Anyone who takes time to look at the newspaper clippings on the walls of Sterling Cleaners at Northwest Highway and Abrams will learn that owner FEROZ MEHDI — known to his customers as “Frank” — is an accomplished cricket player. Over 15 years of playing in both his native and , he broke a 100-year-old record for the most “centuries” scored, a record he still holds.
WHAT IS A “CENTURY,” AND CRICKET, FOR THAT MATTER?
Cricket is similar to baseball, actually, but different rules altogether and different scores. In cricket, scoring a century is a big achievement — it’s scoring 100 runs in one game without getting out. When I struck 43 centuries, I broke the record held by a South African guy.
WHEN DID YOU START PLAYING CRICKET?
I started in school days in , and I was a college captain. Then I went to university, then turned professional in from there. I went on a two-week vacation to when all of this started, and I was taking an evening walk after my meal. The club was right next to the house where I was staying, and they were practicing. They asked me if I knew anything about cricket, and I said, ‘You could try me on.’ I didn’t tell them I was pro and all that. I was batting, and one of the guys ran up to the clubhouse and he invited all the officials in, then they offered me a job.
HOW DID YOU END UP HERE?
We used to come on vacation to the until 1998. At that time my career was coming to an end, and the law and order situation back home got very bad. We traveled all over the country to pick [where to live], and my wife picked Dallas. The first time I came to this country was 1981 to promote cricket as an ambassador from . We played our first game in Giants Stadium New York. Now if I tell anybody, nobody believes that I was standing in Giant Stadium. They were asking, ‘What kind of sport is this?’ The ball is a five and a half ounce leather ball, and we don’t use any gloves while fielding.
DOESN’T THAT HURT?
Yeah, it can break your hand, break your finger, everything. I had one operation here [indicating his right-hand pinky] after dislocating my finger while taking a catch.
WHY DID YOU STOP PLAYING?
I just stopped because I got tired of playing, and I got old. I still could have played more, but I stopped because it’s too time consuming now. I have my own business, and I get only Sunday off, and I spend it with my family.
DO YOU MISS IT?
No, I don’t because now I’m following my kids in American sports. My 16-year-old daughter, Fatima Feroz, she’s the No. 1 tennis player in Wylie, and my 11-year-old son, Faiz, he’s big time football crazy — supporter of the Green Bay Packers living in Dallas. Our entire success is my wife, Anita — she’s been a good luck charm for everything. When I got married, the first time I went out to play a game, I scored the highest run of my entire life — 163 runs. That was played in , and it was in all the newspapers. My wife didn’t know anything about cricket, and I told her, ‘Did you know what I achieved?’ So her first question was, ‘Did you hit any sixes [the highest possible score made when the batter bats the ball into the air and out of the 75-yard circle]?’ And I said, ‘No,’ and she said, ‘It’s no use then.’
WHY DO PEOPLE CALL YOU FRANK?
That started when first I started working here, and a lot of people coming in, they said, ‘What’s your last name?’ and I said, ‘OK, I have to make this simple for everybody.’ So I started calling myself Frank.