It’s a rare sight that a batsman plays with eyesight glasses on. His left eye has a minus 2.75 and right is 1.7 which is inherited, but also in his genes is the cricketing ability.
This is Imam-ul-Haq for you. His selection raised a hue and cry, for his performance was in four days but was given a chance in ODIs. But the problems don’t end here. The selection committee which chose him is headed by his uncle, Inzamam-ul-Haq.
It is always a big challenge to follow the footstep of your illustrious peer. For Imam, the problem was double fold. He not only had to justify his selection but also proved that his talent is inherited.
He did so by example, smashing a hundred on debut. It would not only give relief to the youngster but his uncle must have bowed down before Almighty to thank that the pressure was released.
Imam matches his strokes with his words and was impeccable in his interview to ARYWeb. Here is how he went:
Q: How big an influence is Inzamam on your career?
Imam: No doubt he is the biggest. Whenever I have any problem in batting he gives me time and takes me to NCA and tells me about batting. The best lesson he has given to me is to play without fear and believe in hard work and destiny.
Q: You selection was criticized so your hundred must have relieved the pressure?
Imam: It (criticism) makes no difference to me because I have grown up in a family that I have a self-belief and I am mature and I have played in Junior World Cups and have performed well win in the domestic matches. My best answer is to give the performance and people have their jobs to do and I respect them. If I don’t perform then people will criticize.
Q: Its tough to make your own identity when you are a relative of a great play, you always remain under his shadow, How would you make your own identity?
Imam: It’s not my fault that I am his nephew. I can’t help that. I am not answerable to that. My best is to answer with my bat. I will have failures and every player has that failure. I respect my elders.
Q: You were given out on 89 what were your feelings then?
Imam: Obviously it was bad feeling I was on debut so I didn’t look at the ball. I knew that I had nicked it so I thought it’s one but sarfraz signaled that the ball had not carried
Q: You finally hit a century on debut, how were your feelings on that milestone?
Imam: Honestly, I didn’t know that I am only the second player. I am very proud and when I got out Sarfraz told me. Its a proud moment for me and my country and I will do my best to do well
Q: How did Hafeez support you because when you scored hundred he was at the crease?
Imam: I will give credit to Hafeez and was having cramps so he told me that I will beat you if you get out by playing a stupid shot, so he was supporting me. Even in the field, he was saying that I am feeling that you will score a hundred. My thanks, when he came to bat he told me that I should not go without scoring a hundred.
Q: Who are your idols in cricket?
Imam: I have a couple of idols. I like Younis Khan for his mental strength and toughness that he had shown in his career and that was outstanding. He was very punctual and hard working. In this team, Shoaib Malik is very supportive and helps every player
Q: Did playing under-19 help?
Imam: Yes, it did. When I came there was a lot of criticism and I was under pressure but after practicing for four-five days and got everyone’s support then I got relaxed
Q: Who was the greatest support at home?
Imam: My father has been a great influence and used to help me bunk the school because my mother was against my playing cricket.