Broken arm, Saleem Malik bats single-handed, left-handed and right-handed in 1986 Faisalabad test

Broken arm, Saleem Malik bats single-handed, left-handed and right-handed in 1986 Faisalabad test

Watch: In Faisalabad in 1986/87, Saleem Malik went out to bat with a broken arm. He struck first with his left hand, then with his right hand, perhaps the only person to switch hands on occasion a Test innings first Joe Root.

With the exception of the 1979/80 tour of New Zealand, the indomitable West Indians did not lose a single series between 1975/76 and 1994/95. They dominated cricket for almost two decades, until Pakistan, which, from time to time, gave them a hard time.

The West Indies’ 1986/87 tour of Pakistan started as planned. There was no Michael Holding or Joel Garner, but Malcolm Marshall (3-48), Patrick Patterson (2-38) and Tony Gray (4-39) reduced Pakistan to 37-5, then bowled them out for 159. The only resistance came from captain Imran Khan, who made an unbeaten 61 from the number 7.

Malik helped Imran add 53 for the eighth wicket. Then a snorter broke his arm, just below the wrist. He had made 21, and was practically out of the game.

Imran then asked his 20-year-old left-arm fast bowler to throw first over, in front of himself. It was a major promotion for young Wasim Akram, who was soon to take over that role until his retirement, especially after Imran stepped down. Here, he took 6-91 to help defeat the West Indians 248 after they were 104-1. An 89 lead was still substantial.

Pakistan, a short hitter, soon became 19-2. At 224-7, the innings was practically over, but Wasim now showed that his skills were not limited to fast bowling. He added 34 with Imran and 38 with Tauseef Ahmed, Lionel Richie’s doppelganger off-spinner. Despite this, the lead had just passed the 200 mark.

Then Malik emerged, to loud applause from the crowd. He reached the center and, to the surprise of most, stood guard left handed. You can see the logic. He could only use his right hand, so he would make it his “upper hand”.

The first ball, by Courtney Walsh, was out of bounds. It was lucky for Malik, who missed it completely. It was evident that tapping with the left hand was not his forte. Desperate to strike, Wasim sprinted to midfield, realized Malik wasn’t interested and barely managed to get back.

After a conference at halfback, Malik transitioned to batting right-handed (now his bottom hand). Walsh’s first ball knocked the bat out of his hand, but Malik hung on. Wasim, meanwhile, ran in his first Test fifty, and was eventually blocked for an 82-ball 66. Malik played 14 balls, scored three and went undefeated.

West Indies now needed 240 in four sessions. By stumps, they were 43-9. They were bowled out for 53 the next morning, in 25.3 overs. It was to remain their lowest score until Australia bowled them out for 51 at Port-of-Spain. Bowling unchanged for 13 overs, Imran took 4-30. The lead breaker was Abdul Qadir, with 6-16.

Watch Saleem Malik bat right and left in the same inning:


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