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Hats off to Inzamam: Former England pacer honors Pakistan legend

Former England fast-bowler Sajid Mahmood, in a recent live session with Around the Wicket, honored Pakistan’s legendary batsman Inzamamul Haq for taking his team off during the infamous Oval Test in 2006 after umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove alleged that the Men in Green had been involved in ball-tampering.

The 38-year-old recalled the infamous incident where for the first time in history, a cricket team had left the field.

“It was a little strange. The Test match was going fine. Pakistan were making the ball reverse quite early. They did that in the previous Test match as well. We couldn’t really have the same effect with the ball. We were thinking, how are these guys doing it?” said Mahmood.

“Some of our analysts and the people who were in the dressing room were having a look at where the ball was going as you would do naturally. You could think they were tampering with the ball. I think at one stage, one of the members of our team went to umpire and asked him if he could just check ball now and again because there is no way they should be reversing the ball this much after the short amount of overs that had been bowled,” he added.

The former pacer went on to say that the entire England dressing room was waiting for the outcome of the situation.

“So Darrell Hair kept checking the ball. Inzamam wasn’t best pleased about it, which you can imagine as a captain he is basically being accused of being a cheat. We were batting and Darrell Hair I remember him speaking to Inzamam. I think we had come off for tea and just before that they had tried to change the ball. We were wondering about what was going to happen. I don’t think any of us had been in that situation before,” he said.

“It was quite interesting to see how it was all going to unfold and how Inzamam would take that. Ultimately he is the leader of the team and whatever he says goes. When we went up for tea, Inzamam had his arms in the air and he wasn’t happy with Darrell Hair. We had rumours coming into the dressing room that Inzamam is not going to take his team back out,” he further stated.

Mahmood also said that if Inzamam had not decided to abandon the game with his team, he indirectly would have admitted that his team was cheating.

“There are two sides; one was to get on with it and play. The other side was that he is the leader of the team. If he goes out into the field then he accepts the fact that the umpires are saying that they were cheating with the ball. He took the latter approach and said we are not cheating, I am not having you guys say we are cheating and come out to play with a different ball. Hats off to him, fair play,” Sajid concluded.

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