Islamabad: Former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq believes that he would have powered his way to the world’s highest individual Test score by crossing 400 run mark on May 3, 2002 had there been some regular batsman with him at the other end on that day.
“It was too hot on that day. New Zealand players were totally exhausted as they were not used to such a weather. From their body language I can guess as if they were asking me ‘you may plunder as many runs as you wish but (please) allow us to go’ (out of the field),” Inzamam said on his YouTube channel ‘The Match Winner’ while recalling the opening fixture of the two-match series against New Zealand at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore.
“We had plenty of time. Runs were also coming quite freely. But the issue was that we didn’t have wickets in hand as the last man had arrived to accompany me. I asked him (the last man), ‘can you face two to three balls in an over if such a situation arises. But he looked at me with a smile as if he was saying, ‘no, you do whatever you want’. I was left with no option but to hit sixes. Probably, in the over when I was caught out at the boundary, I’d already smashed three sixes. I just needed an hour to cross the 400-mark and set the world record but that opportunity was missed,” added Inzamam, who notched up a triple century (329) on the second day of that clash.
According to Inzamam, that Test was the most memorable one for him as he scored the highest runs of his career. “I was also in a comfortable position to break Hanif Muhammad’s record of 337 runs. But breaking a Pakistan cricket great’s record has never been my target as it could’ve been good for me as an individual player but I don’t think it was good for the country.
“But there was nothing wrong to earn a name in the world by setting a world record,” he added. Inzamam, however, was quick to add that right for the start of his professional career he had a desire to break legendary Javed Miandad’s records. “That was not because I had some personal issues with Javed Miandad, but because during our era he was a hero of all Pakistan batsmen. He was (country’s) topscorer, both in Tests and ODIs at that time.
The 50-year-old Inzamam, who scored 8,830 runs in 120 Tests and 11,739 runs in 378 ODIs, said that a young player should always dream high be setting a big aim for him. “Later, it also came to my mind that I’ve been pursuing Javed Miandad’s accomplishments. I thought I should have aspired more than that by tracking a batsman, whose figures were even better than Miandad.”
Powered by Inzamam’s blistering 439-ball innings of 329 and some fiery bowling from speedster Shoaib Akhtar, Pakistan pulled off a massive innings and-324-run victory against New Zealand. The win was the fifth biggest in the history of Test cricket.