Pakistan cricket chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq
Inzamam-ul Haq, former Pakistan captain and one of their all-time batting greats, paid glowing tributes to Sunil Gavaskar on his 71st birthday. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Dubai: A small tip from the legendary Sunil Gavaskar helped Inzamam-ul-Haq, former Pakistan captain, get rid of his difficulty in facing short-pitched balls forever - revealed the Pakistan stalwart.

Recalling the incident on Youtube channel, ‘Inzy’ said he was facing the problem during Pakistan team’s tour to England in 1992. “I went to England after 1992 World Cup at the back of a tremendous performance in the mega event. It was my first-ever tour to England. I didn’t have any idea as how should I play on those pitches. I was going through a bad patch as I was unable to play shortpitched deliveries,’’ he said.

Inzamam recalled that during a charity match, he came across the legendary Indian batsman and sought his advice to resolve that problem. “It was somewhere half of our season that I met him at a charity match in England. We both had gone to play that match. And I asked him ‘Sunil bhai I’m facing problems to play short-pitched balls, what should I do’?

“As great are the ways of the great, he told me to do only one little thing, that is, don’t think about short-pitched balls or bouncers while batting because the moment you’ll think about them you’ll get trapped. He told me that when the bowler would deliver the ball you would automatically understand; so don’t get worried about that.

Sunil Gavaskar had raised the bar for other great batsmen, according to Inzamam, by becoming the first batsman to score 10,000 Test runs. Image Credit: Supplied picture

“While in nets, I started practising the way he told me. I strengthened my mind, telling myself not to think about that [short-pitched balls]. The weakness was removed. And from 1992 till the time I retired, I never faced that problem again,” added the 50-year-old Inzamam, who amassed 8,830 runs in 120 Tests and 11739 runs in 378 ODIs.

Paying a glowing tribute to Gavaskar, who turned 71 on Friday, Inzy said: “I wish I would’ve seen him live while he was batting.”

He said by being the first person to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket, Gavaskar had opened the door for other batsmen to also reach that milestone. “There were several great players in his era as well as before that. There were batsmen like Javed Miandad, Viv Richards, Garry Sobers and Don Bradman but none of them thought to reach to the figure. Even in today’s cricket when there is too much Test cricket, there are very few players who’ve achieved that feat.”

Inzamam said in Gavaskar’s era there were hardly five to six Test matches [for a country] during the entire year as against the current scene when countries like Australia, England, South Africa and India had started to play even 10-12 matches in a year.

“If [as a batsman] your form is good you can even score 1000 to 1500 runs in a season. But when Sunil was batting, the situation was not like that. Today purely batting wickets are prepared so that you can continue scoring runs. The ICC also wants to see batsmen doing that so that spectators are entertained.

“But in the past wickets were not so easy to bat on, especially when you were playing outside the sub-continent.”

“Considering all that if you ask me, I’ll say Sunil’s 10,000 runs of that era are equal to today’s 15,000 to 16,000 runs. These can be more than that but not less in anyway.” Inzy signed off.