Former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq revealed that it was, in fact, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar’s advice which helped him significantly get better at playing short-pitched deliveries. Inzamam revealed that Gavaskar’s advice to ‘not think about short balls’ helped him till the end of his career.
The 90s and the 2000s saw a platoon of world-class batsmen take the sport of cricket by storm and one amongst them was Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq. A former skipper of the national side, Inzamam finished with a staggering 20,580 international runs to his name and is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen the country of Pakistan has ever produced.
However, the 50-year-old shed light on some of his more troubled days in international cricket and spoke about Pakistan’s tour of England in 1992, right after the fairytale 1992 World Cup campaign, where, as per his words, he struggled big time due to not knowing how to tackle the short ball.
“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 short-pitched deliveries,’’ Inzamam said in his YouTube channel, reported Hindustan Times.
Inzamam revealed that he struggled with the issue for months, after which he sought the advice of the great Sunil Gavaskar when the duo met each other in a charity match in England. The former Pakistan skipper said that ‘Sunny Bhai’ gave him a simple advice - to not think about the threat of the short ball whilst batting - which astonishingly helped him iron out the flaw. The right-hander revealed that after following Gavaskar’s advice, he never faced a problem versus the short ball till the end of his career.
“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.
“While in nets, I started practicing 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,” said the former Pakistan skipper.
Inzamam, who retired from the game in 2007, also added that not watching Gavaskar bat live as a kid was one of his biggest regrets.
“I wish I would’ve seen him live while he was batting,” the 50-year-old concluded.