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Ashes, ODIs a pain reliever

Hanif Mohammed

Calcutta: Hanif Mohammed, Asia’s iconic batsman of the 1950s and the 1960s, is set to be discharged from the London Bridge Hospital on Thursday.

The 78-year-old Hanif underwent a cancer-related surgery on July 9, leading to the removal of the right lobe of his liver and the gall bladder as well.

“Thankfully, the post-surgery parameters are normal and my doctor (Robert Hutchins) sees no reason why I’ll have to stay beyond Thursday... Seems a matter of time before I’ll be allowed to move to my daughter Seema’s residence in Wembley...

“My stomach had bloated a little, but it’s better... Mera BP bhad gaya tha, but it’s controlled now. By the time I’m discharged, I should even be back on solid food,” Hanif, sounding pretty okay, told The Telegraph from his hospital bed around 9.30 pm on Tuesday.

Of course, the former Pakistan captain gets “tired” rather quickly.

Hanif was, in fact, watching the second Pakistan-West Indies ODI in Guyana when he took the call from this Reporter.

“My younger son Shahzeb and his wife, Sana, are glued to the TV too. I’d also watched Sunday’s ODI, which Pakistan won by such a huge margin (126 runs)... I didn’t miss the first Ashes Test, in Trent Bridge, either...

Mere liye to achchi baat thi ki Test paanch din tak gaya... Woh paanch din jaldi guzaar gaye... Achche kut gaye... It was a thrilling Test, with England coming out strong,” Hanif pointed out.

[According to Shahzeb, a research analyst with the London Business School, “cricket is the best pain reliever, more effective than morphine” for his father.]

Asked if he was in favour of the controversy-hit DRS, Hanif replied: “I support the use of technology, but I accept that it’s not 100 per cent... But availing of technology is better than not doing so... Game thoda fair ho jata hai.”

Brothers Wazir (the eldest) and Mushtaq, both of whom are settled in Birmingham, were planning to drive down last Saturday to visit Hanif, but he persuaded them not to make the trip.

Wife Shamshad too was “advised” not to travel from Karachi, as her own health could suffer. She’s with elder son Shoaib.

“My father didn’t want his brothers to see him in hospital... He’s suggested they drive down after Thursday and join him for a meal at my sister’s house... He’s not for a reunion, so to say, in hospital. He also didn’t want my mother to end up spending hours and hours in hospital,” Shahzeb explained.

Elaborating on the bloating, which has subsided, Shahzeb said: “We’ve been told it’s not unusual... Because of being bed-ridden for a few days, my father had some swelling in the region of the hips too, but physiotherapy and gradually moving about with the help of a walker has settled things.”

Hanif, incidentally, has thanked “well-wishers,” including many in India, who prayed for his recovery. Once discharged, he’s expected to remain in the UK for three weeks.