March 21st, Sabina Park, Pakistan vs. Zimbabwe...INZAMAM''s LAST ODI MATCH
After he was caught scoring thirtyseven of just thirtyfive balls, the whole zimbabwian team wished him goodbye and shook hands with him for all that he had done over the years for cricket and for his country, but once inzi reached the boundry line, It was all about nostalgia as his Pakistani team mates wished him goodbye for what appeared to be his last ever ODI performance ever.
Seeing all this, Inzamam could not control and broke into tears on his way to the dressing room. His team mates tried to console and confront him but they couldn''t stop the Great one, since it was Inzamam who was the strongest amongst the team and his last ever one day match prooved to much for him to face.
I have watched him play ever since I started watching cricket and I had never seen him cry like he did in his match against Zimbabwe. So what really was the reason for Inzi to go out with such a sad exit, on a tearfull and definitely not a high note, not what he would have wanted to see himself leave with. Was it the loss of the Worldcup? Or Bob Woolmer''s death, Or moreover the speculations raising at that time claiming that he was murdered? What really made him cry like that?
Maybe it was more of the fact that he had never expected such huge upsets during his Worldcup campaign like loosing that crucial match to Ireland, the Death of Bob Woolmer and offcourse loosing the Worldcup all at once, all this was just too much for Inzamam to take and finally one of the greatest batsman History has ever seen headed into retirement knowing that whatever happened in the Carribean will haunt him for a long long time.
I got to talk to many other cricket fans from all over the world and all of them more or less said the same thing, "Inzi you made us cry with you". Surely with Bob Woolmers death, most of the fans here in Pakistan have forgotten the defeat and just want their team to get back to Pakistan as soon as possible because as of right now, things do not look good for Pakistan and with the Investigation going on with the Pakistani team, you never know whats next!
In terms of achievement, Inzamam stands along with one of the greatest batsmen of all times. He took the sport''s famous team Pakistan from Futility to Respectibility and then to Supermacy. Along his way he obilerated many other teams, humiliated them in all possibles ways, broke other team''s records including Runs, Centuries, Victories and Championships.
In his 337 matches, Pakistan won more than half, stood as the Man of the match in nearly two out of three and one more then a third as a Captain. Perhaps the greatest honour is that Inzamam - ul - Haq made it look too easy. He came into his prime at the end of the era of Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavasker and he leaves as the era of Muhammad Yousaf and Younis Khan is opening.
So how will history judge him?
Perhaps as the sport''s greatest Enigma..
A Selfish oppurtunist who never critisized his team..
A Ruthless competitor who gave everything to win..
A Batsman who gathered victories by the dozen, yet he rejoiced in each one as joyfully as though it was his first..!!
This much is certain about Inzamam - ul - Haq..
He was at once in a generation phenomina..
LOVE HIM...OR HATE HIM...YOU COULD NEVER IGNORE HIM..
A batsman..who reset the standards by which those who follow, will be judged..!
As this Worldcup is over, We can see that Cricket in Pakistan is once again in the act of transformation, New Management, New people, New players. How strange will it be to see Younis Khan as the side''s Captian. And offcourse Inzamam is gone, closing out a career that began 17 years ago and since he averaged about 40 runs per match and with 86 Half centuries, that is alot of glory suddenly up for grabs.
Thanks for all these years Inzi...You will be greatly missed!