Book review of Inside Out by Mushtaq Mohammad printed by Uniprint.
Most sporting autobiographies fall into one of two traps. Either it is sensationalised by the "ghost" for obvious financial reasons, or it concentrates entirely on a statistical rundown of the subject's career which has a limited interest, other than for the buffs of his sport.
Not so with one of the better books to be published this year by an adopted 52-year-old Midlander who started life in Karachi, travelled the world and spent a some of his time in Northampton before he settled in Birmingham. Not too many combine the epithet of "Karachi Kid" with "Brummie", but Mushtaq Mohammad's Inside Out has done that and also produced a good, mixed read.
"Mushy" was born one of five brothers, including the legendary Hanif, in Northern India and the family moved to Karachi when he was five. His background was "wealthy middle-class", and his tale of early years during partition makes an interesting social comment in this section of the book.
Test cricket called early. Hanif had scored his historic 337 in the West Indies to save a Test match with the then 15-year-old "Mushy" earning increasing attention by runs and wickets in all forms of the game. Even so, he broke all records by making his Test debut at the age of 15 years and 124 days.
He remembers being hauled off a plane in Lahore and told he was playing, but he knew nobody and had nowhere to stay.
"An official told me to stay with my brothers who were already there, but I didn't know where and didn't find brother Wazir until midnight."
What a start to a Test career that was to bring him 3,643 runs at an average of 39, in a distinguished first class career in which he topped 31,000 runs at 42, including 72 hundreds.
His 57 Test caps would have been greater, but for signing for Kerry Packer's World Series. His chapter on the political machinations surrounding that venture is a fascinating one, including the dealings and double-dealings when he, Imran Khan and Zaheer Abbas were flown home from Australia to play against England.
England threatened to refuse to play against so-called "rebels", but it did not come to that when "Mushy" and the rest were told they could only play if they walked out on Packer, and they refused.
The sad postscript for him was that Northamptonshire terminated his county contract and he movingly writes of how he and Bishen Bedi were in tears as they packed their belongings to leave the East Midlands.
He puts his side of several points of difference, notably when Allan Border accused him of approaching him with an offer of £500,000 to lose a Test match at Edgbaston in 1993. The section about match-fixing and bribery is revealing.
As is the entire book, so don't let the reader be dissuaded from buying because of the overseas contact number.
Let him try mobile 07980832547, or email firstname.lastname@example.org - and let co-writer Richard Sydenham help. He has worked long and hard with "Mushy" on the autobiography, and both are to be congratulated.