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Inzamam has matured as skipper: Imran

Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Karachi:Pakistan cricket legend Imran Khan said Inzamam-ul-Haq had matured as skipper during the tough cricket tour of India and helped his young side meet the challenge by his own example.

"For me the high point of the series was Inzamam's captaincy from the front and Sourav Ganguly's failure to do the same for India," Khan told AFP on Wednesday.

The 53-year-old Khan had severely criticised Inzamam's captaincy skills after Pakistan's 3-0 rout in Australia earlier this year.

"I had said that he did not lead from the front in Australia. But in India he looked more involved and captaincy seemed to have matured and improved him as a batsman as well," said Khan.

Ranked underdogs before the tour, Pakistan surprised critics by drawing a three-match Test series 1-1 with a come-from-behind win in the third Test at Bangalore and then upstaged India 4-2 in the one-day series on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Inzamam stood out both as captain and batsman, notching a brilliant 184 at Bangalore and capping his 100th Test with a win.

"Inzamam doesn't realise his ability as a batsman. I have been saying that he is the best batsman in the world for the past ten years," Imran said.

"Inzamam is probably the greatest match winner of Pakistan cricket as a batsman, much more than any of his contemporary batsmen," said Khan, who launched Inzamam as a 22-year-old during Pakistan's World Cup triumph in 1992.

Inzamam's 21st hundred in Bangalore was the 16th time his century had contributed to a Pakistani win.

Khan also praised vice captain Younis Khan's batting.

"The other difference was Younis coming at number three. He changed the Bangalore Test with his double hundred and gave a solution to Pakistan's number three problems," said Khan, tipping Younis as a future captain.

Younis overcame a poor batting and fielding performance in the drawn first Test at Mohali to hit a century in the second Test at Calcutta, which Pakistan lost.

He then propped up the tourists' batting with an epic 267 and a brilliant unbeaten 84 at Bangalore.

"Pakistan lost a home series to India last year primarily because they did not have a good number three batsman then," said Khan, referring to Pakistan's One-day and Test defeats against their long-time rivals last year."

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