A Dialog with Nauman Niaz


Over time some outstanding collections of cricket memorabilia have been put collectively. Sadly for we mere mortals these are typically in personal arms, so we don’t get to see them. There are museums after all, that at Lord’s being one I’ve been to on a few events however, my predominant curiosity being the literature of the sport, these journeys haven’t been totally fulfilling.

David Frith had a surprising assortment of all sorts of memorabilia, together with books, pamphlets and the opposite printed ephemera that fascinate me a lot. That assortment is being damaged up as I kind this characteristic, the primary tranche of it having gone underneath the hammer in March this yr. However a minimum of I’ll at all times have my copy of that weightiest of tomes, The David Frith Archive, so while I’ll by no means odor, see or contact the Frith assortment I can a minimum of marvel on the breadth of its protection of cricket historical past and film it in my thoughts’s eye.

Just one different assortment has been the topic of the same mission (mockingly sufficient by the identical writer) and that’s the topic of the 2 quantity Collector’s Eye, printed in 2021. That assortment remains to be rising and, given it’s situated in Islamabad, it’s simply as effectively that it’s illustrated so extensively in Collector’s Eye. So as to add to my pleasure on that topic the gathering’s lucky proprietor, Nauman Niaz, is type sufficient to ship me occasional updates as regards to his newest acquisitions.

Earlier generations have had their outstanding collections as effectively. Pat Mullins and Tony Baer assembled them within the latter years of the 20 th century, and earlier than them there have been the likes of Joe Goldman and Sir Julien Cahn and, for anybody , there may be some proof out there of the objects all of them owned. Certainly within the case of Mullins and Baer their collections now repose on the Melbourne Cricket Floor, so can be found for public viewing.

However not one of the collections I’ve talked about had been assembled in the identical means as Nauman’s. The person is a real polymath, as is inevitably going to be the case with a person who has received to this point in life in so many various fields of human endeavour. Cricket could also be his old flame, and all in all he tells me that cricketing objects make up round half of his private museum, however there are numerous different outstanding objects in there.

So what else does Nauman accumulate? It must be talked about briefly if solely to provide an thought of the vary of his pursuits. Thus the very first ‘reveals’ in Collector’s Eye are a number of signed pictures. You may count on to see the likes of WG Grace, Fuller Pilch, Ranjitsinhji and John Wisden, however actually these featured are Adolf Hitler, Erwin Rommel, Abraham Lincoln, Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, King George VI and Diego Maradona. A measure of simply how spectacular Nauman’s museum is is the look of awe within the facial expressions of the lads on this {photograph}. Ordinarily none of Ian Chappell, Vivian Richards or Rashid Latif are, I’d think about, simply impressed and, displaying them spherical, even Nauman’s face betrays a way of surprise at what he has been in a position to put collectively.

So now you’ve an thought of the type of man I’m coping with, and the issue of the duty of confining oneself to only a few questions. However the benefit of the web is that we will have as many instalments of this dialog as Nauman is ready to indulge me for, so right here’s the primary set of questions and Nauman’s responses;

At what age did you begin amassing and what was the primary space of curiosity attracted your consideration?

From a really younger age I used to be into preserving something that belonged to me, in contrast to different contemporaries or kids, I cleaned my toy vehicles and stored them in particular pouches. I additionally preserved my quarterly report playing cards in school, even the sharpened pencils. I don’t know whether or not it was hoarding or sense of possession or a instrument of retaining the recollections alive. 

I used to be seven years outdated once I first noticed reside cricket, the primary Take a look at between Pakistan and New Zealand held at Lahore’s Gadaffi Stadium. Javed Miandad made his debut and posted an impregnable 163. I had a match brochure in my hand which I received signed not solely by Javed however all the Pakistan group and in addition all of the New Zealand gamers. 

It was at round this age that my maternal uncle, himself a Ranji Trophy participant and a First Class cricketer, Khawaja Rauf Zakria Kitchlew, introduced me with two books. One was a primary version of the Jubilee Ebook of Cricket by Shri Kumar Ranjitsinhji that was printed in 1897, and the opposite an impeccable copy of Imperial Cricket by Sir Pelham Warner that was printed in 1912. I stored them close to my pillow and hardly slept that evening. 

My mom, who had been an everyday as a spectator to nearly all of the matches performed at Lahore’s Bagh-i-Jinnah, gifted me her autograph guide which contained autographs of the 1951 MCC group that toured Pakistan. It was additionally signed by the Pakistan group which travelled to India for his or her inaugural Take a look at sequence in 1952-53, the India group that arrived in Pakistan in 1954-55, and the New Zealanders who got here to Pakistan in 1955. 

Even these gems weren’t the whole thing of the treasure trove, which continued with the signatures of the MCC ‘A’ group led by Donald Carr in 1955-56, the Australians who visited in Pakistan 1956, the West Indians who got here in 1958-59 and the 1959-60 Australians. After that I started amassing the autographs of all First Class cricketers, and having pictures signed on match brochures and magazines. I used to be twelve years outdated when it began. There was no trying again. So I had begun as an autograph collector, and the books adopted, these I started buying by the point I used to be 13 years outdated. 

Did the remainder of your loved ones encourage you, or did they simply allow you to get on with it? 

Pampered and cherished unconditionally I used to be inspired by my household who absolutely endorsed my ardour. My father incentivized all of it. If I received A grades in school, I used to be gifted a handful of cricket books and so forth. As defined, even my maternal and paternal uncles spurred me on. 

We have now already established your amassing tastes are an eclectic combine, however I’m a cricket lover so inform me what your predominant curiosity is, and has that modified over time? 

You’re proper that my tastes as a collector are an eclectic combine, nonetheless I’m deeply into pre-war and the Edwardian age memorabilia primarily the signed postcards, the autograph sheets, and uncommon handkerchiefs. Sure, over time it has modified and the alternatives have reworked. I now hunt down first editions of the rarest books, ideally inscribed or signed, and prints from the likes of JC Anderson, George Beldam, Chevallier Tayler in addition to match used bats and different gear, even stumps. 

And now I’m going to interrupt some unhealthy information Nauman – any second your museum is about to fall sufferer to a pure catastrophe – do you keep along with your treasures and face no matter is coming or flee with what you possibly can carry? 

I’ll stick with my treasures and face no matter is coming

I used to be very assured that may be your response, and I wish to suppose I’d do the identical. So let’s faux, only for a second, that you simply determine on flight. I’m going to can help you take ten objects with you. What are they going to be?

That could be a merciless query, however within the spirit during which you ask it I’ll reply. I feel I’d attempt to protect the next:- 

  1. Felix On The Bat inscribed and hand-signed by the creator (1845)
  2. Presentation Copy of WG Grace’s Cricket printed in 1891 (one of many ten printed)
  3. Hand-signed Lillywhite’s Scores & Biographies Quantity I & II (hand-signed by Fred Lillywhite) in 1862. 
  4. Victor Trumper’s match performed bat from 1899 (Lord’s Take a look at)
  5. Sir Donald Bradman’s match performed bat
  6. Australia to England in 1909, giant authentic hand-signed {photograph} 
  7. MCC to England 1907-1908 hand-signed group {photograph} 
  8. Match used bat of W.G. Grace 1905
  9. Match used bat of Shri Kumar Ranjitsinhji 1896
  10. The unique ball used within the 1902 Take a look at between Australia and England the place Gilbert Jessop walloped a match profitable century. 

Which does embody three books, however as a bibliophile that’s my predominant space of curiosity, so I made a decision to dwell on the purpose and requested Nauman to inform me about some extra of his books. I gave him a large temporary, however careworn that I needed him to incorporate not solely his treasures, such because the three books he had already talked about, but in addition his favorite reads. Ultimately he got here up with fifteen extra titles. They’re an attention-grabbing choice, and in no explicit order are:-

Kings of Cricket by Richard Daft (1893)

It is a guide I’ve written about earlier than, right here, so is not going to go into element once more. Nauman’s is quantity six of the subscriber’s version.

The Cricket Subject by James Pycroft (1922)

One of many early books on the sport the primary version of Pycroft appeared in 1851. Between then and 1887 the guide ran by eight extra UK editions in addition to one within the US. A closing version, edited by Ashley-Cooper was printed in 1922. It could appear shocking that Nauman’s copy is of the final fairly than the primary version, however then solely the 1922 model appeared in a particular restricted version. Nauman’s copy is quantity 60 of the 100 printed

Past a Boundary by CLR James (1963)

The best cricket guide ever printed? There have actually been loads who’ve made that declare and it’s a guide that Stuart Wark reviewed right here, and I subsequently wrote about right here. I dare say that it’s the well-known essay on WG that draws Nauman as a lot as something, and he has a really particular copy. It’s a first version after all, fascinating sufficient in itself, however this one is inscribed from James to G Neville Weston, a famous collector and nice skilled on WG.

Scores of Matches 1786-1822 by Henry Bentley (1823)

One of many first books printed on the sport Bentley is nothing greater than a group of scorecards, and rudimentary ones at that. It’s nonetheless one of the wanted objects of cricket literature notably, as Nauman after all has, a duplicate with the 2 dietary supplements for 1823 and 1824/25 current. For we mortals nonetheless there’s a most tasty facsimile that was printed by Roger Heavens in 1997, and which has the additional benefit of a scholarly introduction by David Rayvern Allen.

A Few Brief Runs by Lord Harris (1921)

The autocratic Harris is greatest often known as an administrator, however he was additionally a tremendous participant who led England in 4 Assessments in opposition to Australia and that is his autobiography. 

An Australian Cricketer on Tour by Frank Laver (1905)

Earlier than the format for tour books grew to become set in stone Australian all-rounder Frank Laver wrote this glorious account of his journeys to England with the 1899 and 1905 Australians.

With Stoddart’s Group in Australia by KS Ranjitsinhji (1898)

Thanks largely to Ranji’s 175 England gained the primary Take a look at of the 1897/98 Ashes sequence however, sadly, regardless of the nice man ending the sequence with a median of fifty England misplaced the opposite 4 Assessments. After returning dwelling Ranji produced this basic account of the journey.

Stray Ideas on Indian Cricket by J Framjee Patel (1905)

This was the primary guide printed that appeared on the historical past of cricket in India within the spherical. Just a few earlier books had been written, however they focused on the sport amongst the Parsi group. Patel’s guide is obtainable to all as a reprint. Nauman’s copy nonetheless is, after all, a primary version.

With the MCC in Australia by Philip Trevor (1908)

This guide is the one account of the 1907/08 Ashes sequence. It was printed on poor high quality paper and few copies survive. Nauman’s is after all an authentic, however due to UK vendor/writer JW McKenzie a contemporary facsimile is obtainable.

Memento of Arthur Shrewsbury and Alfred Shaw Cricketers by WF Grundy (1907)

A modest 93 web page guide this one pays tribute to 2 of the best English skilled gamers of the ‘Golden Age’ being the Nottinghamshire pair of Shaw and Shrewsbury. The previous, a formidable bowler, had died simply earlier than publication and Shrewsbury, a tremendous batsman, had taken his personal life 4 years beforehand.

‘WG’ by WG Grace (1899)

This was the nice man’s autobiography, a cumbersome 524 pages ghost written by Arthur Porritt. Nauman’s copy has a most outstanding survivor for an 1899 guide, its authentic mud jacket.

10 for 66 and all that by Arthur Mailey (1958)

Nicely obtained on publication in 1958 the status of this entertaining memoir from Australian leg spinner Arthur Mailey has, unusually, grown over time. 

Lambert’s Cricketer’s Information by William Lambert (1816)

Books of this age are both poems, collections of scores or tutorial, and Lambert falls into the latter class. It appeared in a minimum of 13 editions, together with what was described as a twentieth, though no copies between 13 and 19 have been recorded. All incarnations of the guide are, unsurprisingly, exceptionally uncommon. Nauman’s copy is considered one of his newer acquisitions, and a second version.

Curiosities of First Class Cricket by FS Ashley-Cooper (1901)

A lot of Ashley-Cooper’s publications are troublesome to amass, typically showing in brief runs of only a few copies. Curiosities of First Class Cricket, as its title suggests, is an entertaining assortment of the weird and strange tales concerning the recreation that Ashley-Cooper tracked down in his intensive analysis into the historical past of cricket, and is likely one of the simpler of his titles to supply. That stated there was a restricted version of 100 signed, numbered and specifically certain copies, of which Nauman’s is one

Alfred Lyttelton: His Dwelling Coaching and Earlier Life by Edward Lyttelton (1916) 

Alfred Lyttelton was a double worldwide, representing England at cricket and soccer, and is greatest identified for taking off his wicketkeeping equipment in 1884 and taking 4 Australian wickets in fast succession along with his underarm lobs. A profession politician in 1917 Lyttelton’s sister, Edith, wrote a full biography. This one, a lot slimmer and far rarer, was written by brother Edward, additionally a soccer worldwide, a First Class cricketer and for his day job very long time headmaster at Eton School. The worth of Nauman’s copy of the guide is tremendously enhanced by being accompanied by a prolonged letter from the creator to a member of the Hunter Blair household.

Which I feel concludes how a lot I can pester Nauman about his assortment at this stage, however relaxation assured that I’ll do my greatest to get him again for an additional session within the close to future.

However lastly, having whetted the urge for food of all who’re studying this, to be happening with listed below are only a few photographs of Nauman’s museum.

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