Playing national cricket for Pakistan is not an easy task. This country has produced legends after legends such as Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq, Saeed Anwar, and Javed Miandad. But when you get in touch with one of the most successful captains in Pakistan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, it becomes an even more difficult task to handle. The pressure and oversight associated with a heavy blow were faced by Pakistan’s opener, Imam-Haq.
When Imam, who was Inzamam’s niece, was first selected for the Pakistani national team for the ODI series against Sri Lanka in the UAE, the batsman faced many allegations of nepotism from various social media angles. Fans questioned his place on the team, and in a recent interview, the 24-year-old player remembered that it was very difficult for him to deal with the same thing.
“To be honest, when I was chosen for Pakistan, I only had one friend – Babar [Azam], “Imam told former Indian cricket player Deep Dasgupta at the ESPNCeringfo Cricketbaazi chat. “But there is a communication gap between us because he plays regularly for the national team and I play domestic cricket. So we don’t talk much.
“Besides, he is focused on his cricket and he is in very good condition and has scored two consecutive centuries in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Because his performance at the Test match wasn’t very good, he wanted to make it up. So, he doesn’t say much, “he added.
Speaking of the 2017 series against Sri Lanka, Imam recalled that he began to move away from everyone because he felt discouraged. “When all this starts happening, I will eat alone. That was my first tour and you know how that happened on the first tour. And every time I open the phone, there are people who tag me at social media posts or send items to me. I was very discouraged and could not understand anything.
“I stopped talking to my family because I didn’t want to put them under pressure that I was facing a problem. I turned off and handed my two cellphones to my manager, and said, ‘I can’t take this, please let me go’, he added.
“I remember crying in the bathroom for hours that I haven’t even played [he played the third ODI of the series in Abu Dhabi.It’s very easy for young players to get surrounded by self-doubt. The only thing running constantly in my mind was that I haven’t even played [for the national team] however, what if I play and don’t perform well? Then my career will end. I will not step out of my room, afraid that people will disturb me outside, because there is a large Pakistani community in Dubai.
“So I didn’t play the first two games of the series, Ahmed Shehzad played in it but he couldn’t play [well]. In the team meeting after the second match, Mickey Arthur announced the 14-strong team for the next match, and I was included. And he said that you would be told if you were going to play the night before [the match].
“But I don’t get any calls or messages at night, so I don’t think I played. We live in Dubai, and from there we have to travel to Abu Dhabi on match day, which is a two-hour trip. So we had to leave around 11 noon – 12 pm for the match and I got it [Arthur’s] order around 9.30 in the morning, which I still remember, ‘Immy, it’s time for you, get ready and good luck.’ “
“After that, I don’t remember anything. My mind is completely blank. I hope he doesn’t send a message to me. It should not. Because my confidence has reached its lowest point and I feel so low that I feel I will not be able to appear in the match. I focus less on the match and more on what will happen after. What if I can’t perform? My career will be greatly affected and everyone will say that they are right to criticize me. Because the media only discusses my inclusion aside, “Imam concluded.