Dilawar kept wicket for India in three Test matches. On his debut, Dilawar was made to open the innings against England on a green wicket in Calcutta in 1933-34. He was hit on the head by a delivery from Morris Nichols and retired. He returned with a bandage over his head, and was hit on the thumb by Nobby Clark, but top scored with 59. He made 57 in the second innings and is one of the few Test cricketers to top-score in both innings on debut. He had started his first-class career making 64 and 112 in his first match. His last appearance came about in the 1936 Indian tour of England; Dilawar was studying at Cambridge University at the time and joined the team in England.
He played first-class cricket in India from 1925 to 1941, with a gap between 1935 and 1938 while he was studying at Cambridge.
Richard Cashman  writes that he had an encyclopedic memory which enabled him to recall cricket score sheets at will and was also a "great eater and talker", "who could liven the passing hour with an unbroken monologue on any subject from philosophy ... to the art of seasoning a good curry".
Dilawar was known as "Professor" in his later years. He took a doctorate in Philosophy and was a double MA degree holder. He served as the Principal of the Government College, London, and the Muslim Anglo-Oriental College in Lahore. He was a founder member of the Cricket Control Board in Pakistan and a selector.