Wallis Mathias: Pakistani Christian Cricketer

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Wallis Mathias was a first Pakistani Christian cricketer who played in 21 Tests from 1955 to 1962. He was an inexhaustible run scorer in Pakistani national cricket and Pakistan’ first good slip fielder.

Bottom row from left Intikhab Alam, Wallis Mathias, Mushtaq Mohammed, A Ahmed and Munir Malik.
Bottom row from left Intikhab Alam, Wallis Mathias, Mushtaq Mohammed, A Ahmed and Munir Malik.

He was a son of a gatekeeper at the Karachi Gymkhana Club. Mathias was a sophisticated right-handed middle-order batsman. In his test career, he made 3 half centuries, all of them against West Indies. In 1958-59 in the Second Test against West Indies in Dacca, he top-scored in each innings with 64 and 45 as Pakistan won a low-scoring match by 41 runs.

He was also a gifted slip sportsperson with excellent reactions whose “great skill was to make hard chances look simple”. According to Imtiaz Ahmed, the Test wicket-keeper at the time, he was Pakistan’s first good slip fielder, who “changed the atmosphere in the slip cordon”, which previously had been the field of players “who did not want to run”.

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He was an inexhaustible run scorer in Pakistani national cricket He made 1357 runs in 13 matches at an average of 113.08 in the next four years after he returned from the tour of England in 1962 including his career-best score of 278 not out for Karachi Blues against Railways Greens in 1965-66. Four years later he became a part of the newly made National Bank cricket team and became their first ever captain. He played for them until 1976-77 and later helped as a coach. Mathias was died of a brain hemorrhage in 1994 at the age of 59.