Sharjah: Imam-ul-Haq, who bagged the Man of the Match award by guiding Peshawar Zalmi to an emphatic 44-run victory over Karachi Kings through a fine knock of 56 runs, has proved that he is a fine batsman for all formats of the game.
The 23-year-old Haq had been criticised for being in the Pakistan team through nepotism as he is the nephew of chief selector and legendary batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, but now he has silenced his critics with some impressive knocks. Last month he recorded his fifth ODI century against South Africa in Centurion.
Answering a query from Gulf News on how he has maintained his form and consistency in all formats, Haq said: “As a batsman you need to perform in every game. It is also important to perform very well when you are in good form. As everybody tell you that I should carry on the good form, I try my best to do it. I am just trying my level best to carry on my good form so it will help me as well as my team.”
When asked whether his critics have put pressure on him, Haq said: “I always try to play my cricket really well and I don’t think critics matter to me. I really want to perform for my country and Peshawar Zalmi and that is my main aim and I really want to do well in the next matches as well.”
Was it tough for him to adjust from the South African wickets — on which he played some fine knocks — to the Sharjah wicket? “I guess we have played enough cricket in Sharjah, it is difficult to switch from Sharjah to South Africa but I don’t think it is difficult to switch from South Africa to Sharjah.”
Imam then went on to explain on how he build his innings despite losing his experienced opening partner Kamran Akmal early on against Karachi. “As an opener I rely on the cricketing shots because the wicket was not that good. The ball was keeping low so I knew that through cricketing shots it will be better and also if you ran hard pushing strongly.”
Imam-ul-Haq is also delighted with the support for his team. “We had great fan following in Dubai and now in Sharjah too,” he said. “It feels nice when crowd supports you because it gives a home-crowd feel. When the crowd supports, one gets a boost and feels the need to put in that extra effort.”
Imam-ul-Haq hasn’t featured in the Pakistan T20 team and wants to prove to selectors that he is good enough for this format. “I need to play four or five back to back innings like this,” he said. “I am also learning from other T20 players and I am happy that franchises are also supporting me to boost my confidence in T20. This will help me in becoming an international T20 cricketer.”