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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 13:01 GMT
Inzamam's road to recovery
By Elizabeth Hudson
BBC Sport

Inzamam ul-Haq salutes the crowd
Inzamam salutes the crowd after his century in Lahore
The 2003 Cricket World Cup was a tournament Pakistan's Inzamam Ul-Haq will want to forget.

He managed a total of just 19 runs in South Africa and Zimbabwe last year as Pakistan failed to make it past the first round.

But fast forward just over 12 months and Inzamam, now the Pakistan captain, has gone from zero to hero.

His second one-day century in four games against India saw him receiving the plaudits from the crowd in Lahore.

It seemed a far cry from the dark days of last February and March and Pakistan's ignominious World Cup exit.

Pakistan only managed two wins during the tournament against Namibia and the Netherlands and afterwards the players were fined half their compeition earnings.

Inzamam certainly did not cover himself in glory with a highest score of six, plus two ducks.

Jimmy Anderson celebrates Inzamam's wicket in the World Cup
Inzamam had a disappointing World Cup last year

Among those to take his wicket were Namibia's Deon Kotze and Tim de Leede of the Netherlands, hardly household names for the majority of fans.

But instead of calling time on his international career after the World Cup, Inzamam had a four-month break and shaped up and the newly slimmed-down version is proving a cricketing revelation.

After taking over the captaincy last September, much has rested on his broad shoulders during the current historic series against India and he has risen to the occasion.

But ironically, his best scores have come when Pakistan have been beaten and he is in danger of his achievements being overshadowed by his bowlers' failures.

In the four games so far, they have sent down 58 wides and 40 no-balls and an improvement is badly needed.

Inzamam hugs pace bowler Mohammed Sami
Inzamam's captaincy role is also very important during this series

Inzamam made an impressive start with 122 in the opener in Karachi but it was not enough to stop his side falling to a five run defeat.

But although Pakistan levelled the series in game two, Inzamam - who made 29 - was fined 80% of his match fee for his team's slow over rate.

He followed that up with 28 in Pakistan's four-wicket win in the third game in Peshawar before his latest century in Lahore.

Already top of the Pakistan one-day statistics with 9,758 in 311 matches, he is in with a chance of overhauling Javed Miandad as his country's top-scoring Test batsman.

He currently has 6,680 in 91 Tests, still just over 2,000 short of Miandad's 8,832 from 124 Tests but despite turning 34 earlier this month, could still overtake the current Pakistan coach.

Inzamam's first century against India came in April 1999 in a Coca-Cola Cup game in Sharjah where he helped his side to victory with 107.

Another century followed a year later but this current series, where his average is just over 75 is proving that he is still one of the best.

But a one-day series win and a successful Test series would cap a marvellous comeback for one of cricket's most recognisable characters.




SEE ALSO
Pakistan commit to Inzamam
23 Jan 04  |  Cricket



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