Inzamam-ul-Haq pronunciation ;Punjabi, Urdu: انضمام الحق; born 3 March 1970), also known as Inzy, is a former Pakistani cricketer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Pakistani batsmen ever. He is the leading run scorer for Pakistan in One-Day Cricket and the third-highest run scorer for Pakistan in Test cricket, after Younis Khan and Javed Miandad. He was the captain of the Pakistan national cricket team from 2003–07 and is considered to be one of the best leaders in Pakistan Cricket history. Inzamam is currently the chief selector in Pakistan Cricket Board.
Inzamam rose to fame in the semi-final of the 1992 Cricket World Cup, in which he scored 60 off 37 balls against a strong New Zealand team. His strong batting performance also propelled Pakistan to victory in the final of the 1992 Cricket World Cup. He remained one of the team's leading batsmen throughout the decade in both Test and ODI cricket. In 2003, he was appointed captain of the Pakistan team. His tenure as captain ended after Pakistan's early exit from the 2007 Cricket World Cup. On 5 October 2007, Inzamam retired from international cricket following the second Test match against South Africa, falling three runs short of Javed Miandad as Pakistan's leading run scorer in Test cricket. Following his retirement, he joined the Indian Cricket League, captaining the Hyderabad Heroes in the inaugural edition of the Twenty20 competition. In the ICL's second edition, he captained the Lahore Badshahs, a team composed entirely of Pakistani cricketers.
Inzamam-ul-Haq is a prominent member of the Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic missionary organisation, and remains an influential personality in Pakistan cricket.
One Day International Cricket
Inzamam made his (ODI) debut in a home series against West Indies in 1991, and made a good start to his career by scoring 20 and 60 runs in two matches against West Indies. This was followed by 48, 60, 101, and 117 runs against Sri Lanka.
Handpicked by former Pakistan captain Imran Khan for the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, 22-year-old Inzamam was relatively unheard of before the tournament. To the surprise of many he was persevered with throughout the tournament, coming in at various positions in the batting line-up, despite not being very successful early on. Yet it was his performances at the most crucial stage of the competition that made fans and summarisers take note. Inzamam rose to fame in Pakistan's dramatic semi-final against New Zealand at Auckland. With his side in a precarious position, chasing 262 against an impressive New Zealand side, he hit a fiery 60 run innings from just 37 balls to rescue his side and guide them into the final. The innings was regarded as one of the finest World Cup performances. He hit a massive six in that match which was described by David Lloyd as the shot of the tournament.
Inzamam made an equally vital contribution in the final of the World Cup, scoring 42 runs off just 35 balls, helping Pakistan reach a score of 249 after a sluggish start. These innings established Inzamam's billing as a big-game player, although he was unable to replicate his World Cup success in later tournaments.
Inzamam regard his best least highlighted innings of 90 not out against West Indies when Pakistan won their first ODI in the West Indies on 27 March 1993.
In total, Inzamam set a record for scoring the most half centuries in One Day Internationals, 83 – though this is now surpassed by Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis and Kumar Sangakkara. He also became the second batsman to score 10,000 runs in One-day Internationals (again after Tendulkar) and was named in the ICC World XI for both Tests and One-day Internationals in the 2005 ICC Awards. In his final ODI for Pakistan, playing against Zimbabwe in the 2007 Cricket World Cup, he took three catches whilst fielding, including the last one of the match, ending his One Day career.
Inzamam made his Test debut in 1992 against England at Edgbaston. He had little opportunity to make an impact in that match – he was not out with a score of 8. However, in subsequent matches he demonstrated vulnerability against swing bowling which resulted in his being dropped for the final Test of the series after averaging a lowly 13.20 runs per innings. Pakistan went on to secure a famous win in the match, taking the series 2–1.
After the England series, Inzamam aimed to establish himself in the Test side and he achieved this brilliantly, helping his side to many memorable victories. One of particular note came against Australia in Karachi, 1994, when he made 58 not out with the tail and helped Pakistan to a one-wicket victory and a 1–0 series win. As well as helping his side to become the top-ranked side in the world for a brief period, he achieved personal success by becoming International Cricket Council's number one ranked batsman in 1995 He later went on to reclaim top spot in the rankings in 1997. He remained amongst the top 20 ranked batsmen up until his retirement. He was the number one batsman in the world three times and held the title of the 3rd best batsman several times in his career including a long run from 2004–2006, the last time being after his twin fifties at Lords against England in 2006. The tour of England in 1996 was a particular success for both Inzamam and Pakistan, where Inzamam transformed his batting against seam bowling, averaging 64 runs per innings, with scores of 148, 70, 65, and 5.
|Inzamam-ul-Haq's results in international matches|
His Test career highlights include 329 against New Zealand in Lahore in the 2001–02 season, which is the second highest Test score by a Pakistani and the twelfth highest overall. He also scored a century (184 runs) in his 100th Test, becoming only the fifth player to do so (after Colin Cowdrey, Alec Stewart, Gordon Greenidge and Javed Miandad; Ricky Ponting subsequently emulated the feat). Inzamam made a century in each innings of the second Test match against England in 2005, to become Pakistan's leading centurion with 24 centuries, breaking Javed Miandad's record. His 25th century in the 2nd Test against India on 22 January 2006 made him the 10th player to score 25 or more centuries. He also managed 138 not out when the team was on the brink of a humiliating defeat against Bangladesh, eventually saving the Test match and leading his team to victory. His 92 not out against South Africa in late 2006 again showed his ability to bat in a crisis in a match winning manner. He scored twin half centuries when all appeared lost to draw the first test in Mohali against India in 2005, and also scored 184 runs in his 100th test match in the same away series causing the series to be drawn. He still holds the record for most consecutive half centuries against a country with nine in nine innings against England. This streak started from 31 May 2001 and lasted till 13 July 2006. He scored a century and a half century at Lords in 1996. His 118 against Australia in Hobart almost won the test for Pakistan but Adam Gilchrist's match winning 149 not out made the difference. His average in matches won is second only to Donald Bradman and Kumar Sangakkara.
After announcing that he would retire after the second Test against South Africa, at the stadium where he made his international debut, Inzamam needed 20 runs to surpass Javed Miandad for the record of most runs for a Pakistani Test cricketer. After falling for 14 in the first innings, he was dismissed for 3 in his final innings by Paul Harris, out stumped, leaving him three runs shy of the record. He needed only 70 more career runs for a batting average of 50.
Inzamam made his debut in English county cricket in August 2007 at the age of 37. He joined Yorkshire County Cricket Club as a replacement for Younus Khan who left to play for Pakistan in the 2007 ICC World Twenty20. He was disappointing on the whole, making eight on debut at Scarborough's North Marine Road against Warwickshire before making nine and seven in his opening Pro40 games.
Indian Cricket League
In 2007, Inzamam joined the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League (ICL). In the inaugural competition, Inzamam captained the Hyderabad Heroes and scored 141 runs in 5 matches. In the 2008 competition in March, Inzamam captained the Lahore Badshahs, composed entirely of Pakistani cricketers.
The move to the ICL has proved to be a controversial one for Inzamam. The Pakistan Cricket Board's stance on players joining unsanctioned leagues has meant that he has been banned from playing in any domestic competitions in Pakistan or any involvement with the international team. However, given Inzamam's recent retirement, this is unlikely to affect him.
It is reported that he was paid Pakistani Rs. 100 million (US$1,100,000) which was the highest salary for any player participating in the league along with the likes of Brian Lara.
Helped by his six-foot-three-inches frame, Inzamam has been known to be a very destructive batsman in both One Day Internationals (ODIs) and Test matches. He has the ability to pick the length of a delivery very early and play very late. His footwork is generally considered to be fast, enabling him to position himself early for shots. He averaged just under 50 runs per innings in Tests and nearly 40 runs in ODIs, with a strike rate of 54.03 and 74.23 respectively. Inzamam is especially strong when playing shots off his legs and has been considered to be amongst the best employers of the pull-shot in world cricket.
His batting style has brought him fans from all over the world. He was called "the best batsmen in the world against pace" by Imran Khan, because "he seems to have so much time on his hands before the ball reaches him".
Inzamam does, however, have a reputation for being a poor runner between the wickets. He has the dubious distinction of being run-out the second highest number of times in ODIs, having been run-out 40 times [behind Marvan Atapattu (41 times)].
Inzamam captained Pakistan in thirty Tests, winning eleven, drawing nine and losing ten. Only three players have captained Pakistan in more Test matches, but all have better win-loss records and only Imran Khan has a lower win percentage than Inzamam. Although the Oval Test match in 2006 was poised as a victory for Pakistan before the controversy took place and had it not occurred, Inzamam's record would have had a win more and a loss less. However, Inzamam held the captaincy until March 2007, the longest captaincy tenure since 1992, when Imran Khan retired.
Captaincy had a positive effect on Inzamam's batting, often leading by example in pressure situations, averaging greater as a captain (52) than without (50). In ODI's Inzamam also held the highest average as captain in ODI's and is currently third on that list behind the former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting and the Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. After early failures in Australia, he took a depleted Pakistan side to India in 2005 and played an important role in securing a draw by winning the final test match from an unlikely position with an innings of 184 runs. He subsequently led his side to an ODI success against West Indies (away), England (home) and Sri Lanka (away) as well as Test Series victories against England (home), India (home), Sri Lanka (away). Inzamam had seemed to have united the Pakistan side and victories led them to 2nd place in the ICC Test Rankings and 3rd place in the ICC ODI Ranking. The latter part of Inzamam's tenure as Pakistan captain was less successful and the team was embroiled in many controversies culminating in a disappointingly early exit from the 2007 Cricket World Cup at the hands of lowly ranked Ireland.
In the 2007 Cricket World Cup, Inzamam captained the Pakistani team to its first loss to associate ICC member Ireland (on St Patrick's Day). This result and their previous loss to West Indies, led to them being knocked out of the tournament. A day later he announced his retirement from One Day International Cricket and resignation as Test captain. The announcement was made the same day that Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's coach, died in his hotel room in Kingston, Jamaica. He dedicated his final ODI to Woolmer to whom he shared a good relationship with for three years and affectionately called him 'The Bob'.
In December 2012, Inzamam was appointed as a batting consultant to Pakistan's national team on a short term basis, in preparation for the 2013 tour of India. In October 2015, he was appointed as the temporary head coach of the Afghanistan national cricket team for their tour of Zimbabwe in October 2015. His contract was renewed until 2017 after successful tour of Zimbabwe where they won both the ODIs and T20Is which was Afghanistan's first series win against a Test playing nation.
As the coach of the Afghanistan cricket team, Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe again in the Group Stage of ICC World Twenty20, which helped them progress to the Super 10 stage. His team battled hard against Sri Lanka and South Africa but were unable to pull off a victory despite valiant efforts. In their final game of the tournament, against the table-topping West Indies, they managed to secure a historic victory.
In a 1997 Sahara Cup match against India in Toronto, Inzamam assaulted a member of the crowd, Shiv Kumar Thind, a Canadian-based Indian, who had been comparing Inzamam to several kinds of potato over a megaphone. According to eyewitnesses a cricket bat was brought out by the Pakistan team's 12th man, Mohammad Hussain, who then waited at the boundary with the bat. Television replays confirmed those statements. The Guardian newspaper quoted another eyewitness as saying "If not for the spectators and security staff curbing him, he would have broken the head of that guy. The guy with the megaphone was no match for Inzamam and got mauled. Even when Canadian police took Inzamam back on to the field, he was trying to get back to the stands."
Oval test incident
On Pakistan's 2006 tour of England, Inzamam captained a team that refused to re-enter the field after tea, on 20 August 2006 at The Oval after allegations of ball tampering from umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove. The umpires had awarded England five penalty runs and the choice of a replacement ball, after ruling that Pakistan had illegally altered the ball.
Inzamam and his team staged a protest at the decision. During the protest the umpires, having tried to persuade Inzamam to come out of the dressing room, decided that the match could not continue. Later, Inzamam returned to the field with his team, only to find both the umpires and the English team absent. After further discussions between both teams, umpires and cricket board officials it was eventually agreed that the match could not be restarted. Thus, Inzamam became the first captain in history to forfeit a Test match. Inzamam was later charged with tampering with the ball and bringing the game into disrepute (the latter charge associated with the teatime protest). He strenuously denied the charges. On 28 September 2006 the allegations of ball-tampering were dismissed, however he was found guilty of bringing cricket into disrepute and given a four match One-Day International ban with immediate effect.
In 2006–07, controversy arose that Inzamam and other players who were members of the Tablighi Jamaat Islamic missionary group, were coercing other players and giving preferential treatment to those players who grew beards and prayed regularly. The then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf expressed his concerns to the then-PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf, who warned Inzamam and told the players to stop public displays of religious beliefs. Late Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer also stated that while religion fostered a degree of unity, it also interfered in the team's training and practice sessions. Inzamam publicly denied accusations of forcing Islam on other players.
Awards and honours
The Pakistani Government, in 2005, awarded Inzamam ul Haq with the Sitara-e-Imtiaz.