The perennially confused look on his face, almost always tinged with something precariously approaching boredom. Add to that the enormous bulk that he carried all through his playing days. Finally the almost comical running that cost him his wicket ever so often in the most unimaginable of manners.
Inzamam-ul-Haq was not really the archetypal model of a champion sportsperson. And hardly anyone would estimate him to be a master known for style and finesse. But, incredibly his laziness combined with elegance to form a conglomerate of surprising grace. The strokeplay was often esoteric. And it was not only in his dimensions, but also in the metaphorical sense, that he remained a pillar of Pakistan batting for years.
The laid-back approach perhaps served him in good stead while leading a bunch of volatile talents while dealing with the most curiously capricious cricket board of the world. His standard ‘The boys played well’ response continues to be mimicked lovingly, and his bewilderment at some of the questions thrown at him evoked chuckles. But, he was reasonably successful as captain, in spite of the infamous forfeit of the Oval Test and the mysterious death of coach Bob Woolmer during his stint.
In short, Inzamam almost always looked confused, out of place and bored, but he emerged as one of the giants of Pakistan cricket, and mostly a gentle one … bar the furious onslaughts that his bat sometimes indulged in.
One of the best batsmen ever produced by the country, Inzamam-ul-Haq was born on March 3, 1970.
Text: Arunabha Sengupta