The Chief Is Gone

December 18, 2021

This weeks poll is dedicated to the man known as Inzy.

It’s hard not to like Inzy. His grace was probably only matched in recent times by Gower, Chappell (Greg), VVS Laxman and Mark Waugh. However all these men were lithe and smooth creatures and you got the feeling everything they did was smooth, especially with the ladies.

Inzy is built like a lumberjack, and when not holding a cricket bat, he has the grace of a drunken lumberjack, on New Years Eve, in a snow storm, picking up a tea cup, off a quick moving seal.

Something transformed when he held a bat though, his stillness at the crease was almost hypnotic. He was the opposite of most modern batsmen who jump around like they need a piss (coughmichaelcoughslater) . Inzy was a statue, then at the last minute a shuffle, great timing, and 4 runs. It was almost as if he didn’t switch on till the bowler hit the crease.

Like Warne, Ranatunga and Mike Gatting before him, he proved that test cricket is not about how many laps you can run, or how heavy the weights are you lift. Cricket fit has nothing to do with real fitness. Ian Harvey was never fit, but I saw him bowl so many high class 20 over spells for Victoria at less than 2 runs an over.

Cricket fit is about being mentally and physically ready for the next ball.

Inzy was never in shape, he was never an athlete. He was a batsmen, a slip fielder, and eventually a more than handy captain.

In the west we never really understood him. He didn’t seem speak English (although he did), he didn’t give press conferences, he didn’t train, and he didn’t make enough high scores. He didn’t write tour diaries, appear on footy shows, praise Jesus, get drunk, release his own bbq sauces or sleep with skanky ho’s.

He batted. Poetically. Stoically. Fluently.

He would never have made it to the top level of cricket anywhere else than Pakistan. Which is why I love Pakistan. They don’t judge on techniques, temperament or training intensity, they look for wickets and runs. And that gives the game a colour.

I will always remember Inzy as the man who gave Pakistan a world cup, the man who made running between wickets a vaudeville routine, and the man who seemed to be confused why Shane Warne wouldn’t just shut up and get back to the top of his mark and bowl.

Inzy was different. Inzy was talented. Inzy was lazy. Inzy was a champion. Inzy was Inzy.

And the game was better for having him stumble between wickets.

Long live the chief.… We constantly get sodomized down the legside