The Caribbean Premier League’s starting date of the 29th of June means it is scheduled right in the heart of summer, hence the ambiance of the tournament being associated with sea, sun and sand – the perfect setting for a relative newcomer to announce his arrival on a global stage.
On the ascendancy of the international cricketing radar is Pakistan’s Imad Wasim, who will be playing for Jamaica Tallawahs. Fresh off scoring an unbeaten 55 not-out for club side Omar Associates in a Ramzan cricket festival with a bowling spell of 1-15 against opponents K-Electric, he is coming off an ankle injury which meant he missed the recent Kakul training camp for Pakistan’s England-bound players. Given that he is recognized as an all-rounder, it is difficult to fathom why he has been labelled as only a ‘spinner’ in recent training camp press releases. However, with a combined knowledge of both cricket and medicine running through his veins, post- injury he has upped the antenna on his fitness levels.
By the time Jamaica Tallawahs play their first match scheduled for the 2nd of July, opponents St Kitts and Nevis Patriots will already have played an introductory match against Guyana Amazon Warriors. Asked if with the likes of West Indies big-hitter Chris Gayle and South African speedster Dale Steyn, Jamaica Tallawahs will win the CPL crown as they did in the inaugural 2013 tournament, Wasim brims with positivity. “If we play to our true potential, we will repeat the earlier victory. One has to stick to basics. In cricket one never knows what can happen and things can change in 3-4 overs.”
With fellow teammate, the gentlemanly Kumar Sangakarra giving an interview this week saying he looks forward to working with new talent such as Imad Wasim, the latter finds himself in the hot spot of attention. Looking forward to the England-Pakistan series following CPL, he says he will take some tips from Sangakkara who had signed on for the 2015/2016 seasons with Surrey. “I am keen to learn and eager to perform. The key is for me to learn all that I can from a legend such as him.”
The International Cricket Council and CPL’s plans to hold matches in Florida during the 2015 season may not have borne fruit, but this year six matches are to be held at Fort Lauderdale, where a large West Indian expatriate community are expected to attend. Wasim sees the move as lucrative to cricket and admits that he has never visited the USA before. Alluding to the success of last year’s Cricket All Stars, he feels there will be a passionate crowd which will energize players further.
Hollywood star Gerard Butler is known to have a share in the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise and has reportedly tried his hand at dressing-room batting. If Wasim is at all impressed by the glitzy side of T20 cricket, he shows nothing of it and is simply appreciative in his praise for the movie star, saying that “He is a great actor, one of my favourites, if not the best and it would be wonderful to meet him.”
If there have been any criticisms of Imad Wasim, it is that he has to move on from cameo appearances because he has the potential to be a flag-bearer of victory. With his natural aggression hidden beneath a diplomatic demeanour, can fans expect any rib ticklers from him? Signing off from the interview on a personal note, he says he wants to make Jamaica Tallawahs win the tournament. “I am there as a cricketer to learn to adapt to the conditions and I want to contribute to my team winning the tournament.”
With 10 matches and 33 playing days ahead of CPL’s final leg, Imad Wasim will be keen to show that he can perform outside the protective circle of the national team’s set-up. With the Caribbean’s festive playing arena ready for him to show off his wares, for now his infallible temperament means he has the leading edge.