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December 19, 2006

World Cup 2007

Inzamam's mission to surpass Imran

Kamran Abbasi
Inzamam-ul-Haq receives the series trophy from Nasim Ashraf, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Pakistan v West Indies, 3rd Test, 5th day, Karachi, December 1, 2006
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Despite initial speculation that Inzamam-ul-Haq would not lead Pakistan in next year's World Cup, the cricket board has sensibly confirmed his appointment. I confess that I am one of the many who have often despaired at Inzamam's moribund captaincy - and it is something that might still cost Pakistan dear - but he is the obvious choice. Younis Khan, who retains the potential to succeed him, showed with his antics before Pakistan left for the Champions Trophy and his tactically suspect performance during the tournament that he was unready.

Inzamam, though, is on a mission, and that mission is to win the next World Cup and surpass his former captain, Imran Khan.

You might think that surpassing the Great Khan is something not worth contemplating but he is. And he believes he has the team to do it. Moreover, Inzamam has launched a campaign to build a hospital in his hometown, Multan. I'm sure that rings a few bells. Inzamam may not have Imran's leadership skills but he does have a dominant presence in the team, a persona whose moods dictate the mindset of his charges. Pakistan will need Inzamam to be exuding postive energy between now and the end of the World Cup. A return to the dark mood that engulfed the second half of Pakistan's tour of England will be a disaster.

The second piece of good news to emerge from Pakistan is that Bob Woolmer's position is secure until after the World Cup. Woolmer believes Pakistan had a good series against West Indies and he is upbeat about his team's chances in next year's tournament. He has always held this positive outlook even in the depths of the Hair incident when he considered resigning his post.

These moves are a vote for stability, a strategy supported by this blog. But the PCB has still got a long way to go to answer its critics. Particularly when it believes that the creation of a fielding award will improve the team's fielding, and then awards the prize to Inzamam. And perturbingly appoints a friend of the chairman of the cricket board and the president of Pakistan as its media manager for the World Cup. I don't think the PCB has ever understood how the media works - this is an organisation that pays for journalists to go on tours but who barely write a word - and I don't think it ever will. As long as friendship is more important than merit, Pakistan will never realise its talent in cricket or anything else.

In the true Pakistani way, one step forward and one step back. But the step forward is the one that matters for Pakistan's World Cup chances and it is the players who will create the memories to treasure and not the legion of hangers-on desperate to see their names in lights.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by Dr Tahir Khurshid, New South Wales Australia on (January 17, 2007, 11:33 GMT)

I can remember the 1992 Cricket world cup like yesterday. I was watching the match between New Zealand and Pakistan in Lancaster Park Christchurch. It was that great time and I was so merged in the game and proudly holding a big Pakistani flag in my hand. Boy! what a great moment when Pakistan won that match against New Zealand which caused Australia to depart from the world cup. Those were the happy days. I met Imran briefly and pat his back and wished him good luck. I met the rest of the team for a bit longer and chatted to great Javed Miandad and Inzy along with the rest of the team.

Later on I went to Melbourne to watch the grand Final. What a memory that was!

I wish that history repeats itself and I would like to see Pakistan once again win the world Cup under Inzi captaincy.

I strongly believe that we got a better team and we got better player this time around. We can do it and Inzi I remind you again that you can do it boy!

I wish you a very successful world cup that I wished Imran Khan in Christchurch years ago.

Posted by Vishwajit Iyer on (January 16, 2007, 4:19 GMT)

Frankly, I wonder what does Pakistan cricket gain by comparing the two when they are two different personalities. The world will remember Imran for giving the ability to pak team and belief in their ability to win(Inzi being part of that victroy) and Inzi has also had several match winning moments. I feel as a neutral observer, Inzi is the best man suited to lead the pak team, all those who accuse/comment on the bhai culture, the inability to speak in english, the beards et al.. should look only on the respective cricketing mertis of the individuals concerned...As a hindu indian, i have always enjoyed watching Inzi play, it is surely sickening to even neutral observers like us who just want to see and enjoy the game as it should be played-whenever such trivial matters as a persons religious beliefs or comm skills or weather he wears his left shoe first is used as a parameter for his selection...

Posted by Asif Khan on (January 8, 2007, 8:42 GMT)

Actually while looking back in the blog list i found the topic about the great batsman of all time Inzamam Ul Haque (inzi) I read the whole blog and found some special comments and i sort out the mental approach of the peoples first of all i would like to mention the comments passed by Mawali i dont know what is his problem he should better know that Islam is our priority then comes the game (cricket or any) then i would like to throw some light on Mr. Jawed from Toronto's comments Well, it is totally obvious, that if a person gets far from his origin, he forgets what he or she was. What was his soil and what is his position Mr. Jawed u live in the country like Canada, where there is no relation even brother, sister, mother, father or anything else. So, u dont know the importance of the word BHAI. u would know if u had respects for the elders. i would suggest u to come to your soil and learn these things, customs and attiquates from the mother(Pakistan) Then comes the comments of Mr.Anand Srivanas and Mr. Amit Jay Singh the both do not belong to the religion we do but their fact comments should open the eyes of people like Mr. Mawali and Mr. Jawed and Mr. Ahmed I salute u Mr. Singh and Mr. Anand U both have the respects for the Islam and game and spirit of cricket Thanx

Posted by 'mair on (January 7, 2007, 15:40 GMT)

Hey Kamran... big fan of your blog. I take huge exception to 'mawali's' earlier post. Which cricket has he been watching? Inzi's performances have been anything but sub-standard. He's been the cornerstone of our batting for so many years now, and I feel he's a pretty good captain. I was all for younis khan as well, but the champions trophy debacle makes me think younis needs more time. We need to honor our heroes, not belittle them. If Inzi is islamic, it's his way of life. If others choose to be inspired by him, it's there way of life. If he can't speak properly in english, so what?! He can speak pretty well in Urdu, and I'd like to remind mr.mawali as to what our national language is. C'mon Inzi! We are all behind you!

Posted by KRICKET KING on (December 28, 2006, 16:05 GMT)

For Mr. JAVED A KHAN and MAWALI....

I believe that both of you including some other members are simply ABCD's or (CBCD's). In case, you don't know what that means, American Born Confused DESI's or in your case Canadian Born Confused DESI's. MOSTLY JUST "CONFUSED desi's".

Anyway, Mr. Javed I believe you do mostly post Intelligent comments and I do frequent the PAK BLOGS to read enough.

However, one thing we should realize is that most of us support this team and not Australia or England or West Indies because we are Pakistanis. Hence, we support the Pakistani team. Now, I'm sure you all are aware that Pakistan is really the "ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN". We are all in essence even though immigrated to various different countries represent Pakistan and should not forget our true identity. I myself am a Pakistani Canadian. Pakistani first and Canadian after. For all history lovers, Pakistan was formed as a muslim nation. Our first language is URDU, not English. All though I pride in the fact that we have embraced multi-culturalism in Pakistan with different religions and ethnicities, one should still realize that we are a Islamic nation as USA is a Christian nation. Why else would the American president say after his speech "GOD BLESS AMERICA" and our new Prime Minister, Harper now says "GOD BLESS CANADA". My point is even in one of the most multi-cultural countries like Canada even politicians do not forget their identity.

As far as saying "INZI-bhai and younis bahi" or whatever, this is part of the PAKISTANI culture. It's about respect. It's about tradition. We call our elders uncle and aunti not because they are by relation but just for respect. We say "aap" not "tum" to our elders. This is why we are different from the western culture.

Sitting in Canada, there are those desis and goras who call there parents "bitch, stupid, bastard" and other swear words. But those desis are just confused and forgotten their culture. The younger Pakistani player's don't call the senior players "bhai" to earn a place in the side but because they are younger. For mutual respect by age and merit. And I am sure Javed A. Khan you are older than I am. So to you, take care JAVED BHAI! And many people refer to Mr. Kamran Abbasi as KAMRAN bhai, simply to give him his due respect; not to get their blogs posted.

Lastly, I am proud of the current Pakistani team and I am proud of Inzamam to represent PAKISTAN. He leads by example, humble and sublime and soft spoken. This is why he is respected by all teams.

By the way I do want to say that the current Pakistan team is only based on CRICKETING merit not by religion not by region not by race and not by how good the person speak's english.

However, I find it exemplery that the current Pakistani side truly represents PAKISTAN.

KRICKET KING, SAMI from TORONTO

p.s. Kamran bhai, many have also said that you should edit the blogs before posting because of spelling, grammer, etc. I suggest not to because there are people from Pakistan and other nations who post on this blog and their first language is not ENGLISH, so at least they try and we should respect them for that.

Posted by Aditya Mookerjee on (December 24, 2006, 3:42 GMT)

India, or Pakistan, have a very good chance of winning the World Cup, because of their teams, and the gentlemen, leading the respective teams. Inzamam is a good ambassador for his country. He leads, like Dravid, by not imposing himself, either positively, or negatively, on his team, but by managing his team, effectively, and without fuss. There doesn't seem to be any negative vibes, in the Pakistan camp, due to matters of ego, and this says a lot for Inzamam's leadership, considering the happenings of the past.

Posted by JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on (December 22, 2006, 11:03 GMT)

DISAPPOINTED by the rain Gods who interrupted the interesting and lively 20/20 match between SL and NZ and bored by the TV re-runs, getting disinterested and weary after checking on the Internet that the match has finally been decided on D&L method, I said to myself what a FARCE and decided to sign off. But, unintentionally and inadvertently I clicked on the blog and started reading the various posts and the comments of my brothers!

As I kept reading down the page, the feeling of boredom and the disappointment of not being amused and entertained by a live cricket match, started to fade off slowly, and I started to smile while I was reading those comments.

Based on the suggestions of the our "bhai log" who were demanding Kamran Abbassi to censor the posts and, or remove those posts which are in their view bear derogatory comments such as, Aloo or potato head, and the bad meaning that could still be extracted from it by the way it is expressed to defame someone who is pious etc., amused me even more.

It made me think of asking Kamran Abbassi whether it is possible for him to also add a few features to this site such as, spell checker, grammar, thesaurus, set language etc., as I observed so many grammatical blasphemies and spelling mistakes and the emotional outburst to defend religion and patriotism, which I thought should at least be addressed in a "bhai-bandagi" sort of way, if not in a gentlemanly way, because that is so British and alien to us. I am not trying to imply that my English is any good or better than other brothers, but I still try to a certain extent to express myself in this foreign language (which is not my mother tongue) without causing much embarrassment to myself or my country but I am definitely not trying to emulate our EUCEPH BHAI. :-)

I also agree with the suggestion of Khurram Dawood and thats what I have always been saying that Inzamam should speak in Urdu, PERIOD!. It is not his 'round, bulky' appearance as Mr. Tirmizi says but, it is his English and the way he articulates makes people laugh and he is our ambassador and I don't like that when others make fun of him. When he speaks in Urdu, he has a good sense of humour. I must quote that Inzi's comment here, when he told Ramiz Raja. Ramiz don't forget to mention in your report about this pitch that, "it is very difficult to play a full toss ball on this pitch" (he was referring to his clean bowled by Dave Mohammad) when Ramiz translated it to Ian Bishop he thoroughly enjoyed the comment and appreciated his sense of humour.

Having read all those comments, I changed my mind and I have a suggestion for Kamran Abbassi to keep these blogs in the archives and later print them out in its 'purest form' and publish them as his "memoirs". If the President can do that, why can't Kamran? It is definitely an interesting reading. For those who think I am in a way apologizing for calling Inzi (bhai) an Aloo, NO, I am not. I believe in freedom of speech and there was no malice in my comments and I love Pakistan as much as any other patriotic Pakistani bhai does. And I will not apologize for nothing.

And Mr. Mawali, people here steal your identity, it happened to me once and Kamran removed that post. But, you have almost, almost stolen my word, by calling him Pir Inzamam ul haq :-) Whereas, I often say he is Pirzamam ul haq and for his coolness, I refer to him as Itminanul Haq.. And once again, I totally, agree with Mr. Mawali's prediction, where Imran failed in politics, he will succeed. Hence the caption of this blog, "Inzamam's mission to surpass Imran," shall be accomplished off the field, and after the world cup, and on a different ground. Hailzamamul-haq !

Finally, for the Momin who asked me, "what have I given to Pakistan?" Mr. Momin, are we supposed to tell the whole world about what we give? Do you remember the Al-hadith."The best of alms is that which the right hand giveth and the left hand knoweth not of." narrated by Hazrath Ayesha. So why do you want me to announce it to the whole world about what I give, and what do you know about me? I think lets keep this emotional outburst, patriotism, brotherhood separate from cricket and get down to the basics and enjoy cricket for the next few months.With malice towards none and good wishes to all, Christmas, New Year, Seasons greetings and Eid Mubarak to ALL.

Posted by babar ali on (December 22, 2006, 9:18 GMT)

is it just me or does everyone think EUCEPH AHMED chats utter rubbish.

give it a rest man you dont have any cricketing knowledge like mr ABBASI says you comment against everything he has to say.

i think your just trieng to draw attention

YOU DO NOT HAVE CRICKETING KNOWLEDGE.

its best if you go on to a politics blog. This blog is not for you.

Posted by Zeeshan Tirmizi on (December 21, 2006, 18:57 GMT)

A lot of discussion already been done! I would like to remind people that Pakistan's victory in 92 World cup was a near miracle.Most guys would remember what could had happened if Australia had lost in that group stage match.It was above all luck!!! Imran deserves applaud for the results he attained but why are we so overwhelmed by the guy?

His leadership can be better described in one world:Dictator. Does that make someone a good leader? His speech during the world cup ceremony as rightly pointed out by Mr Javed A Khan proved just how much of a team person he was.He took all the credit of the victory himself. Shall we do the same? I think it's time we get out of the spell of 'the Great Khan'. A piece of advice for Mr Javed A Khan: ALOO is not a bad word but the context in which it was used carried a bad meaning:bulky,round or whatever.Try not to say something for which you have to apologize and explain later on.Bhai culture is not the main issue anyway. I am sorry to say that I used to value your comments alot but you have really disappointed many people.

Inzamam has got a good and unified team.Lets support our team and wish them success.

cheers.

Posted by Euceph Ahmed on (December 21, 2006, 18:21 GMT)

IT'S THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND... or so the saying goes. Talk about Inzamam's leadership skills. Talk about Saeed Anwar's indoctrination of the team. Talk about Naseem Ashraf introducing Musharraf’s “enlightened moderation.” Talk about Asif Iqbal - cricket’s pioneer of match fixing – getting ready to be cleared for an important position at the PCB. All is not well in cricket, or, should I say in Pakistan cricket.

In 1992, when Pakistan won the World Cup, gambling in cricket and gambling on cricket was at its peak. Imran Khan, using the weight of his personality, and Javed Miandad, using his guile, have escaped unscathed and unblemished from the onslaught of accusations from that era. What made Pakistan win the cup may always remain a mystery, while us, the lesser mortals, the ardent followers of the game, will go on believing that it really was cricket that won the honours that day. All I know is that such infamous personalities as Salim Malk, Azharuddin, and Ajay Jadeja graced that tournament, not to mention Kapil Dev, Wasim Akram, Mushtaq Ahmed, Ijaz Ahmed and Aaqib Javed – no small cookies in the match-fixing world. Imran, along with his comrades, pulled a win on the field for all to see. What he did off the field we don’t know. This much I can say with certainty that Inzamam, the simple man that he is, doesn’t have an inkling of what is going to bite him come World Cup time. The poor guy thinks playing good cricket is going to get him the cup. Team unity, he thinks, will bring him at par with Imran. While those are good values for everyday cricket, they will not work during the World Cup. If he was an able leader he would see why Bob Woolmer, Hansie Cronje’s coach, didn’t resign. He would notice PCB’s current posturing in trying to recruit Asif Iqbal. But in the end, I guess, he has secured his future already… Pir Inzamam-ul-haq. I’d give it three to five years!!! He will win more seats in the Parliament than Imran ever dreamed of.

And if God will send his angels If God will send a sign Would everything be alright?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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