In 1997, during India vs Pakistan ‘Friendship’ Cup in Canada, Pakistan cricketer Inzamam-ul-Haq was involved in a big controversy for beating a fan during a match, who abused him on his physical size. Recently, the former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis opened up a different angle of that incident.
It was the five-match ODI series between India and Pakistan in Toronto, Canada where Sourav Ganguly dominated with his all-round performances. While India won that series by 4-0, Sourav Ganguly won the Player of the Series award for finishing as the most run-scorer as well as most wicket-taker. In fact, Ganguly won the Player of the Match awards in all the four finished games of that series.
During the second ODI of that series, when India were chasing 117 runs target, during the 16th over of that second innings, Inzamam-ul-Haq attacked an Indian fan. The Pakistan cricketer was so violent that he didn’t only hit him but also went to hit him with a bat before the securities and others came to stop him.
It was reported that the Indian fan abused Inzamam on his physical size as he called the Pakistan cricketer as ‘aaloo’ (Potato). However, Waqar Younis added that Inzamam was also furious for some inappropriate comments towards the Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin‘s wife.
Waqar recently told ‘The Greatest Rivalry’ podcast, “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. 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 elaborated how Inzamam-ul-Haq went furious
Waqar wasn’t present in that entire series. However, he tried to elaborate that entire incident where Inzamam became so angry.
He said, “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. 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.”
That game lost around 40 minutes due to that incident. Later, Inzamam was handed a two-match ban by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). However, Waqar pointed out that it brought the Indian and Pakistan players very close as both became very good friends off the field.
He continued, “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. 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.”