‘Should I enjoy scoring 329 or be sad about not scoring 8 runs?’: Inzamam-ul-Haq
In the year 1958, a diminutive batsman from a young 11-year old country, stood up against some of the fiercest fast bowlers of the time to script history. After being bowled out for a paltry 106 in the first innings, Pakistan needed a miracle to save the first Test at Bridgetown in Guyana. As the Asians followed, one man took it upon himself to keep the Caribbean bowlers at bay.
He stayed on the pitch for a mammoth 970 minutes, which translates to over 16 hours. A superhuman effort that not only helped him save the match for his team but also put his name in the annals of cricketing history forever. Hanif Mohammad till date holds the record for the longest Test innings, by minutes. His efforts with the bat also earned him the moniker ‘Little Master’, which was later used for Indian champions like Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar.
44 years later, Inzamam-ul-Haq would become the second Pakistan batsman to breach the 300-run mark in Test cricket when he scored 329 against New Zealand in Lahore. Running out of partners towards the end of that innings, Inzamam decided to go for the big shots and in the end was holed in the deep, just 8 runs shy of Hanif’s record.
In his own words he had no ambitions to eclipse the great knock by Hanif and his response to journalists asking whether he was upset on missing the mark won hearts.
“I remember asking the last man if he can hang around for a while. The expression on his face pretty much told me that it was all down to me. He wasn’t confident at all. So I started going for the big hits and eventually got caught near the boundary line. If I would have had a proper batsman at the other end, I would surely have carried on,” Inzamam said in a video on his youtube channel.
“I honestly didn’t have any ambitions that I would break Hanif bhai’s record. Had it been a world record it would have been another thing. But breaking a fellow Pakistani’s record never really attracted me. So, when I went in for the post match press conference someone asked me how sad I was to miss the record. I told them ‘should I be happy about scoring 329 runs or be sad about not scoring those 8 runs’?” the former Pakistan captain said.
Inzamam would go on to retire from international cricket with more than 20,000 international runs to his name across 120 Tests, 378 ODIs and 1 T20 international.