Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi believes that opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq has justified his selection in the Test team following his mature knock of 74 not out on debut, which led the national team to a five-wicket win over Ireland.
Imam’s inclusion in the Test squad for the tours of Ireland and England was heavily criticised as people accused chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq for selecting him solely due to the fact that he is his nephew.
However, not only did Imam make scores of 61 and 59 not out in Pakistan’s warm-up matches against Kent and Northamptonshire, but he kept the momentum going against Ireland, who were making their Test debut.
After being set 160 to win, Pakistan found themselves in trouble early on as they were reduced to 14/3, but Imam kept a cool and calm composure throughout his innings and went on to lead Pakistan to victory.
Sharing his views on Imam’s selection and his performance against Ireland, Sethi was quoted by PakPassion as saying: “Inzamam must be very happy now. There is always negativity [about team selection] but what I know is that Inzamam is a very fair person.
“Inzamam knows that he has a huge responsibility [on his shoulders]. Believe me when I saw Imam play, I have seen a lot of maturity in him. Imam has proved to all that his selection was fair and justified.”
Meanwhile, Sethi also admitted that Pakistan’s openers have to work together to forge a strong opening partnership as it will put less pressure on the middle order batsmen.
Pakistan lost opener Azhar Ali early on in both innings against Ireland, and Sethi admitted that this trend cannot continue in the upcoming two-Test series against England.
“The issue is that our openers are not performing,” he said. “This creates a lot of pressure on the middle order and as we saw, even the middle order collapsed.
“This is a big issue for us and if our openers failed to perform [against England] then that will become a big problem for us.
“Mickey Arthur and Sarfaraz Ahmed will need to think about how to strengthen the opening slots so that they can post 60-70 runs. These are Test matches we are playing, not T20s; in such a format, losing 2-3 wickets in the first 3-4 overs is very dangerous.”