The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Slim Inzamam oozing energy

Johannesburg, Feb. 1 (AFP): Pakistan vice-captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who has been the butt of jokes around the world because of his weight, has unveiled his new slim-line look.

The prolific right-hander, who played a crucial role in Pakistan’s World Cup triumph in 1992, said he had lost 23 pounds in the last six months.

“I want to look the same as I looked during the 1992 World Cup — a shy and thin boy,” smiled Inzamam who has 8,938 runs from 284 one-day International games at 39.20.

It was as a raw 22-year-old that he made his mark in the semi-final of the 1992 edition when he hit 60 off 37 balls against New Zealand before helping his side to a 22-run win over England in the final.

“It has taken a lot of sacrifice to lose weight but then if I had to be in the best of shapes, I had to do it. After all, this World Cup means a lot not only to me but to 140 million people back home who expect me to perform,” Inzamam said at the Wanderers here Friday.

“I’m sure I will not be criticised for my weight this time. I feel fresh and more athletic after having lost weight. I can feel there is a huge difference between the Inzamam of today and Inzamam of maybe six months ago. I have had long nets and fielding sessions and I don’t feel tired at all.

“Now I am sure that I will be able to spend more time at the crease because the new-look body will now put lesser pressure on my knees. At the same time, I can be quicker between the wickets and therefore, there will be little chance of a run out,” Inzamam said.

“I would like to lose another five pounds by the time we take on India on March 1.”

Inzamam will be playing in his fourth World Cup. In 24 Cup games so far, he has scored 624 runs at 29.71.

“I have a big role to play and need to lead by example. I have to carry the younger boys and they will only succeed if I am there in the centre to guide them, exactly the way Javed Miandad did in the 1992 World Cup,” said Inzamam whose best World Cup score remains 81.

He admitted Pakistan had a rough last couple of months, but stressed that it was now a rejuvenated team and there has been a sudden change in the attitude of the players.

It’s a quality they will need when they face bitter rivals Australia in their opening game here on February 11.

Pakistan lost to Australia in the Lord’s final in 1999.

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