Till date, Inzamam-ul-Haq, who has been Pakistan cricket’s most gifted captains ever, remains a symbol of strength and power. The leading run-scorer in internationals for Pakistan is celebrating his 48th birthday on Saturday as wishes from current, former cricketers as well as fans pour in.
Inzamam holds the record for the most international runs for Pakistan at 20,580. He is the leading scorer for his side in One-Day-Internationals with 11,739 runs in 378 matches and is the third highest for Test cricket at 8,830 in 120 matches, his highest being 329 against New Zealand.
Known for playing shots all around the wicket, Inzamam arrived at the international stage with a match-winning 60 off 37-ball in the semi-final of 1992 World Cup against New Zealand. He rose to fame as he went on to grab the World Cup title for his side, scoring 42 off just 35 balls. Another memorable knock played by Inzamam is against Australia in 1994 when he shared a last-wicket partnership of 57 with Mushtaq Ahmed in Karachi.
Inzamam went on to become ICC’s No 1 Test batsman in 1995, and reclaimed the spot in 1997. His career-best 329 came 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 became the second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to cross 10,000 runs in ODIs and was named in the ICC World XI for both Tests and ODIs in 2005.
Breaking records one after the other, Inzamam was honoured with the captain’s role in 2003. His last ODI came in the form of Pakistan’s shock defeat from 2007 World Cup. He left the field with a guard of honour given during the match against Zimbabwe. His last Test appearance was against South Africa, whose players applauded Inzamam as he walked onto the field in October 2007.
Once during a Sahara Cup match against India, ‘Inzy’ lost his calm against an Indian fan, who kept sledging from the stands, calling him ‘mota aloo’ (fat potato). Losing his cool, the right-handed batsman went straight towards the stand and beat the fan up. To make matters worse, Inzamam was holding a bat in his hand.