Baqa Jilani or Mohammad Baqa Khan Jilani was a well-mannered batsman with 928 runs at 18.56 averages with a hundred from 31 first-class matches.
For a man of six feet it was surprising that Baqa Jilani or Mohammad Baqa Khan Jilani bowled leg-breaks and medium-paced leg-cutters, but he captured 83 wickets at 19.93 with three five-fours and ten-fours.
Mohammad Baqa Khan Jilani or Baqa Jilani was related by marriage to the family that also produced Majid Khan, Javed Burki and Imran Khan. Mohammad Baqa Khan Jilani was a right-arm medium-paced bowler and a decent lower-order batsman. He kicked off his career with twelve wickets on first-class debut.
It was as spectacular in the first appearance of Mohammad Baqa Khan Jilani, that in the opening bowling he routed Sind for 114 and 155 with figures of seven for 37 and five for 50, making it his only First-Class ten-wicket haul. He played against Parsis in the Bombay Quadrangular next month, where he returned figures of four for 30 and three for 55, leading Muslims to by an innings.
Then came the big match, against Southern Punjab at Amritsar, where Northern India scored 142 before Baqa Jilani’s four for 46 gave them an 11-run lead. Then, when Southern Punjab was set a target of a mere 118, he took charge. Dev Puri and Amir Elahi contributed in bowling out the opposition that had five cricketers who played Tests at some point of time or the other for 22, which remained the lowest Ranji Trophy score till 2010-11.
The next season started on a high note as well. Baqa Jilani claimed two for 45 and four for 16 in the first "Test" against the touring Australians at Lahore. There was also a four for 32 against Delhi at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, and a consecutive second season with the ball earned Baqa Jilani a spot on the 1936 tour of England.
The first two seasons of Mohammad Baqa Khan Jilani, which included 16 matches, had resulted in 66 wickets at 15.85. The next 15 yielded a mere 17 at 35.82 average.
Mohammad Baqa Khan Jilani also took the first hat-trick in Ranji Trophy, for Northern India against Southern Punjab in the semi-final of the first tournament in 1934-35. Southern Punjab was dismissed for 22 which was the lowest total in the competition for 76 years.
Mohammad Baqa Khan Jilani played his only Test match in England in 1936 during a tour wrecked by infighting between two factions supportive of the Captain Vizzy and the former captain C. K. Nayudu. Jilani belonged to the former group.
Mohammad Baqa Khan Jilani died a few days before his thirtieth birthday, thus becoming the second-ever Indian Test cricketer, after Amar Singh, to die. Mohammad Baqa Khan Jilani suffered from an epileptic fit, fell down from the balcony of his house in Jullundur, and died instantly on July 2, 1941 in Jalandar, Punjab.
(Last Updated on : 18-08-2014)
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