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  1. #1
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    "Pressure is immense due to me being Inzamam's nephew" : Imam-ul-Haq

    A veteran of two Under-19 World Cups and marked as a future prospect for the Pakistan team, twenty-one-year-old Imam-ul-Haq continues to impress all with some robust batting performances. He recently scored a fantastic double-hundred in the final of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy and overall has a amassed over fifteen-hundred runs in just twenty-nine First-class appearances.

    In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, the left-handed Imam-ul-Haq spoke about his excellent performance in the recently concluded Quaid-e-Azam trophy, the effects of the pressure of being related to the former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, the progress of his former Under-19 team-mates Sami Aslam and Babar Azam and his own aspirations to play for Pakistan.





    PakPassion.net : Scoring a double-hundred in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final and in front of the television cameras must have been a special occasion for you?

    Imam-ul-Haq : It was an amazing experience as the tournament had been a bit up-and-down for me. So, this was a great way to end the tournament. Also, as a unit the HBL team deserve lots of appreciation for the way we came back into the game after a disastrous start which made us pretty much the underdogs in the final. Yes, we were concerned about our position in the game in the first innings but then domestic pitches have been like that in recent times. The pitch in Karachi was generally good but earlier on there was moisture and I am sure any team would have collapsed on a similar pitch. However, the HBL batting have shown their ability to recover and comeback from similar situations as we did against KRL in an earlier game. In the final, we came back from a similar situation very strongly but Salman Butt batted wonderfully and we lost due to the first innings score by WAPDA.

    Going back to my own form, it seemed to improve drastically in the Super-Eights stage of the tournament and the double-hundred in the final and in front of TV cameras was really special. I do hope that I get more opportunities like that and I can perform like this in the future again.


    PakPassion.net : You had a very good season in this edition of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy, what would you put that down to?

    Imam-ul-Haq : To be honest, I work very hard on my batting in every season. Even in the off-season I go to the NCA and work with my fitness trainer Yasir Malik as fitness training is very important for players in modern cricket. Apart from that, I obviously spend a lot of time in the nets as well. In this season, my first seven matches weren’t that good for me in terms of performance but I would like to thank my parents for their prayers and HBL management for their faith in my abilities. I firmly believe that if youngsters are given chances to prove themselves, they will deliver and that was what happened in my case as well. I do believe that my good performances in this season were due to the excellent support I received from HBL.


    PakPassion.net : You are someone who has progressed through the system via the junior teams such as the Under-19s. Has that helped in your development as a batsman?

    Imam-ul-Haq : As a player one of the most satisfying things is to know that you are improving at every stage of your development. My journey to First-class cricket was through the Under-19 team and I can tell you that this stage is a great platform for every youngster to show their abilities to the world. Playing for Pakistan Under-19s is like playing at the international stage; such is the importance as well as the appreciation players get at that level. I was lucky to have played in two World Cups where in the 2014 edition I was the top scorer for Pakistan with 382 runs to my name. All in all, such tournaments help you gain confidence and give you a taste of international cricket which makes the eventual transition to the senior team much easier.


    PakPassion.net : Who are the cricketers you admire and wish to emulate on the field?

    Imam-ul-Haq : I may not consider Virat Kohli as my role model but what I do love is his passion for the game, in every game he plays. I really admire his body-language and attitude and watching him gives me a lot of inspiration.


    PakPassion.net : Do you feel there is additional pressure on you to perform as you are Inzamam-ul-Haq’s nephew?

    Imam-ul-Haq : To be honest the pressure is immense due to me being Inzamam's nephew. This is Pakistan and there is a lot of talk about this and comparisons are drawn which I would love to ignore but at the end of the day, I am a human being. In the corner of my mind there is always a thought that I should be doing better as I am related to Inzamam who was a great player. But, now I have an extra burden as he is also the Chief Selector. So, in many ways, I now must perform even better before anyone recognizes me as a good batsman in domestic cricket.


    PakPassion.net : What's the best piece of cricketing advice your uncle Inzamam-ul-Haq has given to you?

    Imam-ul-Haq : You may not believe it but he rarely talks about any technical aspects of my game. He does, though, give me support and always advises me to go out there and enjoy myself in the middle. He always says that if you have the ability, then go and perform and stop thinking about the “ifs” and “buts” and have faith in oneself. He does avoid cricket topics in general as I believe he doesn’t want to pressure me too much. He made one exception recently as he was present at the National Stadium Karachi due to his position as Chief Selector and he witnessed my double-hundred. Later, in the evening, he spoke to me about the areas that I needed to work upon such as the tactics when building such an innings as well as a good strike rate which I should have maintained.


    PakPassion.net : What is Inzamam like when he is not talking about cricket?

    Imam-ul-Haq : Well as you know he is my uncle and in a family setting, we do all meet up and have a chat about different subjects. One aspect of Inzamam’s personality that many don’t know about is his humour and wit. Let me tell you that when we all meet-up as a family, he does joke around a bit and he is a very funny guy. And no, we don’t talk about his run-outs but he is very impressed about my running between wickets and feels that I have fast legs.


    PakPassion.net : You are someone who can bowl a bit, are you developing that side of your game too?

    Imam-ul-Haq : I started my career in cricket as a leg-spin bowler and my intention was to become a bowling all-rounder. I did enjoy and was enthusiastic about bowling although my preference was to bat. The only reason I started to bowl was that since I started playing cricket at a young age, my club management decided to shield me from injury whilst batting by making me bowl more than bat. I still do have intentions to develop my bowling skills and my coach at HBL, Aslam Qureshi, has always said that I can become a top-quality all-rounder and he insists that I bowl more. In fact, in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final against WAPDA, I did bowl and managed to take a wicket as well. I guess the issue is that our domestic cricket is pretty tough for an opening batsman. There is a lot of pressure on openers as the wickets are not suitable for batting. In order to keep my focus on my job as an opener, I keep my practice limited to batting alone so really do not get time to work on my bowling skills as much as I would like to.


    PakPassion.net : Sami Aslam and Babar Azam are former team mates of yours at junior level, thoughts on them?

    Imam-ul-Haq : They are two amazing prospects for Pakistan who have also shown us good examples of their talents. On top of that they are also excellent humans and God Willing, they will perform for Pakistan for many years to come. These two are doing an excellent job for Pakistan as we saw in England when Sami Aslam stepped up and put in some brilliant scores when even his seniors were struggling and under extreme pressure. This is just the start of their careers and I do hope and pray that they will improve further. If you look how Babar Azam, even though he got out on a low score, batted in Brisbane against Australia, you would have noted that his body language was incredible; he was looking to score runs and he was fully switched on for the task ahead. Also, Mohammad Nawaz who is a good friend of mine, is also on tour in Australia and I am proud to say that players from my Under-19 days are doing extremely well and this can only bode well for Pakistan cricket.


    PakPassion.net : Are there any areas of improvement in your game that you wish to concentrate on?

    Imam-ul-Haq : No batsman in the history of the game has ever stopped learning whilst they have been playing. There is always room to improve. For me, as Inzamam has also pointed out, there is an issue of lack of focus when I am batting. I need to do away with negative thoughts and concentrate better to avoid playing a casual shot and needlessly losing my wicket. In the past, I have gone past fifty but not completed a century which is very irritating. Thankfully my season ended on a high note but I know in my heart that I have still some work to do to get over this weakness as well as also work on some power-hitting and sweep shots which are good run-getting shots for any batsman.


    PakPassion.net : In terms of your own prospects, you must also have been encouraged by the progress of Sami Aslam and Babar Azam?

    Imam-ul-Haq : Of course, every player in the country dreams of and strives to represent Pakistan at the highest level. This drive is what keeps you motivated all the time. As for me, I don’t want to look too far ahead. I want to keep my feet firmly on the ground and perform in whichever game that comes up next. I don’t want to be a one-match wonder but someone who can consistently perform in all matches I play. I am a highly motivated and a hard-working player and I will continue doing my best to perform and leave the rest to the Almighty and the selectors. I do wish to play for Pakistan and once I get in the team, I want to perform well enough to be in the team for the next seven to eight years or however long as I can do.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  2. #2
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    A pleasure talking to Imam ; really do hope he gets going and is selected sooner than later. Some interesting comments about Inzamam in family settings there


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  3. #3
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    It's hard working players like these who are aware of their limitations and want to continue to improve that deserve to be backed and given chances rather than the likes of Butt, Shehzad and Hafeez who it's their God-given right to play for Pakistan.

    Great interview.

  4. #4
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    He was the only opener who ended up with an aggregate and average as good as Salman Butt in the QEA, and he also performed well in the Final.

    I have written elsewhere that I would accept him rather than Butt being called up, on condition that other veterans are excluded too.

    There is a problem to iron out however. In the First Innings of the QEA Final, before the pitch died, he could not cope with Mohammad Asif's off-stump probing and on around his tenth ball from Asif edged him to second slip.

    Like most Pakistanis, Imam has no real offside safe scoring shots.

    Ideally the PCB would recognise his talent and take him on all full and A team tours, but ban him from playing any more domestic cricket. Because it is only going to damage his technique.

  5. #5
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    Grear interview.

    Hopefully his debut is not too far off.


    Hai yeh Josh-e-Junoon, hai yeh apna yaqeen, ke jo tum mein hai dum, woh kisi mein nahin!

  6. #6
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    He's a great prospect and is getting better with time.


    May the Hawks Fly Forever. Lightning Hawks CC -- Team Thread.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Square Drive View Post
    Grear interview.

    Hopefully his debut is not too far off.
    Again, I must refer you to how he was schooled by Asif in the First Innings.

    Imam has no safe straight-batted offside scoring shots.

    He needs to avoid playing in Pakistan, and he and Sami Aslam need to spend hours watching Salman Butt in the nets to learn how to play them, given that he is the only Pakistani who has those shots. Currently Sami Aslam can't score outside offstump while Babar Azam plays too many deliveries out there.

    I don't mind if Imam is in the team and Butt is on the bench. But he needs to spend as much time as possible watching and learning from Butt.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junaids View Post
    Again, I must refer you to how he was schooled by Asif in the First Innings.

    Imam has no safe straight-batted offside scoring shots.

    He needs to avoid playing in Pakistan, and he and Sami Aslam need to spend hours watching Salman Butt in the nets to learn how to play them, given that he is the only Pakistani who has those shots. Currently Sami Aslam can't score outside offstump while Babar Azam plays too many deliveries out there.

    I don't mind if Imam is in the team and Butt is on the bench. But he needs to spend as much time as possible watching and learning from Butt.


    Okay let's just bring in Asif and Butt then.

    Imam should just give up on his career!


    Hai yeh Josh-e-Junoon, hai yeh apna yaqeen, ke jo tum mein hai dum, woh kisi mein nahin!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Square Drive View Post


    Okay let's just bring in Asif and Butt then.

    Imam should just give up on his career!
    I've just written for the second time this week that I'm happy for Imam to be chosen ahead of Butt as part of a transparent and consistent youth policy.

    But you saw Butt under lights on the first evening of the QEA Final against Fahim, Usman and Amad. He is the only Pakistani with a genuine offside game when a slip cordon is in place.

    I don't mind if they are both in the squad and if Imam is the starter and Butt is the reserve.

    I just want Imam to observe and learn from the only Pakistani since Saeed Anwar to be competent against a slip cordon.

  10. #10
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    Good Interview but


    Imam has put his and HBL first innings failure solely on the pitch. No way the pitch had demons or was in favour of pacers. It was merely a supportive surface.

    Him getting out wasn't due to technical glitches rather it was due to Asif's magic which foxed him just like He did with all top Batsmen of 2000's generation.


    Imam should be given task by Inzamam that He will be considered for A team now provided he keeps performing but for senior team he should push his FC average above 40 and his List A strike rate above 90.


    Imam is a good prospect but also very lucky.


    Look at Danish Aziz of Karachi. I see shades of Haris Sohail in him but is he getting any oppurtunities ?
    Last edited by TalentSpotterPk; 23rd December 2016 at 10:59.


    Mujhay hai Hukm e Azaa-n

  11. #11
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    Very good interview , one of the few players in pakistan who have good backfoot game. He will only improve , I would say that he would make his debut in 2018.


    It is either a heartache or a headache ..Argh relationships.

  12. #12
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    This thread is about Imam. Lets discuss the interview or related issues about the player.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    This thread is about Imam. Lets discuss the interview or related issues about the player.
    I think we are, to be honest.

    Myself and @TalentSpotterPk are saying that he is very promising, but has a typical Pakistani weakness on and outside offstump.

    Some players like Mohammad Hafeez and Shan Masood cannot control their temptation to slash out there.

    Others like Sami Aslam just can't score out there, and try to turn balls onto the onside.

    Imam will only improve by playing outside Asia and by watching other left-handed openers closely, whether it's Cook or Renshaw or Latham or Salman Butt.

  14. #14
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    "I may not consider Virat Kohli as my role model but what I do love is his passion for the game, in every game he plays. I really admire his body-language and attitude and watching him gives me a lot of inspiration."
    translation- role model bol diya to gaaliyan padein gi!

    all in all a very talented player. speaks like winner too, which can't be said of too many pakistani players. He has much better stats than butt and should be backed. some decent young batsmen coming along for Pakistan these days.

    what's all this talk about bad wickets? PCB can't lay a decent pitch for the biggest game in FC cricket? I find that hard to believe.

  15. #15
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    Interesting interview.

    I saw him with the Pakistan U19s in England and he looked a good prospect. Seems like he's getting better with age.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlickedOffHips View Post
    "I may not consider Virat Kohli as my role model but what I do love is his passion for the game, in every game he plays. I really admire his body-language and attitude and watching him gives me a lot of inspiration."
    translation- role model bol diya to gaaliyan padein gi!

    all in all a very talented player. speaks like winner too, which can't be said of too many pakistani players. He has much better stats than butt and should be backed. some decent young batsmen coming along for Pakistan these days.

    what's all this talk about bad wickets? PCB can't lay a decent pitch for the biggest game in FC cricket? I find that hard to believe.
    No translation.

    Kohli's life etc is of no interest but his passion for the game is.


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  17. #17
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    The kid has potential and talent but he needs to continue to work hard. Like most of the time the future talent of Pakistan is bright

  18. #18
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    He is under no more pressure then what Faisal Iqbal was. We know how he ended up.


    PP's own self proclaimed sharpshooter and defender of Islam and Pakistan.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    No translation.

    Kohli's life etc is of no interest but his passion for the game is.
    No. You can have role models and still not ape everything about them. The way he describes Kohli is the classic way one describes a role model.
    Last edited by FlickedOffHips; 23rd December 2016 at 22:31.

  20. #20
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    As with Sami Aslam strike rotation was a problem when I saw him at the under 19 level and this is where his energies should lie.

  21. #21
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    1500 odd runs in 'just' 29 games is not a great record. It is okish at best

    Ave is mediocre (35.68). SR (43) is nothing special either

    Talk about overhyping another mediocre player just because he's related to Inzamam

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZulfi View Post
    1500 odd runs in 'just' 29 games is not a great record. It is okish at best

    Ave is mediocre (35.68). SR (43) is nothing special either

    Talk about overhyping another mediocre player just because he's related to Inzamam
    I suppose you missed the part where he was the highest-scoring opener this season in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, and the third highest scorer overall. 848 runs at an average of 49.88.


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  23. #23
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    Good interview.

    Imam needs to keep on developing and improving further if he is to get a break at the highest level.


    Politics trumps intelligence (pun intended).

  24. #24
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    He is very similar to sami,doesn't have the shots.

  25. #25
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    I am not sure how long we can keep him off national team; we need to bring players like him and then refine them further


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  26. #26
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    So what if he's Inzamam's nephew, if he deserves to be selected then no one should point at nepotism. Being Inzamam's nephew doesn't disqualify him from selection. I don't know about his domestic performance but hearing from people he it seems he has performed well.


    If there is a better batsman than Sachin then he hasn’t arrived yet: Viv Richards

  27. #27
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    One to keep an eye on.

    Seems to be steadily improving.



  28. #28
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    Scores 120 for PK U23 today.

  29. #29
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    Will be intresting to see how he does against India and BD.

  30. #30
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    Mediocre limited overs batsman

  31. #31
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    Everything I have seen of imam ul Haq so far tells me that he is suited to tests at best, where we don't have a real problem at the top of the order. He is a limited player for the formats which we are suffering in

  32. #32
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    Not good enough for the modern game.

    However he could replace Sami Aslam in our test squad

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellipsism View Post
    Not good enough for the modern game.

    However he could replace Sami Aslam in our test squad
    I don't think he deserves that as well. If it's between him and Sami, the latter should be preferred due to the investment in him on tough tours last year

  34. #34
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    Doesn't seem to be a fit for modern day LO cricket

  35. #35
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    Both him and Imran Butt seem to be more suited towards Tests.


    Hai yeh Josh-e-Junoon, hai yeh apna yaqeen, ke jo tum mein hai dum, woh kisi mein nahin!

  36. #36
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    41 and 111 for Imam in the first round of QeA.

    But we don't have any alternatives.


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  37. #37
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    Good start to the tournament

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    41 and 111 for Imam in the first round of QeA.

    But we don't have any alternatives.
    Excellent start to the season. So much young batting talent coming through right now. His (test) debut is a matter of when, not if.

    That said, if he misses out on the A tour because of Butt I will be furious.

  39. #39
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    PCB should invest on such young talents rather than recalling the likes of Salman Butt.


    If there is a better batsman than Sachin then he hasn’t arrived yet: Viv Richards

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mak36 View Post
    Excellent start to the season. So much young batting talent coming through right now. His (test) debut is a matter of when, not if.

    That said, if he misses out on the A tour because of Butt I will be furious.
    Forgot to say, still needs to work on S/R.

  41. #41
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    So finally! he gets a chance to play at the international level.


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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    So finally! he gets a chance to play at the international level.
    Let me be the devil's advocate here and call it as how it is. His selection has no merit in the current scheme or things. Azhar who apparently is fit enough to play a test match is 'rested' after the busy off season since CT while mediocirty such as Shehzad are backed day in day out.

    And finally, as much as I don't think CLH is international material his recent performances warranted him a spot in the national side much ahead of Imam-ul-Haq. Expected much better from the 'morally upright' Inzi (The revolutionary Savior)

  43. #43
    Debut
    Apr 2013
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    The pressure on him is only going to increase with such bizarre selection. He should be in the Test squad, not the ODI one.


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  44. #44
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    Oct 2010
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    What this news really tells me is that professor will open and Haris will play in the middle order


    "Last time Uganda toured Canada, half their team ran away to start a new life" - cricfan967

  45. #45
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    Dec 2016
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    Well this guy is a special talent....


    SIR DONALD BRADMAN ------SORRY, BUT NO ONE LIKE HIM

  46. #46
    Debut
    Oct 2004
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    One of my favourite young cricketers and very happy to see him in the side.


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