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October 5, 2007
Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former captain of the Pakistan team, has announced he will retire from international cricket after the second Test against South Africa at Lahore. Inzamam will be hoping to end his career by breaking Javed Miandad's Pakistan record of 8832 Test runs. Inzamam currently has 8813 runs, still needing 20 runs to become the highest run-getter for Pakistan in Tests.
Inzamam made this announcement at the National Stadium in Karachi where Pakistan are currently playing the first Test against South Africa. A few hours later, the board named Inzamam in a 16-man squad for the second Test. In recent days speculation has mounted over Inzamam's future, with him declaring himself unavailable for the first Test against South Africa. He is also one of three Pakistani players to sign with the Indian Cricket League.
"I spoke to the board and selectors and the first Test was originally offered to me but I wasn't mentally ready to come back to Test cricket then. It was my idea to play in Lahore and then say 'Thank you very much'." he wrote in Bigstarcricket.com. "I am really grateful to the board for their gesture as nobody else has been able to leave the game like this. Not Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Saeed Anwar or Javed Miandad, it has not been the tradition. No previous board chairman has shown the kind of respect that Nasim Ashraf is showing to me by allowing me to leave the game in this way."
Inzamam hoped he could end on a high, finishing atop the Pakistani batting mountain. "I need a century against South Africa to have a set of Test hundreds against every country I have played against," he said, "so it would be a good thing to make a century and beat Javed Miandad's record but more importantly it would be good for Pakistan to win the game and draw the series."
Apart from Inzamam's inclusion, the selectors have decided to stick to the same 15 that were announced for the ongoing Test in Karachi. While Inzamam is almost certain to play, the match could also feature a return of Mohammad Yousuf who opted out of the first Test due to lack of match fitness. Thus a brief reunion of Pakistan's strong middle-order comprising Inzamam, Yousuf and Younis Khan is very much on the cards.
Shoaib Malik (capt), Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Salman Butt, Taufeeq Umar, Yasir Hameed, Faisal Iqbal, Kamran Akmal (wk), Mohammad Hafeez, Danish Kaneria, Abdur Rehman, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Misbah-ul-Haq, Iftikhar Anjum
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