Mir Khasim Ali
The neutrality of this article is disputed. (February 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
This article contains wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information. (February 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Ali began playing table tennis in 1960 at the age of 11. At the 1963 (played in 1964) Nationals at Delhi, he burst upon the national scene with a string of convincing victories. He was the National Junior Champion 1963, the National Senior Champion in 1968 and 1969, runner-up in the Commonwealth Championships of the Afro-Asian Championships in 1971 and a member of the Indian T.T. team from 1966 to 1973.
As a youth he is said to have had excellent control and touch, as well as power in his smashes despite his frail build as he was slim and almost wiry. Khasim was a player who had that something extra which drew the spectators, particularly women. Other Champions had their fan followings too, but these were localised. Khasim's was nationwide.
His first trip abroad representing India was to East Africa in 1966. Also in 1966 in Sri Lanka (Ceylon as it was then called) where the South Zone Inter-University Championships were held. Khasim represented Osmania University, which lost in the finals to Bombay University, thanks to U.S. Gurjar who pulled off an upset win over Khasim.
Gurjar repeated the feat in the Madras Nationals in December 1966. In those days it looked as though Gurjar had Khasim's number and that Khasim was vulnerable against left-handers. But, after Madras, Khasim never looked back. He was National Champion in 1968 and 1969 and runner-up in 1970. In 1971 he met Zhou Enlai and was present during the Ping Pong Diplomacy between China and the United States. During his heyday, Andhra Pradesh reached the finals of the National team events on nine occasions, winning the title once, and until 1973 he was an automatic choice in the Indian team.
Among his contemporaries there were a few better attacking players and also some superior defensive players but none who could put all strokes as well together as Khasim could. He was a master tactician and time after time would find the right combination of strokes to subdue an opponent who seemed to have the heavier artillery and who appeared more in form, and in doing this, Khasim would play every stroke so elegantly that even his opponents' supporters could not help but applaud him loudly and frequently.
V. BALAJI - Souvenir of the Mir Khasim Ali Table Tennis Benefit Tournament, April 1985, by Iqbal Ali