One of the greatest Pakistani batsmen ever, Inzamam-ul-Haq (Inzy) was born on 3rd March 1970. 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
One of the greatest Pakistani batsmen ever, Inzamam-ul-Haq (Inzy) was born on 3rd March 1970. 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 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, 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.
In total, Inzamam set a record for scoring the most half centuries (83) in One Day Internationals, 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. However, he demonstrated vulnerability against swing bowling which resulted in his being dropped for the final Test of the series. 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.
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. 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.
Inzamam 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.
After announcing that he would retire (On 5 October 2007) 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 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.
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.
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.
In 2005, Inzamam ul Haq was awarded with the Sitara-e-Imtiaz.
Inzamam-ul-Haq is a prominent member of the Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic missionary organisation, and remains an influential personality in Pakistan cricket.