Inzy’s nephew Imam blasts ton in re­sponse to talk of nepo­tism

The Cricket Paper - - INTERNATIONAL CRICKET - By Ge­orge Jones

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

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