Inzy’s nephew Imam blasts ton in response to talk of nepotism
IN a week where Sri Lanka agreed to return to Pakistan for the first time since the 2009 Lahore terror attack, Sarfraz Ahmed and his side put their Test series defeat behind them to seal a 3-0 victory in the ODIs.
A century from debutant Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of former Pakistan great Inzamam, was central to the hosts’ win by a margin of seven wickets in Abu Dhabi.
A score of 100 off 125 balls vindicated the 21-year-old’s call-up to the ODI squad after Inzamam, a PCB national selector, was criticised for nepotism by the Pakistan media.
“Look, you have to notice the talent and what he can do. His performance was good in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy,” Inzamam said in defence.
“Then he scored two hundreds for the U23 team in the triangular tournament in Bangladesh.
“He scored a hundred in Sialkot.
“Even Mickey Arthur and Sarfraz Ahmed gave their opinions.We all consult each other.”
Imam’s latest century may be the finest of his career as he became only the second player in his country’s history to score an ODI ton on debut – a cause for celebration for the lefthander who starred at the U19 World Cup three years ago.
“I’m so very proud about it,” said the youngster. “Honestly, I didn’t know about that record but once I had gone back to the dressing room Sarfraz Ahmed told me.
“It’s a great feeling to score a hundred on debut. It’s a proud moment for me, very happy to do it for Pakistan.”
But questioners were still focusing on his selection rather than the quality of his 125-ball innings.
Imam was asked whether the pre-match headlines over being selected by his uncle was a distraction.
“It makes no difference to me because I have grown up in a cricketing family,” Imam responded.
“I have self-belief and I am mature. My best answer is to perform, if I don’t perform then people will criticise.
“It’s not my fault that I am his nephew. I can’t help that. I am not answerable to that. The best I can do is to answer with my bat.”
Quality innings: Imam