Ikhtitam ul Haq

Posted on March 20, 2007. Filed under: Cricket |

The sad end of Inzamam’s cricket career

The picture says it all. Head bowed in embarrassment, visibly shaken and looking like a man who has just lost the most important battle of his life. The cricketing career of Inzamam-ul-Haq comes to an end. The saga that began with a young man full of raw talent and devil may care attitude on the cricketing pitch ends with a grown man struggling to find the will to fight. A sad end to the career of yet another Sub- Continental cricketing giant.The match that hurried Inzi into retirement will forever be recorded as the biggest upset in the world cup history. A make shift team of part time players, playing without central contracts or huge endorsement checks humbled a team considered the most talented team on paper.

Lets talk about the two Inzis we have come to love and hate over the last 15 years. Inzi the batsman and Inzi the captain. As a batsman he had his shortcomings but one thing is undisputed. He was a very talented batsman. Making over 20,000 runs in International cricket is no small feat. As of today there are only three batsmen in the history of the game who have scored over 20,000 international runs, Tendulkar, Lara and Inzi; with Dravid and Ponting very close to the target. An elite group of players that everyone who ever dreams of wielding the willow professionally tries to emulate. A large number of his test centuries have come in a winning cause for Pakistan. His ratio of centuries in wins is only second to the god of cricket, Don Bradman. No one can steal away his place as one of the greatest batsmen Pakistan ever produced.

Now comes Inzi the captain. Elevated to the post of captaincy based on seniority, an old Pakistani tradition. His captaincy can only be summarized as a mixture of mediocre successes and embarrassing failures. As a captain his lack of vision and absence of motivation was evident for the whole cricketing world to see. His look in the field told the spectators and viewers that he didn’t want to be there. No words of encouragement for the bowlers and fielders. No tips and tricks to pressurize the batsmen. No show of anger for poor performance. Hard to believe that a person who had played under the captaincy of Imran Khan would not pick some morsels of wisdom from the most successful captain in Pakistan’s history. With all his shortcomings, he did in fact had one thing common with Imran. His strong likes and dislikes for certain players but for very different reasons. Imran went to extremes to keep the players he supported, Qadir, Wasim and Inzi himself. Inzamam kept the players he liked based on personal preference first and talent second. It was made clear in the news that Mushtaq’s appointment as the bowling coach for the World Cup was made on Inzamam’s insistence. A bowling team with one full time and one part time leg spinner who were both far from automatic selection in the playing eleven was coached by a former leggie. The whole world saw it as a stupid move but Pakistani team stuck with the plan and paid dearly in South Africa and the Caribbean.

The one thing that I personally have an issue with is the shot of religion that was given to every member of the team in large quantity. Rumors were common that the team is pressurized to pray together since it was considered the sure shot method of gluing the team. The motto “ if you want to play together , pray together” became a butt of jokes everywhere. Every time Inzi appeared before the camera or a microphone, we were given a heavy dose of religion. Apparently it was supposed to make Pakistani team the best in the world. No bright bulb in the “tablighi ijtamah” also known as net practice pointed out the absence of religion in other teams who were a lot more successful in the cricket ground without having God to take credit for their success and blame for their failure. No genius ever pointed out to them that religion has nothing to do with cricket. The Pakistani team that won the cup in 92 was made up of drinkers, gamblers, pot smokers and playboys.

Pakistan cricket is at the bottom right now. As a matter of fact we had hit the bottom some time ago and then started digging. It is time to shed the tradition of appointing the captain on seniority alone. Captaincy should only be given based on merit. The team should be given a strict message as far as physical appearance is concerned. We can do without the models of “best of Taliban” calendar playing for our national team and representing our country as ambassadors in the whole world. PCB should spend some money on getting the team members a little help in spoken English and in management. Lets make sure that we don’t have another great player again bowing out from the world of cricket with his head pointed at the ground.

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4 Responses to “Ikhtitam ul Haq”

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Looking at the amount of humiliation suffered by the cricketrs I really feel Cricket should be banned. People forgot to be a sport and accept the defeat with same pride, Sports are not about winning or losing its about playing….ONLY PLAYING…so be a sport and prepare urself for the nexr world cup.

Kashish, cricket is not just a sport for us Pakistanis. It is our sole entertainment, It is a passion, It is the national past time. It is the only thing that unites us as a country.

The humiliation suffered by some in the team is not a big deal for the fans. We raised them to the status of superstars and we can take that away. They are paid very handsomely to play the sport and represent us on the cricket field. They should not be flustered by the public disappointment when they loose badly. They should not complain when they act like they are the cricket team of the talibaan instead of Pakistan.

Amateur sports are just sports. Professional sports are entertainment. No accolades for non-performance. Professional sports are war. No respect for losers.

Kashish,

In Pakistan and India our societies are so screwed up that cricket is the only thing that gives us something to be proud of. In 1992 when Imran Khan lifted that crystal trophy above his head, he elevated the entire nation to a new height and being a witness to that I can say by personal experience that the view from the top was just amazing.
Unfortunately for us that was the only time we saw that view and looking at the current state of Pakistani cricket I fear that I would be talking to my grandchildren one day telling them how good a feeling that was.
I will have a slight twinkle in my eye 🙂

Alibhai and Liptondicha,

I guess you guys are right…I’ve never had such an influence of anything over my life, may be thats why I cudn’t think it that way..though i won’t deny that i myself would be proud of my nation if they reach the topmost level in any field.


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