Monday, January 28, 2019

Imam Ul Haq - a Young but Promising Career ...

For as long as Inzamam Ul Haq remains PCB's Chief Selector, poor Imam Ul Haq will have to bear the brunt of judgement calls and nepotism remarks.

Such is our nation, that no matter how good someone performs, they will for some reason always feel he is in the team because of his legendary uncle who is the Chief Selector.

I really never understood why so many people feel this way.

Inzamam was appointed Chief Selector in April 2016. That was probably the most ideal time to select Imam Ul Haq considering he had just completed the best domestic season of his career, which included a career best first class double century.

In fact, during one of the press conferences, soon after becoming Chief Selector, Inzamam was asked by a reporter why he had not selected Imam considering Imam was the the best performing opener in the domestic circuit.

Inzamam's response was "Imam had not done enough to be considered yet".

The first time Imam was selected in Pakistan's squad was for the ODI series against Sri Lanka in October 2017 - a good 18 months after Inzamam had been Chief Selector.

The first time he was selected for the Test team was in May 2018 - a whole two years after Inzamam had been Chief Selector.

Nepotism? I don't think so.

In both cases, it was pure performance.

Imam made it into the ODI squad after two solid domestic seasons and responded with a debut ODI century in a successful chase against Sri Lanka.

He became only the second Pakistani, and 13th overall, to score a century on ODI debut.

On his test debut, against Ireland, his composed unbeaten 74 ensured Pakistan a victory after they had been precariously left reeling at 14-3 in pursuit of 160.

For all those who thought that Inzamam used his influence as Chief Selector to select Imam, why were these two sterling debut performances not enough to justify his selection?

The remarks from the critics continued, despite Imam piling on the runs, especially in ODI cricket.

Following his debut ton, Imam knocked three more in the ODI series against Zimbabwe. Sure it was Zimbabwe, but even then it takes plenty of work to be this consistent and focused.

Before the start of the ODI series against South Africa, Imam was averaging 60+ in ODIs, and yet there were calls about how he should be replaced and that he was in the team only because of his uncle.

A 60+ ODI average damn it. How many other ODI batsmen have that?


4 ODIs into the series against South Africa and Imam still averages 63.6 following scores of 86, 5, 101, and 71.

That average of 63.6 is the highest average among all batsmen that have scored at least 1,000 ODI runs (for countries with permanent ODI status).

In a career that is very young, that is a great average. What is even greater about it is that in matches that Pakistan wins, Imam's average is a staggering 84.5!

4 of his 5 ODI hundreds and 4 of his 5 ODI fifties have all come in wins, demonstrating his contribution to Pakistan's ODI wins.

The only ODI century that did not lead to a Pakistan win was last week against South Africa. Who knows what the result may have been had rain not played spoilsport.

During the course of that century, Imam brought up his 1,000th ODI run, getting there in only his 19th ODI innings and becoming the second fastest to that mark, behind only his opening partner - Fakhar Zaman.

In his young ODI career, Imam has fast become the most dependable batsman in the line up, after Babar Azam. As an opener, he is more reliable than the country's poster child - Fakhar Zaman.

Sure, Imam's test career has not taken off the same way as his ODI career has, but that is no reason to continue making snide remarks against his position in the Pakistan team.

Even Babar Azam took his time to settle down in whites.

Even the world's greatest batsman took a while to establish himself as a test batsman - Virat Kohli averaged under 30 till his 8th test, and he did not consistently average above 40 till his 15th test. The first time it went above 50 was in his 52nd test!

In tests, it will take time, but in ODIs there is absolutely no doubt that Imam deserves his position as an opener irrespective of who his uncle is.

Make your pitch on this post...

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2 Pitched:

  1. Chetan Raygor said...

    Nice and infomatiinf information for me, I also have blog related to cricket but it was in hindi. This is URL of my blog

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