The gentle giant of cricket, who tormented the bowlers around the world for far too long, impressed one and all with his gift of the gab on Saturday afternoon.
“After playing for 17-18 years, I’m suddenly no more a part of the dressing room. I miss it, but thanks to the Pakistan players who say they miss me, I feel honoured,” said Inzamam-ul Haq, who is set to start his new innings as an expert commentator for Zee. And he made his intentions quite clear by saying: “I think I am being hired to give a neutral opinion and that’s what I will do.”
But there was something that he strongly felt about and he didn’t shy away from expressing it. The omission of Rahul Dravid for the first two one-dayers has really disappointed him. “He is a great player, his axing was baffling. I think Pakistan would benefit from it. His experience would have helped India in crunch situations.” Inzy also brought to light the plight of cricketers from the sub-continent. “Now that I’m no more under ICC's purview, I think I can open my mouth. There have been a number of cases where it's evident that they (ICC) have come down harshly on players from the sub-continent.”
Speaking on the current India-Pakistan series he said, “Players like Tendulkar and Afridi can make a huge difference. They can turn the game around on their own.” Later he added Shoaib Akhtar and Virender Sehwag’s names to that list. On the much-talked about question regarding the retirement of Tendulkar he said, “It's up to the individual to decide when he wants to quit. I don't think Sachin, Sourav or Rahul are too old to continue. I quit at 38, Imran Khan did so at 39, so it depends entirely on the player.”
However, he added that the increasing number of matches was leading to player burn-out and that was forcing some to take early retirements. He even had a word of praise for MS Dhoni. “Whatever I’ve seen of him has impressed me. He is positive and does not hesitate to take chances even when the chips are down. He also has a clear mind.”