Inzamam ul Haq
Inzamam ul Haq is generally regarded as one of cricket’s finest players. He served as captain to the Pakistani cricket team between 2003 and 2007. Inzamam’s ability to play successfully under pressure has been regarded as one of his key strengths. However, his career has also been plagued by controversy. In particular, he was blamed for his team’s shock defeat against Ireland during the 2007 Cricket World Cup, as well as their subsequent elimination from the series. Inzamam retired from the international game in 2007. However, he still plays an important role within the sport. He continues to play English County Cricket and has signed up with the newly formed Indian Cricket League.
With cricket as popular as it is in Pakistan, it comes as no surprise that Inzamam showed considerable interest in the sport from an early age. He was a prominent player on his state cricket team. However, it was Pakistan’s former captain, Imran Khan, who was responsible for discovering Inzamam’s talents. Inzamam began his career at the age of 22 during the 1992 Cricket World Cup, held in Australia and New Zealand. Despite his status as a newcomer, Inzamam adopted various positions in the Pakistani team’s batting line-up, according to the team's requirements.
This element of versatility was an important component in Inzamam’s game and is crucial in explaining his later success. He matched his versatility with real batting success. In the crucial 1992 World Cup semi-final match against New Zealand, Inzamam scored an instrumental 60 runs off a mere 37 balls, thereby helping his team to proceed to the finals.
One-Day International Career
Inzamam’s one-day international career has included many splendid innings. However, he has several important records to his name. In particular, he has scored the highest number of half centuries in one-day cricket. He is also only the second batsman to have ever hit more than 10,000 runs in this form of the game. Currently, he is second only to the famed Indian batsman, Sachin Tendulkar. He was also chosen to be part of the prestigious World XI team at the 2005 International Cricket Council (ICC) awards.
Like his career in one-day internationals, Inzamam’s test career was very successful. He is currently Pakistan’s highest test centurion and has 25 test hundreds to his name. During the 2001-2002 season, he scored a triple century against New Zealand. He hit a whopping 329 runs, much to the delight of Pakistani fans in Lahore. Inzy, as he is often amiably referred to, is one of just a handful of players to have hit a century during their 100th test innings.
As a result of these achievements, Inzamam has maintained his high standing in international test batting rankings. Sadly, for Inzamam, though, he was unable to surpass Javed Miandad’s record for the greatest number of runs scored by a Pakistani batsman in test cricket. Inzamam missed this milestone by a mere 3 runs.
However, as captain of the Pakistani cricket team for 25 tests, he has led his team to victory in a mere eight matches, drawing a further eight and losing nine. This record proved poor, particularly when compared to the standard set by his predecessors.
During his career, Inzamam was regularly described as one of international cricket’s most formidable batsmen. His calm poise on the field, even during times of crisis, meant that he was a force to be reckoned with, despite the fact that he rarely opened Pakistani innings. However, he was criticised on numerous occasions for being a poor runner between the wickets. He was run out on 40 different occasions during his one-day career.
Inzamam’s career was marred by much controversy. Few cricket fans will be able to forget Pakistan’s disastrous loss to Ireland during the 2007 Cricket World Cup, which resulted in Pakistan’s elimination from the tournament. This was followed by the shock death of the Pakistani cricket coach, Bob Woolmer. Although Mr. Woolmer was later found to have died from natural causes, Pakistan’s unexpected defeat against Ireland, along with this mysterious death and the team’s history of involvement in match-fixing, led to intense accusations of foul play. The entire Pakistani team was caught up in this scandal and their captain took most of the criticism.
Inzamam was also involved in a high-profile scandal involving allegations of ball-tampering, during a test match against England in August 2006. The umpires presiding over the match accused Inzamam and the other members of the Pakistani team of tampering with the ball