Inzamam does it again

Written by: Sunil Gavaskar
Published: Monday, March 27, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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Inzamam-ul-Haq's brilliant century put Pakistan in a position of strength as they strove to stay in the tournament. Before the game started there was a speculation that India may play without Ganguly and Pakistan without their two pace spearheads Akram and Akhtar. But the importance of this game, not only in the context of this tournament, but also in Sharjah competition meant that injuries have to be mentally kept aside, though physically there, and so all the players with question marks on their fitness went on to play.

It is now clear that Srinath is now dropped from the team, which is sad for someone who has played and tried so hard for India and hopefully he will use this to make the extra effort to prove that he is not finished.

He has a role model in his own dressing room in Mohd Azharuddin, who in taking a splendid diving catch showed that he still has plenty to offer in international cricket and not just with the bat.

Agarkar got the in form Imran Nazir out to a well disguised slower ball, but even then it was apparent that with a day's break the groundsman had taken the opportunity to make the pitch more batsman friendly than it has been so far.

The ball coming nicely onto the bat and the outfield being quick meant that any side that batted sensibly would be able to put a big score on the board. That is what Inzamam and Younis Khan did after Afridi had played a cameo and it was this foundation that the Pakistanis were able to build on.

Inzamam after completing his half-century really opened his shoulders and when he opens them it is a thrilling sight for spectators. He singled Kumble out for special treatment thumping him for consecutive sixes and Youhana too joined in to score at an unbelievable rate in the last 10 overs.

Although the sun was hidden by the clouds, the bowling and fielding wilted under the onslaught. This is the worrying aspect as India play South Africa, for playing back to back matches is extremely tiring and the Indian team is coming to the end of a pretty hectic and tiring season. Still, this is the time to show that extra bit of effort for that is what representing one's country is all about and that is why the player is the lucky one to be chosen among millions.

Pakistan's massive score will not only give them confidence as they take on South Africa, but also make other batsmen feel that the tide is turning in their favour after the first phase where low score was the norm.

This is what Sharjah is all about, big scoring, big hitting and plenty of excitement for the spectators. The bowlers have had their day and now it is the time for the batsmen, unless of course this game of glorious uncertainty proves all of us wrong again!

Professional Management Group

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