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Pakistan chief selector Mohammad Wasim has defended the decision made to give opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq a Category B white-ball contract even though he has been one of the prominent run-scorers in ODI cricket.
Wasim noted that Imam was handed a Category C contract last year and through his consistent performances, he earned a promotion up to Category B for the 2022/23 season.
Imam accumulated 298 runs in three ODIs against Australia, which included two hundreds and a fifty, at an average of 149.
He continued to shine against the West Indies, scoring 199 runs in three ODIs, which included three half-centuries, at an average of 66.33.
However, he faltered against the Netherlands as he only mustered eight runs in two ODIs at an average of four.
Despite this, Imam currently sits in fourth place on the ICC ODI batsmen rankings, which has led to some people questioning why he didn’t receive a Category A contract instead.
However, Wasim reiterated that the 26-year-old got the reward he deserved.
“He was in Category C in the last year’s contracts, so he got promoted,” he said on ARY News’ Sports Room as quoted by A-Sports.
“He made runs in domestic cricket and got introduced in the red-ball side, and performed well so he did get promoted.”
Imam recently played in the County Championship, where he has amassed 177 runs in three matches for Somerset, which included two half-centuries, at an average of 35.40.
Pakistan, meanwhile, are facing England in a seven-match T20 series, which is currently tied at 2-2.
They will then head to New Zealand for a T20 tri-series that will also involve Bangladesh. All the matches will be played in Christchurch from October 7 to 14.
Pakistan also announced their side for the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia, which will get underway on October 16.
Pakistan’s Squad for England Series: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, Haider Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Aamer Jamal, Iftikhar Ahmed, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Haris, Khushdil Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood, Usman Qadir, Abrar Ahmed
Pakistan’s 2022 T20 World Cup squad: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Usman Qadir
Reserves: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Haris, Shahnawaz Dahani