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“Inzi Bhai Bahut Sweet The”: Virender Sehwag Labels Inzamam-ul-Haq As Biggest Middle-Order Asian Batter

Dixit Bhargav

"Inzi Bhai Bahut Sweet The": Virender Sehwag Labels Inzamam-ul-Haq As Best Middle-Order Asian Batter

Former Pakistani batters Ijaz Ahmed and Inzamam-ul-Haq had shared a match-winning 163-run partnership for the fourth wicket to chase down a 197-run during the sixth Pepsi Cup 1999 match. Playing his first international match, former Indian batter Virender Sehwag had leaked 35 runs in three overs against Ahmed and Haq. Although Haq scored a half-century in that match, little did he know that he would be termed as the “biggest middle-order Asian batter” by Sehwag after 24 years.

Sehwag, who had to wait for an ODI debut in spite of getting a maiden call-up under a crisis situation a year ago, flopped in his first match for the country. That being said, he appears to have been surely mesmerized by Haq’s batting under circumstances in which he thrived the most.

Sehwag, who himself is known for transforming batting in the sport of cricket, sounded like a fan boy whilst lauding Haq and his calmness during run-chases whilst speaking to host Gaurav Kapur during the latest episode of his talk show Breakfast With Champions.

Virender Sehwag Labels Inzamam-ul-Haq As Biggest Middle-Order Asian Batter

Clearing how Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar is above all cricketing comparisons, Sehwag didn’t mince his words in the course of being wax lyrical for Haq. Having played 23 ODIs and nine Test matches against a Pakistani XI comprising Haq, Sehwag has seen enough of the former Pakistani skipper to label him above some of the absolute greats of the game.

“Inzi bhai bahut sweet the. Bahut-bahut sweet the [Inzaman was very sweet. Very very sweet]. I believe Inzamam-ul-Haq is the biggest Asian middle-order batter. Because [Sachin] Tendulkar is in a different league altogether, he can’t be counted. Among all other Asian batters, I have not seen a better batter than him. In 2003-2004, he would be able to score eight runs an over easily. I mean 80 runs in 10 overs. Any other team or player would panic. He would say, ‘Ban jayenge, chinta mat kar [We will score these runs. Don’t worry]’.”

It is noteworthy that Haq’s record against India with Sehwag part of their Playing XI has it in it to remove all kinds of apprehensions from the above mentioned statement. In 22 ODI and 15 Test innings, Haq had amassed 1,670 runs at an average of 52.18 with the help of five centuries and eight half-centuries.

Was Inzamam-ul-Haq The Best Middle-Order Asian Batter?

Not bringing perceptions into play, let us try to understand the greatness of Haq in the ODI format through numbers. Readers must note that 277 out of the right-handed batter’s 350 ODI innings had come in the middle-order (between No. 4 and 7).

Haq, whose 9,190 runs in the aforementioned batting positions had come at an average of 39.44, is the third-highest ODI run-scorer of all time. Only former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (9,631) and former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene (9,896) have scored more runs than Haq as middle-order batters.

Haq, whose 499 matches across formats place him at the 10th position on the list of most international matches played in a career, was the highest ODI run-scorer among middle-order batters in an era ranging between his first to last match in the format. Speaking particularly of Asian batters, only former Sri Lankan captain Aravinda de Silva (6,097) had scored more ODI runs than Haq in this role.

If non-Asian cricketers are also considered, former Australian batter Michael Bevan (6,775) is the only other middle-order batter to have scored more than 6,000 ODI runs between 22/11/1991 to 21/03/2007. Interestingly, Haq (2,060), de Silva (1,977) and Bevan (1,608) occupy the top three positions in successful run-chases in this period as well.

Therefore, taking into account the staggering difference between Haq and others, it wouldn’t be wrong to consider him as one of the greatest all-time middle-order batters in ODI cricket.

About the author

Dixit Bhargav

Dixit Bhargav


Born and brought up in Pathankot, Dixit Bhargav is an engineering and sports management graduate who works as a Cricket Editor at The SportsRush. Having written more than 10,000 articles across more than five years at TSR, his first cricketing memory dates back to 2002 when former India captain Sourav Ganguly had waved his jersey at the historic Lord’s balcony. What followed for an 8-year-old was an instant adulation for both Ganguly and the sport. The optimist in him is waiting for the day when Punjab Kings will win their maiden Indian Premier League title. When not watching cricket, he is mostly found in a cinema hall watching a Punjabi movie.

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