It was Pakistan's 1977 tour to Australia that the tale was born to be a folklore. Majid Khan was a class apart ; grace, majesty and seeming abandon with a dismissive flourish.

Australia had had a good measure of him in his previous tours when he had scored his hundreds with the same careless abandon despite facing what was then the world's best pace attack in Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson.

Gentleman to the core, lavishly gifted for both style and refined rounding of top education, he impressed many with his poise including the opposing teams. Otherwise immaculately dressed on the field, he wore a beat-up threaded hat - he batted and fielded in the same hat.

No helmets - gentlemen don't wear helmets to the crease; these came much later.

In Sydney then Dennis Lillee was on fire, he had already taken a few wickets but Majid who opened the innings with Sadiq Mohammed was still around and had hooked an increasingly frustrated Lillee for a couple of sixes over the boundary.

That is when Lillee walked up to him and said , '' I'm going to knock off that darn hat of yours.''

To explain to the uninitiated, a fast bowler worth his salt would endeavour to make his delivery rise from a pitch to aim at a batsman's head. Lillee could do that and that is what he was threatening Majid with.

Majid offered him the hat if he could as much as touch it than blow it off with the ball. And this is a Test match, remember.

Perhaps Majid dispatched Lillee for another one or two as Lillee aimed to knock Majid's hat off. Lillee finally bowled one that rose and disturbed Majid's hat on the head; first askew, which then simply dropped off Majid's head.

What did Majid do? Walked up to Lillee and presented his hat to him. Lillee bowed and accepted it. This was then a gentlemen's game and gentlemen played it.

And if memory serves me right it was turned into a more formal event after the match when a proper presentation of the hat was made by Majid to Lillee.

The World Students Society thanks author Shahzad Chaudhry.


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