No. Don’t do it. We know you’re 37, but since when has lack of fitness affected your game? Besides, you’re as svelte now as you’ve ever been. Inzamam’s appearance has always been deceptive though. Maybe his slimmer look is deceiving us too.
He’s got one more match to go – the second Test against South Africa and as one of our all-time favourite cricketers, we hope he goes out in style. In style, but also run out. It’d only be right.
Everyone’s got a favourite Inzamam run out story – that’s part of his appeal – but our all-time favourite Inzamam story is one of Mike Selvey’s from the Guardian:
“If I would pay good money to watch Inzy bat, then I would fork out double to watch him practice. Five years ago, before the final Test in Karachi, we were given a demonstration of what it is like to be a special case, one for whom the rules are bent.Pakistan, then under Javed Miandad’s tutelage, began their session with warm-ups and some strenuous training. It all bypassed Inzy, who had yet to leave the airconditioning of the dressing room. Fielding drills followed, during which he emerged, tracksuited and padded up. He wandered across to a large wicker chair by the nets and slumped down to observe the efforts of his team-mates.
Then came a net session that he also viewed nonchalantly for a while before deciding it was time for a spot of batting. So he unzipped his top, removed it, placed his green Pakistan helmet on his head, and strolled into the nearest net, where for 20 minutes he proceeded to bat like a prince, before deciding enough was enough. Out he came, collecting his extraneous gear on the way, and disappeared back to the dressing room, not to be seen again. Next day, of course, he made a century”.
That whole article’s worth a read.
The way he batted reflected this attitude. We know that you’re supposed to keep your head still at the crease, but Inzy kept his whole body still and for so, so long.
He’d take his guard at the start of the bowler’s run-up and he’d remain in this position long after the ball had left the hand. As the ball neared him and you began to wonder whether he was actually paralysed, he still wouldn’t move and you waited for the ball to strike pad or stumps.
Suddenly, with apparently urgent time constraints blithely ignored, Inzy would move directly into position, his wrists would cock and snap back again and the ball would skip across the turf into the boundary boards. You’d look back at Inzy, he’d have reverted to his initial stance and you’d question whether anything had happened at all.
Perhaps it was this conservation of energy that allowed him to dance down the pitch and strike sixes when he was on 280 en route to 329 off 436 balls against New Zealand in 2002. That was a match when only three other batsmen could pass 50. Add up every run scored in that match by both teams, every bye, every wide – Inzy scored over a third of those runs in his one innings.
We remember as well the 2005 series in Pakistan where he irritated England by scoring 53 and 72 in the first Test, 109 and 100 not out in the second and 97 in his only innings in the third.
Inzy’s Test average will be as good as spot-on 50 when he retires. That’s over a 120 Test career that took in Warne and McGrath, Ambrose and Walsh, Donald and Pollock as well as Muttiah Muralitharan. He needs 20 more runs to become the top Pakistani scorer of all time, having already set the equivalent record in one-day cricket.