Inzamam-ul-Haq made a grand entrance into cricket prominence at the 1992 World Cup. Trailing badly to New Zealand in the semi-final, Inzamam came up and made 60 off just 37 balls to help Pakistan to get to the final, which they would win.
In the years since, Inzamam would stamp a reputation as a gentle giant who could command the middle of a batting order, always cognizant of where he and his bat were in relation to the wicket, always knowing that getting a single and staying at the crease was far more vital to his team’s success than taking a shot at the six. All that despite being a big, powerful striker of the ball when he wanted to be.
Inzamam announced his retirement on Sunday (from the one-day team but still opening himself to future Test selection). Though he did so hours after learning about the death of coach Bob Woolmer prompting criticism from observers who felt he should have delayed the announcement.
Among his highlights, his 329 in a 2002 Test match against New Zealand, the best of his 25 centuries in Test play to go with 10 one-day centuries.
But for an unassuming guy, he also had a couple of occurrences where he was very controversial.
One of them was the infamous Test against England at The Oval in London in 2005. With his team being charged for ball-tampering by umpire Darrell Hair, Inzamam led his troops off the field in protest. Later, when his team decided to return to the pitch, Hair ruled that Pakistan’s actions resulted in a forfeiture of the match, the first in Test history.
The other took place about 10 years ago. I was in the press box on a sunny Sunday afternoon in September at the Toronto Cricket, Skating, and Curling Club for the second Sahara Cup match between India and Pakistan. During India’s innings, the gathered press looked across the pitch and saw a ruckus. We also saw that Inzamam had climbed into the stands holding a cricket bat.
What happened was that an India fan using a megaphone constantly heckled Inzamam, calling him, among other things, a rotten potato. Inzi grabbed a bat that Pakistan’s 12th man had supplied him, and went after the fan. If his teammates and security hadn’t restrained him, there was every possibility he would have cracked the guy’s head open.
Fortunately, cooler heads eventually prevailed and Inzamam shook off that incident and went on to a career where he performed with class.
In other news:
Now police are not sure if Bob Woolmer died of natural causes. Mark Shields, the deputy commissioner of police in Jamaica, said they are now ruling the death of Pakistan’s coach as suspicious. While they won’t speculate on the cause of death, these developments have led many to believe that there may have been foul play after all.
Upon hearing the news, the Pakistan team indicated that they did not want to play their final match against Zimbabwe stating they were not in the right frame of mind. However, Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, asked the players to play the match because of its implications for both Ireland and Zimbabwe, both of whom are trying to join the West Indies in the Super Eights round.
Here’s what happened the past two days.
NEW ZEALAND 331 FOR 7 DEFEATED KENYA 183 ALL OUT BY 148 RUNS
The Blackcaps are beginning to resemble the All-Blacks, their famed rugby side, in the way they are dominating matches. The quartet of Ross Taylor (85), Craig McMillan (71 runs), Scott Styris (63) and captain Stephen Fleming (60) paced the victors. Ravi Shah (71) led the Kenyan reply.
SOUTH AFRICA 188 FOR 3 DEFEATED SCOTLAND 186 FOR 8 BY SEVEN WICKETS
Openers Graeme Smith (91) and AB de Villiers (62) paced the tournament favourites to their second lopsided win. Dougie Brown’s 45 not out was the best of the Scottish attack.
SRI LANKA 318 FOR 4 DEFEATED BANGLADESH 112 ALL OUT
Sanath Jayasuriya opened with a spectacular 109 to pace Sri Lanka. Kumar Sangakkara (56) and Chamara Silva (52 not out) helped Sri Lanka
reach their total. Hampered by rain, Bangladesh was unable to get going except for Mohammad Ashraful who made 45. Sri Lanka plays India on
Friday. A loss by India, and Bangladesh need only beat Bermuda on Sunday to get through.
PAKISTAN 349 ALL OUT DEFEATED ZIMBABWE 99
(Due to rain during Zimbabwe’s innings, the Duckworth-Lewis calculation was used. Pakistan was awarded victory by 93 runs)
Imran Nazir paid tribute to his late coach and his retiring captain in fine style, making 160 runs. A nice consolation victory given the emotions of the past few days. The victory also guaranteed Ireland’s place in the Super Eights.
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