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Inzamam set to play last Test

When Pakistan and South Africa take the field at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on Monday, it will bring down the curtains on a man who has without a doubt been Pakistan’s greatest batsman in the last decade.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, whose career was in limbo after his county’s first round exit at the World Cup, seems have been given his due by the Pakistan Cricket Board despite him signing for the breakaway Indian Cricket League.

The legendary Imran Khan rarely got it wrong when he bought a player into the Pakistan team and Inzamam was no doubt one of the jewels the legendary Khan unearthed in 1992.

The Sultan of Multan was so good that Imran himself rated Inzy as the best batsman in the World against pace.

“I have told the selectors that I am available for the Lahore Test match. God willing, the Lahore Test match will be my last, after that I will retire from Test cricket because the youngsters who are in the team are playing well,” said Inzamam-ul-Haq.

“I think I will leave my position to them as they have performed well since the World Cup. I am confident that in the future they will continue to perform well. This decision was difficult for me, but I think it’s what is best for Pakistan and for cricket,” he said.

Inzamam’s contribution to Pakistan cricket is at times second to none. His 25 Test centuries are the most by a Pakistan batsman. And from those 25, 17 resulted in a Pakistan victory, which speaks volumes of just how good a batsman he was.

Inzy was also just the fifth batsman to score a 100 in his 100th Test, which he scored in Bangalore against arch rivals India in 2005.

He was ICC’s top ranked batsman in Test Cricket 1995 and 1997 and with 8813 runs, he is just 20 short of breaking Javed Miandad’s record for the most runs in Test Cricket by a Pakistani batsman.

His running in between the wickets wasn’t the best and his run in with the law controversies was pretty notorious, like the time he jumped into the crowd during the Sahara Cup in 1997 and assaulted a fan.
Inzy may have been a villain in the cricketing world for his actions in the forfeited Oval Test against England in 2006, but in Pakistan he was hero number 1.

Public perception changed after Pakistan’s first round exit from the World Cup and his retirement from the limited overs version of the game in the wake of Bob Woolmer’s death.

But now he has one last opportunity to set the record straight and go out with flying colours against the Proteas in Lahore.

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