ABID Hamid, who with dedication and sacrifice served the game of cricket in Zimbabwe for many years, died on Sunday after playing in a league match aged 51.
Hamid passed away Sunday night at a Harare hospital where he had been admitted after complaining of side pains while playing for his beloved Old Hararians club in the Harare Metropolitan province Vigne Cup second league.
In line with the Islamic religion, he was buried a day later at Warren Hills Cemetery in Harare.
Affectionately known in cricket circles as Abi, or just Hamid, he was a simple, cheerful, down-to-earth and respectful chap who loved cricket and lived for it.
With his chain-smoking and distinctive moustache, the bespectacled Hamid became an assuring figure at cricket grounds throughout Harare.
At the time of his death, he was the cricket section chairman for Old Hararians Sports Club, Harare Metropolitan province board member and provincial selector, first-class match referee and liaison officer mainly for touring Asian teams.
He once managed Mashonaland and Zimbabwe A, then last year was assistant manager for the Zimbabwe team at the Under 19 World Cup in Malaysia.
Abi was such a joy to work with. I worked closely with him when I was with the ZC media department: He energetically updated me on matches by text messages from South Africa and Malaysia where he toured with junior sides.
A stalwart of local domestic cricket, Hamid was a typical old-fashioned cricket administrator; voluntary, dedicated, fatherly.
It is a pity most of his contemporaries disappeared from the scene due to politics in the game, robbing the domestic game of skilled and mature leadership.
Hamid was there through the good and the bad times, gaining nothing of material benefit from it as he was never a fulltime employee of Zimbabwe Cricket.
At OH where he was a member since 1980, he had a number of good players of different generations come through the ranks; from the Penney brothers Trevor and Stephen, the Strang brothers Paul and Bryan, then the likes of Mark Vermeulen, Piet Rinke and Ryan Butterworth, and in the recent past he lured Prosper Utseya, Vusi Sibanda, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Elton Chigumbura and Tafadzwa Mufambisi from Takashinga Cricket Club.
A keen player himself, he occasionally played in the OH second team alongside his nephew Saad Khan, the OH captain, despite age having caught up with him. Last Sunday after one such match, he was hospitalised and lost his life to a game he so loved.
Born Mohammad Abid Khan Hamid in Chipinge, Manicaland on June 9 1957, he loved his country of birth, yet still very proud of his Pakistani roots.
Many know of the rivalry between OH and Alex Sports Clubâ€™s second teams which is famously dubbed â€œIndia v Pakistanâ€ locally because most of the players in the respective teams trace their roots to these two Asian countries.
Hamid was an ardent souvenir collector and once invited me to see his well-stored personal cricket museum at his Ridgeview home, an invitation I was unable to take up until he died.
I was however there to witness him collect another proud addition to his museum: the match ball that Sri Lankan new spin wizard Ajantha Mendis took six wickets with against Zimbabwe in the fourth ODI at Harare Sports Club last November.
All he socialised and worked with received the news of his death with great shock and sorrow this week.
In recognition of his tremendous work, Zimbabwe Cricket would honour him fittingly if they created an Abid Hamid Award for devoted service to domestic cricket.
BY ENOCK MUCHINJO