Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is considered to be a powerful personality. Well before he had turned to politics, he was one of the most influential cricketers going around in world cricket, let alone Pakistan. Under his captaincy, Pakistan won their maiden and till date only ODI World Cup back in 1992. Explaining what an impact Imran had over Pakistan cricket, former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq revealed how the former all-rounder had in away taken over the captaincy from him during a match against India in 2004.
Inzamam was talking about BCCI’s Platinum Jubilee match in which the Indian board had invited Pakistan for an ODI to celebrate the occasion in 2004. The match took place in front of a large crowd in Eden Gardens Kolkata.
Noted former cricketers from both India and Pakistan were invited along with politicians and leaders.
Inzamam, who was the captain of Pakistan in that match said there was a lot of pressure on his team not only because of the occasion and atmosphere but also because of the presence of former captain Imran in their dressing room.
India after opting to bat first had posted a formidable 292 for six. Virender Sehwag had scored 53 and Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman scored important runs but it was strokeful innings from Yuvraj Singh (78 off 62) that propelled India to a good total.
Inzamam said Imran had sent out a message for him during the drinks break of Pakistan’s chase.
“It was just only one match so the pressure was much more. The second big pressure was of Imran Khan, who was watching the match from our dressing room. I have played under Imran bhai.
“He had kind of taken over captaincy. Salman Butt was batting with me. He suffered cramps. So a teammate came running in with a message. I thought I’m the captain who is sending me messages. He told me that Imran bhai has said Salman Butt is having troubles with his hamstring, tell him to retire hurt, take treatment and then go back onto the field. I sent Salman back. He came back after treatment and scored a hundred,” said Inzamam on his YouTube channel.
Pakistan ended up winning the match comfortably by six wickets and an over to spare. Salman Butt was the star with an unbeaten 108 off 130 balls with significant contributions from Shoaib Malik (61 off 55) and captain Inzamam 75 off 75.
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