It is going to be a dream realised for Imam-ul-Haq, ought to he make his Test debut as anticipated this week. Rising up and hoping to emulate his uncle, former Pakistan captain and now chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imam wished to play Assessments for his nation – even when he didn’t anticipate his first to be in Eire.
Imam has already performed 4 ODIs, scoring a century on debut towards Sri Lanka final 12 months, and he’s set to fit into the highest three of the Test aspect. In two warm-up matches over the previous fortnight, Imam, 22, has scored two half-centuries – 61 towards Kent and 59* towards Northamptonshire. Now he hopes to offer some batting fibre in a aspect that has struggled considerably because the retirement of two Pakistan greats final 12 months.
“It is a very proud feeling,” Imam stated. “All people is aware of that Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have simply retired and our younger guys should do plenty of work. It is at all times good to return and show some extent, and we’re wanting ahead to this sequence. I’ve been scoring runs within the two four-day matches and that offers me confidence. I am very hopeful that I am going to do nicely on this sequence.
“Clearly it is going to be my first Test match, my first stress match. I might be very nervous, I will not lie – that is what we play for, that is my dream since I grew up, to play Test cricket for your nation. I did not assume I might play my first Test match in Eire, so it is totally different however as a sportsman you must be prepared for every little thing.”
Malahide would be the scene for not solely Imam’s Test bow, however that of the Eire males’s group. Granted Test standing final 12 months, Eire will welcome Pakistan as their first five-day opponents, seeking to revive reminiscences of the well-known 2007 World Cup upset at Sabina Park.
“I keep in mind that match, it was a really huge day for Eire cricket and a really unhappy day for Pakistan,” Imam stated. “However in sport, these items occur. On the identical day, India misplaced as nicely towards Bangladesh, so we had been comfortable. Jokes aside, it was a tragic day for Pakistan as a nation, so hopefully we’ll get our personal again by successful the Test.
“They’re enjoying their first Test match, so we wish to give them good luck, it is excellent for Irish cricket. We hope they may play good and be an excellent aspect in future.”
Whereas Eire will go into the Test as agency underdogs – a place Pakistan typically experience – Mickey Arthur’s group should guard towards complacency. Pakistan briefly topped the Test rankings in 2016, after drawing 2-2 with England, however have since slipped to No. 7 on the planet and might be hoping to keep away from an ambush in what could possibly be difficult situations for batting.
“Cricket is a humorous sport and you may’t take any aspect frivolously,” Imam stated. “We’ve to do our greatest, and we have now to show some extent and win the sport. It does not matter, towards Eire or England, we have now to play good cricket and that may give us confidence, and make our kids to do nicely within the England sequence. The situations are troublesome, as you see the rain and the wicket might be powerful as a result of it is early [summer] right here.
“It is a very younger aspect Test cricket is totally different, you want persistence over right here and it exams your health as nicely. Again house we had a really powerful camp, so we’re very hopeful and really excited. We’re hoping to do one thing very particular right here inshallah.”
Whereas Pakistan’s opening tour sport was a soggy affair at Kent, they present some spectacular type to brush apart Northamptonshire by 9 wickets on Monday. Asad Shafiq’s 186 was the spotlight, whereas Shadab Khan claimed a ten-wicket haul, and Imam stated the gamers had been assured of rising to the event.
“We have been working laborious, as a subcontinent nation it is troublesome to carry out over right here in England and Eire. We have had two excellent four-day matches, the blokes had been working laborious and speaking to our batting coach. There are private objectives there, we’re engaged on it and inshallah we’ll do nicely.”