Outside January 6, 2018 was one of the coldest winter days so far this year. Inside the gym at the E.C. Drury School for the Deaf Sports Complex people turned their minds to cricket, and preparing for the upcoming season. Events Ontario hosted two of the game’s greats: Inzamam Ul Haq and Muhammad Yousuf for a Meet & Greet. The two players are considered legends in Pakistani Cricket, playing professionally since the ‘90’s.
Kids practiced in one corner of the gym as the crowd waited for the athletes to enter. It proved to be a magnet for the players, as they made their way over and demonstrated their form, giving tips as needed. The pair sat at a table, answering questions about their playing career posed by Naeem Tariq of Events Ontario. Inzamam Ul-Haq bats right-hand, and bowls left-handed. Mohammad Yousuf bats right-handed, and bowls right-handed.
The questions started with how they got involved with the sport. Both struggled with the lack of club-teams, and getting noticed. Ul Haq was part of a large family, and remembered playing with nothing more than a piece of wood. He was eventually noticed, and sponsored. “Positive thinking, and positive attitude; you get a positive result,” he said.
Both are now retired. They notice differences in the game. When they played it was all about technique. “Now it’s about getting quick runs,” Ul Haq noted. Cricket is known as a high scoring game, with scores stretching into the hundreds. “It’s a different game now,” he said. It’s no longer played in the schools.
They both played with Pakistan’s national team. They recall a world-cup loss in 1999, where the team practically had to sneak into their homes to avoid the criticism. “It’s important to push people up,” Ul Haq said.
His final comment was for the young cricket players. “It’s important to be a good human being before being a good player,” Ul Haq said. Events Ontario Softball Cricket League Junior is entering its second year. For more information visit: www.facebook.com/EOSCLeague
Photos by: Sarah Afran