whilst retaining his position as the leading cricket statistician in Pakistan. In the days of a small group of administration, G.M. Khan, was seen to be running the cricket Board affairs, as a ‘one-man show’, particularly with his sound working relationship with the other international cricket Boards, ICC and not to mention, the regional cricket authorities and departments, in Pakistan.


In 1984, when General Safdar Butt took charge as President of the Board, G.M. Khan, the long-serving employee was tactfully sidelined and offered the position of a caretaker of the BCCP Cricket House in Lahore, keeping him out of the day-to-day working life at Gaddafi Stadium, more so from the 1987 Reliance World Cup, jointly hosted by India and Pakistan. Prior to his retirement, in the brief period of 1995-97, G.M. Khan, was the PCB Secretary. Arif Ali Abbasi, who after serving a couple of tenures as the Board secretary, was appointed the first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 1995-96, often teased G.M. Khan, by addressing the official correspondence to him with his name spelt Mustapha (the Turkish version) and not Mustafa.


As an accomplished administrator, G.M Khan also took overseas appointments in his stride. He was Associate Manager to Imtiaz Ahmed on Pakistan U-19 tour of England in 1974 and served as Assistant Manager to Omar Kureshi and M.E.Z. Ghazali on Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka in 1978-79. He was the ex-officio secretary of the Domestic Tournament Monitoring Committee (DTMC).


In his time as the Board official, G.M. Khan, was seen as cold, blunt and at times unduly rude, as he had little time for general exchange of views. He chose to remain aloof for he did not trust many. A glass of water was an absolute maximum he would offer, particularly to whom he considered as unwanted intruders, in his office hours. He lived and chose to work in a self-created ‘bubble’, almost impossible to penetrate, making himself unpopular, both with players and BCCP colleagues. A man of principle, his integrity and honesty could not be challenged and staying away from any financial irregularities whilst an employee of cricket Board, was an achievement in itself.


Quite rigid, he did not want to be bound by systematic obligations of his job. Nice and straight line without a hint of compromise was his way. A general perception was that G.M. Khan took particular care of not letting access to the score sheets and match reports as if he were, ‘guardian of the state secrets.’ Moreover he did not trust anyone and was known to carry his important files to his residence; both in his lunch break and overnight, for he lived fairly close to the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.


He slowed down considerably, following an accident, in which he broke his hip whilst supervising the repair work at the cricket Board. G.M. Khan subsequently cut-off his ties and was not to be seen or heard in the cricket circles, bringing an end to a 40-year plus association with Pakistan cricket. A no-nonsense authoritative figure in his working days, in retirement,Khan Sahib, became both bitter and recluse, primarily as a result of what he saw as an ‘ill-treatment’ of the cricket Board, who did not quite come forward to bear expenses of the treatment and rehabilitation of its long-serving and dedicated employee. That he carried a grudge and took it to his grave, should not surprise anyone, leaving one wondering whether Khan Sahib’s true value to Pakistan cricket, will ever be appreciated.


Dr.K.H. Baloch’s appreciation in Encyclopaedia of Pakistan Cricket (2005), ran on the lines of, ‘In an over-flooded field, here is another who has been under-rated by the hierarchy. Perhaps there is still time to remedy the situation.’


It is understood that all of Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s working life was at the cricket Board. He was married and is survived by two sons.


-M. Salim Parvez

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