A true great calls time.

Today brings the announcement that Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq is to retire from test cricket after the Lahore test match versus South Africa next week. Having already quit the one day game, Inzamam’s retirement brings to a close, the career of one of the world’s best batsmen of all time.

He has always been an uncomplicated cricketer and in many respects a genuine throw back to what could be termed more relaxed times. Fitness was never at the top of his agenda. He fielded in the slips and was one of the safest pairs of hands you’ll ever see. Running in the field was a rare enough sight. And when batting, he was a stranger to the quick single, preferring to deal in boundaries or gentle ones and twos if necessary. Mind you, after 16 years at the very top and scoring bucket loads of runs, why wouldn’t he play the way he wants and not bow to modern pressures?

It sounds a bit like I’m having a go at him for being, well, a little large, and I’m not. I will always remember him striding to the wicket and praying that we could remove him early whe neven the best are vulnerable. Too often though, I have sat and watched the bitter-sweet sight of him scoring heavily against England. His grace at the wicket was a joy to watch. He kept it simple, always appeared to have time and his range of shots was unsurpassed. A magnificent batsman. One, unless you are Pakistani, that you are delighted to see the back of. And that is perhaps the biggest compliment you can give him.

He’ll be missed on the international stage but one hopes he stays on to coach the new generation. The game can always do with more Inzys.

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• October 5th, 2007 • Posted in Cricket • Comments: 0