There were very few cooler and calmer customers in the middle than former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq. There were very few things which could rattle the Pakistan legend but one such incident occurred during the Sahara Cup series in Toronto between India and Pakistan.
Some 23 years back – in 1997 – Inzamam-ul-Haq got riled up by the crowd in Toronto, who were throwing constant abuses at him, calling him aloo (potato). But teammate Waqar Younis has revealed that it was abuses directed at Mohammad Azharuddin’s wife (now ex-wife Sangeeta Bijlani) which fired up Inzamam-ul-Haq.
“Yes, there was someone calling him ‘aaloo’. But also, what exactly happened (was that) there was someone in the crowd who was not very good to Azharuddin’s wife – I think they were just talking some rubbish – and Inzi being Inzi, he didn’t really like it," Waqar Younis said on ‘The Greatest Rivalry’ podcast.
“And as I was mentioning, the friendship off the field between these two teams’ players was outstanding, it was amazing, they had a lot of respect for each other,” Waqar Younis added.
Former Pakistan paceman Waqar Younis further revealed that the action was a result was deep friendship between Indian and Pakistani players back then.
“You know we used to play hard on the field, but when it comes to the friendship, we used to really look out for each-others’ back,” Waqar Younis said.
Inzamam asked the captain to move him to that fine-leg third-man region: Waqar Younis
The incident took place in the second match of the 1997 Sahara Cup. India had won a tightly-fought first game by 20 runs and then bowled out Pakistan for just 116 in the second ODI with Inzamam-ul-Haq scratching around for a 34-ball 10.
It was during the Indian reply that the crowd started throwing abuses at Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Azharuddin and even Indian paceman Debashis Mohanty.
“And what happened (was) because someone was really being rude to Azza’s wife and Inzi just, I don’t know what happened to be very honest, he just decided, he asked, I think Saleem Malik was captain (Ramiz Raja was the Pakistan skipper). He asked Saleem to move him to that fine-leg third-man region, and that’s where he went," Waqar Younis said.
“And he just asked for the 12th man to bring the bat, and he just gave it to him, and he just ran up the stairs in the scaffolding and brought it down,” Waqar Younis recalled.
Inzamam-ul-Haq was hit with a two-match ban and was presented to the court later for his actions.
“Inzi had to suffer, Inzi had to apologise and they went to court for that particular incident and Azhar had to come out, which was very nice of Azharuddin, who had to come out and talk to that Indian guy. The guy was Indian I think, and talk to him and sort out that issue out of the court,” former Pakistan coach Waqar Younis added.