Home > Cricket News > END OF AN ERA Inzamam announces retirement from Test cricket also

END OF AN ERA Inzamam announces retirement from Test cricket also

LAHORE: Former Pakistan skipper Inzamamul Haq officially announced his retirement from Test cricket also on Friday. He will play his last Test against South Africa here at the Gaddafi Stadium. The 37-year-old batsman announced his decision at a press conference in Karachi.

 It is surprising that on Wednesday night Inzamam confirmed to Daily Times that he had no immediate plans to retire and was fit enough to play cricket for another one year. What prompted him to change his decision is a mystery. For the last one-week there have been speculations in the media about a deal between the PCB and Inzamam.

There were also some reports that Inzamam had held a meeting with PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf in which it was decided that Inzamam would be paid Rs 10 million for his services to Pakistan cricket. But Nasim denied the reports that a golden handshake agreement had been reached with the star batsman to send him off into the sunset.

No doubt, Inzamam’s retirement marks the end of an era and the game will miss his larger-than-life character. He is one of cricket’s all-time greats. He is only the second Pakistani after Hanif Mohammad to have scored a memorable Test triple hundred (329) in searing heat against New Zealand in Lahore in 2002.

 “I am not retiring under any pressure. It is simply that I have no motivation to play. I want to now give way to youngsters and allow them to take centre stage. I don’t want to stop any youngster’s progress,” Inzamam told reporters. Until a few months ago, relations between Inzamam and the PCB had soured to an extent where his desire to continue playing Test cricket was seen as detrimental to the team’s rebuilding process.

Inzamam stepped down as captain and retired from one-day internationals after his team was eliminated in the first round of the World Cup in the West Indies earlier this year. He said he wanted to play for another one year or so. “I wanted to play for another year and a half but I realised that there will be a gap between me and the youngsters.”

 He said he did not want to put pressure on the youngsters. “I have taken this tough decision after much thought and I realise that my presence in the dressing room could be a pressure on the younger players. So I have decided this is the best time for me to bid farewell to a game I have loved so much,” Inzamam said.

The Multan-born batsman, who played in 378 one-day internationals, said his biggest regret remained the performance of the team in the 2007 World Cup. “I wanted to win the World Cup as I was the captain but it ended in sheer frustration. But there have been other disappointments as well and that is part of the game.”

 He said winning the 1992 World Cup final against England was the best moment of his career plus the hundred he scored against Bangladesh in 2003 in his hometown Multan to help Pakistan win the match.

The burly batsman needs another 20 runs to pass Javed Miandad’s Pakistan record of 8,832 Test runs made in 124 Tests. Since making his Test debut against England in 1992, Inzamam has so far played 119 Tests and scored a Pakistan record of 25 Test centuries – 17 of which have come in Pakistan victories.

Inzamam said Miandad’s record was not important to him. “Had it been a world record I would have been happy but since it’s a Pakistani record and held by someone from whom I learnt a lot, honestly speaking it won’t be important.”

Inzamam was also embroiled in a major controversy in August last year when Pakistan protested over ball-tampering charges in the Oval Test against England. Pakistan refused to take the field after tea on the fourth day, after which the Test was awarded to England on forfeit. Inzamam was later cleared of tampering but was handed a ban of four one-day internationals.

“I am satisfied and happy with my career and achieved a lot of things. I thank my fans and countrymen for their support and will always remember them.” Inzamam will not only be remembered as one of Pakistan’s premier batsman but also as someone who introduced a religious culture in the team.

Collective prayers, late-night religious sessions and visits to mosques were normal during Inzamam’s tenure as captain and even led to warnings from the PCB to not use the cricket team as a platform to promote religion.

Inzamam led Pakistan in 31 Tests between 2000-07 with a record of 11 victories, 11 defeats and nine draws. The world might not have seen the last of Inzamam following his retirement as he is signed up to play in the unofficial Indian Cricket League.

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