Nadir Shah: Larger than life
Nadir Shah, an international umpire from Bangladesh, passed away on September 10 after prolonged suffering due to cancer. He was the youngest of the Shah brothers and arguably the most versatile.
The surname Shah is almost synonymous with cricket in Bangladesh ever since the game got going in the country. During the 70s and 80s, the abode of Late Dr. Shah Abdul Majid, Syedi Munawwar Majid and their sons at Dhanmondi 5 was a place very familiar to many cricketers who were close to the Shah sons -- Azim Shah, Jahangir Shah Badshah, Munna Shah and Nadir Shah.
Many an evening would be spent in the grassy lawn of their house talking and discussing nothing but cricket and the fun and frolic would often go deep till evening.
Azim Shah, eldest of the Shah brothers played first division cricket for quite a few years for Dhanmondi club as did Salim Shah, the only southpaw in the family and a dashing batsman who passed away in the year 2014 after settling down in the USA.
Badshah, arguably one of the finest all-rounders this country has produced, was a fast bowler with admirable action and was the most distinguished cricketer of the Shah brothers. Badshah was also a national footballer during the early 70s and represented Abahani KC for
Shahed Shah also played representative matches for Bangladesh like his younger brother Nadir during the early 80s and was a prolific run-getter for Azad boys club.
Munna Shah and I opened batting regularly for Dhaka University as well as Azad Boys club before we parted ways for our respective banking careers.
Meanwhile, known for his lackadaisical approach to cricket and life in general, Nadir was a very popular figure within the cricketing fraternity. Never known to mince words, Nadir would often get in trouble for putting his foot in the mouth.
His demeanor, at times, would be so detrimental that it even saw his umpiring at the international level cut short. It was a little too late for the tall and lanky player to make a comeback as an international umpire as he fizzled away gradually from what promised to be a glittering career.
Essentially a hard-hitting middle-order batsman and a leg spinner with a quick arm action that often led batsmen to indiscretion, Nadir was a sought-after player during his days as he played for all the top sides like Abahani, Biman, Mohammedan Sporting and Azad Boys club with distinction.
More often than not, Nadir would get embroiled in heated cricketing arguments with friends and leave most of them aghast, bewildered as his razor-sharp tongue would drive home the point. The whiplash effect of his deliberations meant that his honest and unbiased observations were better respected.
Nadir was a man whose integrity was never in doubt and his fearless approach meant that he had what one needed to officiate a cricket match. Hence, it was no surprise that Nadir was able to make a mark as an international umpire in no time. He stood in 40 ODIs, six Tests and three T20Is and also had 73 first-class matches under his belt.
The ban imposed on umpire Nadir in 2013 was the only blemish in his career. But still, those who knew him well enough could vouch for his undoubted integrity and that money could never lure him to being indiscreet.
However, a thin margin of error in modern-day cricket and the adopted zero-tolerance policy on controversial issues that could disrepute the game were probably what may have led to Nadir's suspension.
Nadir, who lived life in his own terms, could well be a proponent of Ernest Hemingway's words: " About morals, I know what is moral is what you feel good after, and what is immoral is what you feel bad after".
Your genuineness and warmth will forever be remembered, Nadir Shah. You are in the heavens safe and sound.