Inzamam-ul-Haq: The sleepy 'Sultan of Multan'

Updated on Mar 23, 2005 07:48 PM IST

The story goes that Inzy, after devouring a big breakfast, was snoozing with his pads on during the 1992 World Cup final.

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PTI | ByKunal Pradhan (Reuters), Bangalore

The story goes that Inzamam-ul-Haq, after devouring a big breakfast, was snoozing with his pads on in the dressing room during the final of the 1992 World Cup against England in Melbourne.

He was shaken from his slumber at the fall of a wicket, told to march to the centre and to be particularly careful against Ian Botham.

When he returned after a vital 35-ball 42, having shown no mercy to any of the bowlers, he was asked why he had not been more watchful while facing Botham.

The answer was simple. The 22-year-old, playing his first tournament away from home, had not recognised him.

As Inzamam, 35, gets ready for his 100th Test in the third match of the series against India starting on Thursday, the anecdote still sums up a man who loves his food, loves his sleep and manages to make batting look ridiculously simple.

He will be the fourth Pakistani, after Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram and Salim Malik, to reach the 100-mark.

In 99 Tests, Inzamam has scored 7,238 runs at 48.90. His consistency compares favourably with most of his rivals.

During the second half of his career and in his last 45 Tests since 1999, that average has swelled to 58.54. Sixteen of his 20 centuries have come in the period, including his two biggest knocks — 200 not out against Sri Lanka in Dhaka and a 10-hour 329 against New Zealand at Lahore.

The hallmark of Inzamam's batting is how late he plays the ball. With his ample bulk and almost lazy movement, batting just seems to happen to him.

Only the second Pakistani after Hanif Mohammad to score a triple-century, that innings showed he had tremendous staying power, although 206 of those runs came in boundaries, ensuring Inzamam did not have to expend too much unnecessary energy.

RUN, INZY

But for all his success Inzamam will also be fondly remembered as one of the worst runners between the wickets that the game has ever seen.

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