Naveed Cheema 1943-2018

The long overdue obituary of Naveed Cheema begins with an apology to his family and friends. As a warm cheerful soul, his death in Lahore on 11th April 2018, aged 74, was a blow to the cricket fraternity, both in Pakistan and the U.K. A very likable figure with great sense of humour, Naveed is badly missed in the social circles of Lahore. Six months prior to his death, he underwent a heart by-pass but this time, did not survive a heart attack.

Born in Sialkot (Punjab), British India on 5th June, 1943, Naveed Iqbal Cheema, was one of five sons of Chaudhry Mohammad Iqbal Cheema, lawyer by profession, who also entered politics. Naveed did his matriculation from Government HS in 1960, twice helping the school to become Sialkot district cricket champions, by overpowering Islamia HS.

Slim and of average height, Naveed made it into Crescent CC, one of the leading cricket clubs of Lahore, led by Agha Saadat Ali and elder brother, Pervez Cheema, as his deputy. He appeared for the club in the hot-weather Wazir Ali League. As one of the promising all-rounders - a right-hand lower order batsman and right-arm medium-pace bowler, Naveed also attended the 1962 Pakistan Sports Control Board summer camp in Karachi and formed lifelong friendship with Shafqat Rana, Saleem Altaf, Younis Ahmed, Mumtaz-ur-Rehman, Haroon Shah, Zia Burney, Najum Latif etc. So much so, that Shafqat named his son, after his dear friend.

He took the new ball alongside Saleem Altaf for Government College, Lahore and starting with the 1961-62 would spend four years under three captains: Shafqat Rana, Zafar Altaf and Pervez Sajjad. Naveed also represented Universal CC, captained by Asif Masood. 

On his first-class debut, in the 1962-63 Quaid-i-Azam Trophy, Naveed, besides Mumtaz-ur-Rehman and Haroon Shah, went down ‘absent hurt’ for Pakistan Universities against Karachi B. The three players walked out in protest of the captaincy being handed to Agha Javed Saeed, instead of Zafar Altaf. Thereafter there was solitary appearance for Lahore Reds in the 1965-66 Ayub Trophy and for Pakistan Customs in the 1973-74 BCCP Patron’s Trophy. Though Naveed only made three first-class appearances, he continued to enjoy, strong bond with Lahore-based cricket players and administrators, till the very end.

After his graduation, whilst studying for masters in Economics, he arrived in England. After a couple of matches for Turnham Green in 1967, he spent the next three seasons with Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. Aijaz Baig, a close friend and a batting partner at Walton-on-Thames, recalls, ‘Naveed, was a powerful striker of the ball. Once he said he will give me a strike for I was nearing my hundred, but to my amazement, his sweep sailed over the boundary for a six. He moved the ball both ways and was a useful bowling all-rounder in the English conditions.’

He worked in the construction industry in Karachi for 15 years. In the 2004-05 period Naveed was employed by PCB as General Manager Development. Till his latest health bout, Naveed was working in a hospital – besides being one of the trustees. He is survived by son Saqib and daughters, Saba and Sadaf.

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