When his superior officer asked Inspector ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan about his reputation in The Enforcer, Clint Eastwood’s iconic character replied with a line that fits Inzamam-ul-Haq these days — You’re a legend in your own mind! The chief selector of the Pakistan cricket team is currently the most disliked person in Pakistan because of his team selection that sometimes drops a player without testing him, and on many occasions selects players without testing them.
In a country full of Fawad Alams and Junaid Khans, he only sees unfit cricketers walking, and when they don’t do justice to their place in the Test squads, he keeps them in the squad to hide his incompetence, instead of going for those who deserve a place.
Gone are the days when Majid Khan’s father Dr Jahangir Khan resigned as the head of the selection committee when his son was selected in the national team on merit. That integrity ended with Imran Khan and Javed Miandad who loved to play for their country with the best possible players available, not their favourites in the side. When it was Saleem Malik’s time as captain, he kept his brother-in-law Ijaz Ahmed in the side, Moin Khan got his brother Nadeem Khan in, Fawad Alam was a constant during Shahid Afridi’s era, and for some strange reason the most successful Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq was fond of Rahat Ali.
What made these cricketers different from Inzi ‘The Legend’ is the fact that they knew that sooner or later they would have to get rid of the players if they didn’t perform.
But Inzamam is of the opinion that his nephew will go on to become a legend, like him.
Isn’t it sad that the man who led Pakistan to the World Cup triumph (Imran Khan), the man who hit the first-ever last ball six to beat arch-rivals India (Javed Miandad), the most prolific hitter in ODIs (Sir Viv Richards), the best all-rounders (Sir Ian Botham, Sir Richard Hadlee), the fastest bowler of all time (Shoaib Akhtar), the dynamic Ws (Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis), and the highest run-getter for Pakistan (Younis Khan) don’t have to insert ‘The Legend’ in their Twitter handles to make others realise their achievements. Do Inzamam’s contemporaries — Steve Waugh, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Brian Lara — have ‘The Legend’ in their Twitter handles to assert their greatness? Did Misbah satisfy his ego by using ‘The Legend’ in his Twitter handle after taking Pakistan Test Team to the top of the ICC Ranking? No, because unlike the self-proclaimed ‘The Legend’, they were competent individuals who played cricket with integrity and commanded respect even after retirement.
Inzamam was without any doubt one of the best players of his era and hadn’t it been for his timely knock in the 1992 World Cup, we might still be ‘Cup-Less’ but that’s a thing of the past. His performance as the chief selector calls for an ouster, because neither he nor his colleagues in the selection committee regularly visit stadiums during the first class season, nor do they have any idea about selection. Pakistan’s performance against New Zealand in the UAE and in South Africa is proof of that. They selected injured players hoping they would get fit in time for the Test, named prolific scorer in domestic cricket Shan Masood in the squad to avoid embarrassment (he emerged as the top scorer for the visitors) and can’t come up with Test openers in a country that has produced Hanif Mohammad, Majid Khan and Saeed Anwar.
Hopefully, our chief selector will realise soon that you have to act like A Legend to be known as one. Otherwise, we all remember how foolishly he acted at The Oval against England in 2006 and against which team they lost in 2007 World Cup as The Legend led, and the rest faltered!