But whenever the batsman from Multan has taken to the crease he has, time and time, again delighted fans worldwide with his skills.
Playing in his last Test Friday, former skipper 'Inzy' fell agonisingly short of Pakistan's all-time Test runs record, finishing just three away from overtaking the great Javed Miandad's 8,832.
Although India's Sachin Tendulkar and West Indian Brian Lara are regarded as the best batsmen of the last two decades, Inzamam has never been far behind.
He is ranked in the world's top five batsmen in one-dayers with 11,739 runs.
But for all his talents, some believe Inzamam has under-achieved.
"I always rated Inzamam as equally talented as Lara and Tendulkar but Inzamam did not realise his huge potential and for me he could have done better than he did," said Imran Khan, under whom Inzamam's career took off.
His retirement comes after he stepped down as skipper and quit one-dayers in the wake of Pakistan's humiliating first-round exit in the World Cup in the Caribbean earlier this year.
Coach Bob Woolmer was discovered dead in his hotel room the next day, prompting police initially to focus on the squad in their investigations. Officials ultimately ruled that he died of natural causes.
The controversy left Pakistan and Inzamam in particular shell-shocked.
"It was a difficult year for me. But overall I am satisfied and I hope people remember me in a good manner," he said.
After impressing national selectors as a junior in the late 1980s, he made his debut in 1991 against the West Indies. But it was only in the 1992 World Cup in Australia that Inzamam's talents were noticed.
He blazed a 37-ball 60 in the semi-final against New Zealand followed by an equally destructive 35-ball 42 against England to anchor Pakistan's win in the final.
"I rate him alongside Lara and Tendulkar," said former teammate Wasim Akram.
"The lazy elegance, the craft, the sleepy walk and perfect timing -- all made him great. I think through his easy-going and calm demeanour he leaves behind a legacy," he said.
South African paceman Alan Donald also paid tribute.
"Bowling to Inzy was almost like bowling to a brick wall. Everything about him was unfazed, nothing could rattle him -- he was so solid," said Donald.
A versatile player, Inzamam mastered pressure situations, and 17 of his 25 centuries came in Tests that Pakistan went on to win.
Inzamam also became a role model for the team and a source of inspiration for younger players, said Ramiz Raja, a fellow former captain and now commentator.
"Being a respected player, he was a role model for the team, and younger players in the dressing room looked at him for inspiration and courage."
But he was often criticised for being overweight, and it was cited as a reason for being run-out on several occasions.
And in 2003, his career became a rollercoaster ride.
He made his highest ever Test score -- 329 against New Zealand at Lahore -- that year but then suffered a slump in form, scoring just 16 during Pakistan's first-round exit from the World Cup in 2003.
Inzamam was among players consequently dumped from the team, only to win his place back six months later. A match-winning century against Bangladesh on his homeground in Multan not only revived his career but promoted him to captain.
"The last phase of his career is incredible. He changed into a more active captain and barring the World Cup 2007 he ended his career in a satisfying manner," said Akram.