Imam-ul-Haq has been kind of a everlasting fixture within the facet for over a yr, however discuss of his shut relationship with chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq exhibits no signal of abating. On this event, it was Imam himself who selected to deliver it to the highlight following a fiery response, after the opener reached his fifth ODI hundred.
When Imam obtained to the landmark with a reduce by means of level off Tabraiz Shamsi within the third ODI at Supersport Park, he eliminated his helmet, locked eyes with the altering room and made a yapping gesture along with his fingers earlier than placing his finger to his lips, as if to silence somebody. Two balls later, he holed out at deep extra-cover for 101, however by the tip of the innings, it was apparent his burning sense of injustice continued to rage.
When requested by commentator Mike Haysman in regards to the message he had wished to convey, Imam mentioned, “[That gesture was about] my choice and all that stuff. I’m the nephew of the chief selector. To all of the individuals who criticised me through the years, the media and the folks, I need to thank them. This has been doable due to them.”
Imam has beforehand spoken of his irritation on the suggestion he owes his place within the facet to nepotism. Chatting with ESPNcricinfo final yr, he mentioned that suggestion had “actually pissed me off”, insisting he had earned his place within the facet as a lot as every other participant. Murmurs about his well-known uncle and the position he performed in getting Imam to the Pakistan facet have by no means fairly gone away, although Inzamam has repeatedly claimed he didn’t push for his nephew’s inclusion.
Having been referred to as as much as make his worldwide debut in an ODI against Sri Lanka amid immense scrutiny for a similar causes, Imam turned the second Pakistan participant to attain 100 on ODI debut. He adopted it up with one other three within the five-match ODI collection towards Zimbabwe final yr. Friday’s century means he now has 5 centuries and 4 half-centuries in 19 ODIs. Imam reached one other landmark in Centurion, turning into the second fastest to 1000 ODI runs – behind solely his opening associate Fakhar Zaman.
Imam has put a difficult Check collection behind him within the first three ODIs, following up his 86 in Port Elizabeth with 100. In opposition to the pink ball in South Africa, he had discovered batting a wrestle, managing 149 runs in six innings at 24.83. He additionally made a degree of thanking the coaches for serving to him keep robust, and with out whom he mentioned it might be “tough to face right here”.
“The help employees has backed me all through to exit and simply carry out. I need to thank [batting coach] Grant Flower and coach Mickey Arthur for supporting me, too. It was a really particular hundred. Coming to South Africa, we believed we might win.”