During the 1992 World Cup once when Imran Khan was talking to some press persons at the nets regarding Inzymam, a reporter asked him why he was praising the youngster in front him. Imran replied that it didn’t matter since the Inzy “doesn’t understand English at all.” That was then. Now after a decade of experience as an international cricketer, Inzymam perhaps understands English - just an assumption - but the way he speaks the language can even make a school student die in shame. The post match conferences during the recently concluded Indo-Pak series were nothing but Inzy’s laborious attempts at speaking the language. And it was quite obvious that he was not enjoying the experience just like running between wickets. So what was an average answer from Inzy like? “We is played badly. Indians is outplayed us is in every department of the game. Shoiab is in good form. He is kept the batting together,” he said almost after all the ODIs that Pakistan lost. English grammar perhaps never had it so bad.
The series will also be remembered for Imran Khan’s repeated plea to sent Yonus Khan up the order. After every match was over, Imran repeated the same lines over and over again so much so that the average viewer started doubting whether it was a live recording or a replay of his previous ramblings. “Look at Ponting, Sachin and Lara. They all play in the top order. I cannot understand why Yonus plays at number seven,” he said once and repeated rest of the million times.
There are some cricketers like Sehwag who use set phrases to avoid embarrassment. For every question you ask Sehwag the answer is, “I play my natural game. If a ball is there to hit I will hit.” And even if Sachin has scored a ton he will give credit to the team and the pitch. “The ball was coming on to the bat. It was a team effort,” he usually would say.
It is also interesting how some commentators also have their own set of phrases. For Ravi Shastri every outfield is a lush green outfield and every edge is followed by, “when you flash, flash hard.” And if one believes Geoffrey Boycott, his mom can play almost very delivery. Waqar on the other hand kept pronouncing “excellent” as “axallent” through out the series.
The Indo-Pak series also gave opportunity for lesser known international cricketers to earn a few bucks by appearing on television. Ashok Malhotra, Nikhil Chopra, Mohsin Khan and Kirti Azad are some of the cricketers who we only see during the cricket matches only to forget after the series is over.