Inzi, Inzimam-ul-Haq, a giant of a cricketer.No, that is not a pun on his size. It is in fact a statement to the magnificence of his career. A glorious, 17 year career, at the heart of Pakistan’s middle order. One of the stalwarts of the game. A reliable pillar for the team throughout those 17 years. He has the most half-centuries, centuries and the second highest amount of test runs to be scored by a Pakistani, a record which he could not better on by 2 runs. That record still remains with the master, Javed Miandad.
Some argue that it was destiny that he didn’t break the record, and that he earned those runs in much simpler and against much easier competition than did the former. It is hard to argue with that, considering Miandad compiled his runs against the greats of Australia like Lillie and Thompson, and of course the Calypso Kings, like Malcolm Marshal of the West Indies. While Inzi’s toughest challenge would always be McGrath and Warne, with Pollock and Murali close behind, and that’s about it. Inzi’s triple century came against a depleted and weak NZ team at Gaddafi. He amassed 1500 of his 8000 against lowly Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. So, yes… it is hard to argue with that.
However, one cannot take away the greatness of the career of Inzimam. The man played with utmost ease. It is a wonder at the amount of time he had on the pitch, before playing a shot. An eagle eye one could say. Perhaps so much talent that it was not fully utilized to it’s potential by the burly multani.
But Pakistan is and will always be indebted to the services of the great man. But for him, we would not be the world champions in 1992. But for him, we would have yet again be labeled cheats last year at the Oval. But for him, we would not have been on the winning side of a rubber, match or a series on countless occasions. Miandad, himself was happy in handing over the mantle of his team duties to Inzimam, for in him he found a successor. And he wasn’t far off with the suggestion that he would replicate Viv Richards. Of course he didn’t do that, but again that falls to perhaps the quality of opposition and the full utilization of his potential. He still remains one of the giants of the game.
Who cannot remember being exhilarated at the sight of big man coming at the back burner of a once again failed opening pair and top order? The calm look about him, the stagger to the crease, the absolute disregard to the tenacity of the situation, the just about making it to the other crease in a run, and the countless times hitting a 50 perhaps in a ODI to take us closer to victory. Countless.
(Funny fact: Inzi is the only batsman to have been out 7 different ways: the normal catch, stump, bowled, run out, LBW and in addition to this, handling the ball and disrupting the field)
Inzi has always been hailed as a great batsman, by team mates and opposition alike. He has made even the best of bowlers of the modern age wonder what to do next, and left them wondering. He hasn’t come with perfection, maybe the shortfalls of his captaincy showing the most, but he has been a vital asset for Pakistani cricket. I salute Inzimam-ul-Haq, for his invaluable services to the country for the past 17 years.
Thank you Inzi, it has been an honor growing up with you as an icon of my generation.