One cannot forget Inzamam-ul-Haq confronting a spectator at the Toronto cricket ground in 1997, after being called ‘aalu’. The incident took place during the India-Pakistan match 23 years ago, but Waqar Younis has now revealed the real reason behind Inzamam losing his cool. According to former Pakistan speedster, what infuriated Inzamam was the inappropriate comments made by the spectator towards Mohammad Azharuddin’s wife.
“Yes, there was someone calling him ‘aalu’. 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. 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 said on ‘The Greatest Rivalry’ podcast.
He cited the incident as a great example of the camaraderie Indian and Pakistani cricketers had off the field. While it was an Indian cricketer’s spouse which was being abused by a fan, it was a Pakistani cricketer who decided to stand up and confront the fan.
“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 said.
“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. 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.”
Inzamam suffered 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,” the former Pakistan quick said.
“It was sad and it was ugly what happened, but what I’m trying to say here, is you know when it comes to watching each other’s back, both teams have people or players who really love each other’s company.”
While there’s no denying the friendship between some of the current and former Indo-Pak cricketers, as far as the on-field matters are concerned, the players of the two teams hardly compete against each other due to the political tensions between the two nations.