Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq bade farewell to international cricket on Friday, disappointed he had failed to become his country’s top Test run-scorer but with no regrets after a great career.
Inzamam, 37, fell for three in the second innings of the second Test against South Africa to finish his career on 8,830 from 120 matches. He had required just six runs to overcome Javed Miandad as Pakistan’s top scorer.
“It is disappointing not to have got a big score in my last match. But there are no regrets because I have enjoyed a lot of success and got a lot of love from the people,” he told a news conference.
Former greats pay tribute
“I always rated Inzamam as equally talented as Lara and Tendulkar but Inzamam did not realise his huge potential and for me he could have done better than he did,” said Imran Khan, under whom Inzamam’s career took off.
“I rate him alongside Lara and Tendulkar,” said former teammate Wasim Akram.
“The lazy elegance, the craft, the sleepy walk and perfect timing -- all made him great. I think through his easy-going and calm demeanour he leaves behind a legacy,” he said.
South African paceman Alan Donald also paid tribute. “Bowling to Inzy was almost like bowling to a brick wall. Everything about him was unfazed, nothing could rattle him — he was so solid,” said Donald.
“It was a very emotional moment for me going out to bat one last time for Pakistan. It was very difficult for me to spend these last five days in the dressing room and on the field knowing it is my final Test. I am sad but have no regrets.”
Inzamam was stumped off left-arm spinner Paul Harris from his second ball. “There was a lot of pressure on me playing my final match. Today I went out to bat hoping to score quickly and give Pakistan a chance of chasing the runs.
“It happens. Sometimes the batsman wins, sometimes the bowler prevails. So it is part of the game. But I am happy that the team fought so well to draw the match in the end,” he said.
Inzamam was presented with a gold medal by the Pakistan Cricket Board at a graceful ceremony and had an enclosure at the Gaddafi Stadium, where he made his debut 17 years ago, named after him.
As he came out for the final ceremony, the Pakistan team gave him a guard of honour with their bats. Present captain, Shoaib Malik broke down in tears when his former skipper embraced the players after the match.
<b1>Inzamam said it would be difficult for him to adjust after retiring from cricket as the sport had been his love and life. “I have to move on. I am happy that as captain I have left a disciplined and good legacy in the team and I am sure under Malik they will go on to get many wins.
“I am thankful to the players who played under me for giving me lot of respect.” Inzamam, who retired from ODIs after the World Cup in March, rated the 1992 World Cup win as his most memorable moment and said he had idolised Vivian Richards and Martin Crowe for their batting.