Perplexed Inzamam turns to Richards to regain lost form

Published: Friday, February 28, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Centurion: Out-of-form Pakistani batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq on Friday revealed he was going to speak to West Indian legend Vivian Richards in a bid to get back among the runs at the World Cup.

I have never faced such a situation before. I want to call my idol Vivian Richards to sort out the problem," Inzamam said. Richards is currently in South Africa as head of the West Indies selectors, but Inzamam was unaware whether he will come to watch Saturday's high-profile clash between India and Pakistan at SuperSport Park.

"I have no clue where my form has gone but the confidence is there," the 32-year-old said. "My father phoned me from Pakistan and advised me not to lose faith and has prayed for my success against India. I have always followed my father's advice and have succeeded." Inzamam, who shed 23 pounds to get fit for the World Cup, appears to have lost his appetite for runs as well, struggling to make 10 runs in four matches. But his team-mates were backing him to come good soon. "I called my old friend Mushtaq Ahmed (former Pakistan spinner) and spoke to Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram," he said. "All of them told me that there was nothing wrong and runs would come in the next game.

"I have never worked so hard as I did before the World Cup and it is quite strange I am not being able to deliver." Inzamam's tally of 8,949 runs in 288 One-day matches is the fourth highest behind Indians Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin and Sri Lanka's Aravinda de Silva. Inzamam burst on the scene with a swashbuckling 60 off just 37 balls in the 1992 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand and then made an unbeaten 42 as Pakistan defeated England in the final. He has never scored a World Cup century, his highest being 81 against Australia four years ago, and Inzamam hoped the record will be set right against India.

"I am sure a century is just around the corner and if it comes against India, I will be the happiest man." A laid-back cricketer known for his poor running between the wickets, Inzamam once charged an Indian fan, bat in hand, for calling him a potato. But he says age has mellowed him. "I am more matured and can take any criticism," he said. "I know one good score will wipe out all the disappointment." Copyright AFP 2001

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