ISLAMABAD (AP) Hanif Mohammad, Pakistan cricket's ''Little Master'' who lasted 970 minutes in what is still the longest innings in test history, died Thursday. He was 81.
Hanif died in hospital in his home town of Karachi, his son Shoaib Mohammad said. He did not give the cause of death but hospital spokesman Rasool Sarang said Hanif had cancer. He gave no further details.
Hanif played the longest individual test innings against West Indies at Barbados in 1958, scoring 337 runs. At the time it was also the highest individual test score and his lengthy vigil at the crease helped Pakistan to draw the test match by scoring 657-8 in the second innings after it had been dismissed for just 106.
Brian Lara of West Indies holds the current record of most test runs in an innings - 400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004.
Hanif also held the record of the highest first-class score - run out on 499 - while playing for Karachi in 1959. That record lasted until Lara hit 501 not out in 1994.
Famed for his solid defense, Hanif scored 3,915 runs in 55 test matches with 12 centuries and 15 half centuries at an average of 43.98.
Hanif played alongside his elder brother Wazir Mohammad in Pakistan's first-ever test - against India at New Delhi in 1952. His two younger brothers - Mushtaq Mohammad and Sadiq Mohammad - were in the same team when Hanif played his last test against New Zealand at Karachi in 1969.
''Today it's a big loss for Pakistan, he was a legend,'' Sadiq said.
Raees Mohammad, Hanif's fourth brother, played first-class cricket but did not represent Pakistan in a test.
Hanif's son Shoaib represented Pakistan in 45 test matches and 63 one-day internationals.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said the country had lost one of its greatest cricketing heroes. ''The entire cricketing fraternity, in this country and all over the cricketing world, is in mourning over the sad demise of Hanif Mohammad,'' he said in a statement.
''His sublime technical skill, his unflappable temperament and his resolve and staying power in all conditions were most remarkable and won plaudits for him and for Pakistan.''
Pakistan's former test captain and wicketkeeper Moin Khan said he always took inspiration from Hanif, calling him ''a genius of cricket,'' and adding ''it's a huge loss.''
ICC chief executive David Richardson said many batsmen around the world took inspiration from Hanif.
''His contribution to the game has been enormous and one can only imagine the kind of impact his batting had on others over the years,'' Richardson said in a statement.
''Hanif's triple-century against the West Indies was a legendary innings and unsurprisingly he was one of the original inductees into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.''