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'An effortless cricketer'
Part eleven: When a batsman is comfortable batting against Imran, Wasim and Waqar, you have to be impressed (00:00)
Producer: Ranjit Shinde
July 3, 2012
'An effortless cricketer'July 3, 2012
One of the greatest batsmen Pakistan has ever produced. I can say a couple of words for Inzi - lazy elegance and natural talent.
He worked hard in his own capacity. He used to bat for hours and hours, never fielded, but that was Inzi.
You know what I liked about Inzi was that he wasn't bothered about his bat weight or… I remember he used to pick up Mushtaq's [Ahmed] bat and go and bat in a match, in a Test match. "Mushy, my bat is not… I don't feel it. Can I borrow yours?" Or if he likes Waqar's bat then he would borrow his. He used to borrow others' bats.
In the nets, me and Waqar used to run in every time and Inzamam used to play it like we were spinners. I remember, in 1992, when he played for Pakistan, when Imran [Khan] saw him for the first time, he said, "This guy is rare." I asked him, "Skipper, why is he rare? Tell me why. I mean, I know he is talented." To which Imran said, "Wasim, if you look closely, he has so much time against fast bowling."
If you see his innings, he looks very lazy. He looks like he is just going to get out, but he just plays it so easily - no effort. He was an effortless cricketer. It was natural.
He used to work hard. As far as batting is concerned, he was very focused. He wanted to get hundreds in every game. He used to get annoyed a lot when he used to get out off a poor shot. He was actually a very strong player.
I loved playing against Inzi. I mean, I never played against him. Once or twice maybe, in first-class cricket back home, but in the nets he was always ahead of us. He used to hammer us in the nets. Short ball: pull. Batsmen around the world get very annoyed when you bowl bouncers at them in the nets because the nets are covered, you don't get enough feel, but Inzamam used to enjoy playing short bowling. He used to tell us that if we want to bowl a short delivery then bowl it quick.
As a bowler I knew that when he comes in as a batsman, the inswinging yorker or a length inswinger [would work against him] because he shuffles, and length inswing offers you a chance as a bowler. But once he is in he is difficult to get out.
Again, he was a proper batsman, and he used to take his time. And that's the beauty of Test cricket - the battle is going on, this session belongs to the batsman, then the next session belongs to the bowlers. That's the battle within the battle and that's the beauty of Test cricket and that's why everybody loves Test cricket, because the battle goes on for five days.
Imran bhai used to take the new ball in the nets and Inzaman used to bat and Imran always used to bowl at him. He used to love watching Inzamam bat and he used to love praising Inzamam because of the rare talent that he had - so much time. Imran used to get impressed; everybody does if some batsman is playing Imran or me comfortably in the nets. Inzamam was very comfortable against all three us [Imran, Akram and Waqar]. Very easy behind the ball; if it is short then on the back foot, equally strong front-foot player, and that's what Imran realised - what a rare talent he was, and he was absolutely right.
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