Pakistani cricketer Imad Wasim
Pakistani cricketer Imad Wasim Image Credit: AFP

Birmingham: Imad Wasim is Pakistan’s hero and Wales’ pride. He was born in Wales where his father worked as an engineer before returning to Pakistan and becoming a cricketer. Wasim made every Pakistan fan here happy through an unbeaten 49 that ensured a three-wicket win with two balls to spare over Afghanistan on Saturday.

After the match, he waved at the crowd that cheered his every run. “If we win the next game [against Bangladesh], you never know what will happen then,” he remarked in excitement.

“This win gives us the confidence as well,” he said.

Wasim then went on to describe his knock.

“When I went in, Rashid Khan was bowling brilliantly,” he said. “To be honest, I couldn’t pick him. But we knew that if we would play out the 50 overs, we can win. Gulbadin [Naib] was the only bowler to be targeted, and the wicket was turning square. If you take risks against them you can lose your wicket.”

Wasim sportingly hailed the Afghanistan team and even noted that they will be a force to reckon with in the future.

“Their spinners are world class. If they score consistently over 250 or 260 on any track, they can cause trouble to any team. So the credit goes to Afghanistan. They have come up tremendously in the last five years. And see, they are giving every team a tough time. They gave India a tough time, and they troubled us too. They will go places in a couple of years’ time.”

After he walked in, did he at any point of time get the feeling that the match was slipping out of their hands? Was he nervous? “I don’t think so because we know we have some very good players at the end. So if one of us stayed in, we would make it.”

So what was the planning that went in to reach this target? “Since Rashid Khan was bowling brilliantly, if you take a chance, you might give them a wicket. So we were determined not to give him any wicket, and then decide how to tackle the rest. And we also knew they would bowl short at some point, and we targeted that.”

Does his performance now seal his place in the Pakistan team? With a smile he responded: “I was always on the team, mate. Every time I go out there I just play for my country. I love my country just as any sportsman would. So I want to give 100 per cent every time. The result doesn’t matter to me because if I give 100 per cent and the rest of the lot too do the same, we’re good enough to beat any side on a given day. But today’s was a great innings.”