gha Zahid was born on 7th January, 1953 at Lahore. He got his primary education from Cantonment School No-2 and high school education from Islamia High School, Saddar Bazar in Lahore Cantonment, where he started his cricket and also captained his school team. A century in the zonal final of the Lahore Board Schools Tournament showed his early promise and then in 1968, he passed his Matriculation and joined Government College, Lahore from where he passed his M.A. (Economics) in 1975.
As an Old Ravian, he also had captained the Government College, cricket team during the session of 1974-75 with Mudassar Nazar and Azhar Khan as team members. Moreover, he was also a Punjab University Blue and had the honour of leading a combined team of Pakistan Universities during the season of 1973-74.
Born on 7 Jan 1953
Pakistani Test Cricketer
He was also a compatriot of Shafiq Papa, Mudassar Nazar, Sultan Rana, Late Tariq Bashir, Late Muhammad Sabir and Intikhab Ahmad as member of the then renowned Dawood Club (captained and managed by Zakria Ghani) before joining Habib Bank Limited (HBL) for a prolonged career of 26 years spanning from 15th April, 1975 to 15th July, 2001 with last position he held was Vice President.
He played his entire club cricket for the Cantonment Gymkhana, Lahore. For his club, he excelled, in the capacity of an all-rounder and his medium paced bowling was considered to be one of his most valuable assets. He had played his early cricket as a middle-order batsman and it was not until the dawn of the 1970-71 season that he decided to switch over, to an opener.
In 1970-71, it was in this capacity he was selected to represent Lahore in the inaugural National Under-19 Championship. Missing the first match against Sargodha, he replaced a ‘suddenly found-overage” Talat Ali in the fixture against Karachi and scored patient 14 runs. In the same year, he also made his first class debut at the age of 18 years & 8 days for Punjab University against Rawalpindi Greens at Punjab University Ground, Lahore in the BCCP Trophy and scored 86 & 74 in two innings. Batting with Nadeem Ahmed (70 & 59 not out) he gave Punjab University opening starts of 143 & 115 runs in the two innings, the first time a Pakistani pair had done so in a first-class match. Agha Zahid’s next five innings in the BCCP Trophy brought him scores of 47, 76 not out, 64, 35 and 17 taking his total to 399 runs, at an average of 66.50 runs apiece. In the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy he made, score of 112 against Railway A and a 220 runs first wicket partnership with Talat Ali. Agha Zahid appeared in all their nine first class matches of the season and his personal contribution with the bat in his debut season was 582 runs at 44.76 runs apiece. Agha Zahid was then being talks of as a very outstanding discovery that too as an opening batsman.
In 1971-72, he had a moderate season. Perhaps, because for most of the time, Punjab University played him at number five or six and that might have affected his natural game. But, in a festival match arranged to celebrate the 2500 years of the Iranian Monarchy, He opened for Punjab XI against Pakistan XI at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore and made 41 & 12. However, his highest of the season was 80 made for Punjab University against Lahore at Iqbal Parks Ground in the semi-final of Punjab Governor’s Gold Cup Tournament.
In 1972-73, he had a very short season in which he got only three innings for the Pakistan Universities and scored 96 runs at 32.00 runs apiece with the highest score of 82 runs, which scored against Punjab at Aitchison College Ground, Lahore in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
In 1973-74, he was appointed Captain of the Pakistan Universities and this proved a fabulous year for him. In his excellent aggressive manner, he piled up 883 runs, at an average of 49.05 runs apiece in 11 first class matches. While playing for Lahore Blues in the semi-final of Punjab Tournament at Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore he hit (118 & 109) a century in each innings. With his medium-fast bowling, he also bagged 12 wickets in the season which includes a fantastic analysis of 4-3-4-3 besides scoring 27 & 98 for Lahore Blues against Bahawalpur at Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore. His only disappointment of the season came in the last match when Naeem Ahmed replaced him as Captain of the Pakistan Universities against the Sri Lankan tourists at Rawalpindi. He was flopped with the bat contributing only 4 & 0 in the match.
In 1974-75, he began the season on a disappointing note, scoring only 37 in four innings in the Punjab Tournament, but then he banged his way through to one tall score after another. In the five BCCP Pentangular Trophy matches alone, with 552 runs at 6900, he helped his Skipper Arshad Pervez to lead the Pakistan Universities to third position in the table. A magnificent 140 against Railways at Punjab University New Campus Ground, Lahore in a Quaid-e-Azam Trophy quarter-final was actually the innings which earned him his first Test cap. After that he was included in Pakistan team for the first Test match against West Indies, which to be played at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. It was a rain-ruined match and he opening both the innings with Majid Khan made score of 14 & 1 against a formidable bowling attack of the world. Agha Zahid should have been given another chance in the sunnier conditions of Karachi in the second Test of the two match rubber. But unfortunately he was dropped and medium-pacer Liaqat Ali was chosen for the second Test at National Stadium, Karachi, where the wicket helped no one but for the batsmen. The wet pitch in Lahore spoiled his entire test career and Agha Zahid never played for Pakistan again. So he is one of those unfortunate “One-Test Men” of Pakistan whose obvious talent was never utilized to full use.
In 1975-76, Habib Bank Limited made his first appearance in Pakistan domestic Season, signed Agha Zahid and Arshad Pervez, two Punjab University graduates. The opening partnership of these two played a pivotal role in the success of Habib Bank for the next many years. In contrast to his partner, Agha Zahid was not a big-hundred player but compensated with a solid Defence. His great value to the team was his consistency.
In 1976-77, he scored 668 runs at 35.15 with two hundreds in 11 first class matches. In the next season of 1977-78, when five Pakistan stars signed up to play in Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket in Australia and Pakistan Team regular opener Sadiq Muhammad had failed to reach a financial Agreement with the Pakistan Board and had refused to play against the touring England, Agha Zahid stood on the threshold but once again luck deserted him. He was dismissed for a pair, while playing for NWFP Governor’s XI against the tourists at Peshawar Club Ground, Peshawar. However, in the domestic season he scored 758 runs at 39.89 with four hundreds in 13 first class matches.
In his next three seasons from 1978-79 until 1980-81, he pelted 2152 runs at 45.78 runs apiece with six hundreds from 31 first class matches. In the following season of 1981-82, he enjoyed a rich vein of form by scoring 853 runs in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy alone and ended the season with an aggregate of 1218 runs at 58.00 in 13 first class matches. This was the first time he had crossed the four-figure mark in a domestic first class season. The following winter of 1982-83, he had 1220 runs at 58.09 runs apiece in 14 first class matches to his name, the highest aggregate of his twenty-three long first class career.
From 1983-84 onward until his retirement in 1992-93 his form gradually slumped and he could score only 4041 runs at 26.58 runs apiece with five hundreds in 90 first class matches. From 1986-87 to 1990-91 he was Captain of Habib Bank, a role he had previously performed when their original Captains Javed Miandad, Mohsin Khan and Abdul Qadir were on Test duties.
Since having said goodbye to playing active first class cricket, he switched towards Coaching. He served the Pakistan Under-15 in the Lombard Junior World Cup held at England in 1996. In the next season of 1996-97, he accompanied the Pakistan (A) team as Coach to take part in the SAARC Quadrangular Tournament held at Bangladesh. He was also the Manager and Coach of the Pakistan (A) to England in 1997.
He also had two stints with the Pakistan Juniors Selection Committee. In 1995-96 he was the Member and in 1999-00, he served as its Chairman.
He was also appointed Match Referee in Pakistan domestic cricket in 1996-97 & 1998-99. He was one of the CBFS beneficiaries during the Khaleej Times Trophy at Sharjah in October, 2001.
In 2001, by then PCB Chief, Lt Gen Tauqir Zia appointed him Chairman of PCB Curators Committee, which was later on upgraded as Chief Curator in 2004 and served until 2020 when he was retired. During his long association with the PCB as chief of curators he gave a new trend to standardization of the pitches all over the country besides having initiatives for sporting tracks. He was re-engaged in the same position in the PCB in 2022 and his innings is still continued.
He also had a distinguished career as a successful all-rounder in English Cricket League. In England he played for Devon CC and Barton CC between 1982 and 1986.
Overall in his first class career, which spanned from 1970-71 to 1992-93, he scored 13484 runs at 36.84 runs apiece with 29 hundreds & 66 fifties, besides taking 108 wickets with best of 5-24 in 227 first class matches, primarily as an opening batsman. He also held 136 catches.