The rivalry between India and Pakistan is part of cricketing folklore. There have been epic encounters and memorable moments on and off the field. Despite the rivalry, there has been camaraderie among the players, though there have been exceptions.
Former Pakistan skipper and legendary batter Inzamam-ul-Haq is one such player who is highly respected across the border, too. A gentle giant, Haq shared a good rapport with the Indian players. So, when an old video of Haq talking about conversion emerged on social media recently, it quickly became viral. The reason being that he claimed that former star Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh expressed his wish to convert to Islam.
In the video, he says, while on tour, they used to invite Indian players like Zaheer Khan, Mohammed Kaif and Irfan Pathan to namaz-reading sessions conducted by Maulana Tariq Jameel. Other players, too, used to join to listen to the Maulana.
“Harbhajan [Singh] once told me, ‘my heart says that I should agree to whatever he (Maulana) says.’ I said, ‘then follow him. What is stopping you?’. He replied, ‘I stop when I see you. Your life isn’t like that’,” Haq is heard saying in the video. “So, it is us who are not following our religion. We are to be blamed.”
Reacting to the video, Singh, on X, said that he is a “proud Indian” and a “proud Sikh”. He said that Haq's claim was rubbish.
Inzamam-ul-Haq had recently stepped down as Pakistan's chief selector because of conflict of interest allegations, following the side's dismal campaign at the 2023 World Cup.