Inzamam-ul-Haq reveals Sunil Gavaskar’s advice to tackle short balls

Written by Vishwas Gupta

Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq lauded India legend Sunil Gavaskar, explaining how a piece of simple and short advice from the opener helped him overcome problems against short-pitched deliveries. Inzamam said he went on his first tour to England after a successful World Cup in 1992 in Australia and there he faced troubles handling short deliveries.

“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. Inzamam said he had met Sunil Gavaskar in a charity match during that England tour and sought for his help.

“It was somewhere half of our season that I met him at a charity match in England. We both had gone to play that match. And I asked him ‘Sunil bhai I’m facing problems to play short-pitched balls, what should I do’?

“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.”

The former Pakistan captain went on to add that he used Gavaskar’s advice and practiced in the nets. Inzamam said it worked and he never had any problems against the short ball till the time hung his boots.

“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,” added the 50-year-old Inzamam, who amassed 8,830 runs in 120 Tests and 11739 runs in 378 ODIs.

Paying a glowing tribute to Gavaskar, who turned 71 on Friday, Inzy said: “I wish I would’ve seen him live while he was batting.”

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Vishwas Gupta