It is with great shock, sorrow and sadness that we have to announce the death of one of our stalwart member and friend Mr. Farrukh Malik who passed away on 31/12/2021.
Rookie, as we fondly remember was a popular figure in Belgian cricket. He represented and captained the Belgian National Team & Royal Brussels CC. Subsequently, he was the Head Coach at RBCC.
The club is devastated to learn of his passing. His presence will be missed by everyone in Belgian Cricket, especially at the Royal Brussels Cricket Club, to which he devoted over 40 years of his life. Our thoughts are and will remain with his family.
RBCC Honorary President, Ted Vorzanger, paid the following tribute to the great man:
“In the early ’80s, a young Pakistani by the name of Farrukh Malik arrived in Belgium and went to work helping, and working, with his brother who ran a curry restaurant called “Upstairs Downstairs” in Rue Archimede near the European Commission
He was probably about 18, but Farrukh himself didn’t know exactly his date of birth as hospital records in Pakistan were a bit hazy at the time.
He soon found the RBCC and at first, it was thought he was only a fast bowler, and he was certainly a bit quick!
Gradually though people realised he could bat as well as bowl, and it was not long before the club realised a special player had arrived as he started to move up the order and became a prolific run-scorer. He blossomed at the end of the ’80s and became the only person in the club’s history to twice score a thousand runs in a season, as well as doing the double of 500 runs and 50 wickets. Farrukh made more runs and hundreds than anyone else in the club and made them on the old concrete wicket, on Astroturf and on the grass in England. He adored cricket and spent a fortune on new bats, clothes, pads, gloves etc., and was always the smartest and well-dressed player on the field. He played in every game he could and joined the club tours to the UK. It was not only glory though as he had his share of adversity.
Sadly in the same year, his brother tragically died in a gas boiler leak at home and a parcel bomb sent by a jealous romantic rival exploded when opening it and it left him with only a couple of fingers and a thumb on his left hand. Just after an operation on his hand with pins and rods in it, it looked like the Eiffel Tower but with a towel wrapped around it he insisted on playing and bowling. Such was his passion for cricket.
Many people would have given cricket up after such a handicap. However, incredibly, he adjusted his game and still carried on making runs and taking catches which even players with two good hands would have found difficult. Later, he worked at Winners, a fitness club, near Place Madou, where he was a fine squash player and coach and dealt with the catering before finally starting his own catering business.
He became not only club captain, but also captain of the Belgian team in the early days of the Belgian Cricket Federation (BCF), and without help from the BCF, he spent his own money and time in getting the team together and arranging travel to get them to wherever they were playing. For nearly 30 years now, Farrukh was an integral part of the club, Mr. Reliable when it came to batting, he was always there to help, cooking and feeding visiting teams, (His Tikka Masala curries at the ground were legendary), helping with the ground and the wicket, going on tours and away weekends. He helped players with their technique and as his cricket career came to a close he devoted himself to coaching the juniors He won the cup for outstanding performance more than 5 times, and in the end, it was presented to him permanently as a gift.
By the end of the ’90s, he had also won the club’s ‘best batsman’ award so many times that the club gave him the trophy to keep. Later he was awarded life membership in recognition of his great service to the club. These 2 trophies sat in pride of place in his house, a tribute to the great love he had for RBCC.
There are many stories to tell of Farrukh, how his ability towered over everyone else, and how much he gave to the club, a huge debt we can never repay. He played in the true spirit of cricket and was an example of fairness and respect for the spirit of the game. There are three things he loved, his wife, his family and cricket. His presence will be sorely missed and we will not see his like again.”
A true legend, an honourable gentleman and an inspirational figurehead for so many generations of RBCC’ers. His presence will be sorely missed by those who knew him, whose lives he touched and the generations of young cricketers he coached and nurtured. Rest In Peace Rookie; may all your batting strips be as gentle as you were and your bowling strips absolute ripper.