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  1. #1
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    "What I see in Imam-ul-Haq is the potential to become a better player" : Inzamam-ul-Haq

    As chief selector, he saw his Pakistan side hold England to a 1-1 Test series draw, featuring a famous victory at Lord's.

    So how does Inzamam-ul-Haq think India will fare in their upcoming five-match series against Joe Root's side, and how will Virat Kohli put past disappointments in England behind him?

    Saj (for Sky Sports) caught up with the Pakistan legend to find out more, as well as getting Inzamam's thoughts on the future of Pakistan cricket and the flak he received for picking his nephew, Imam-ul-Haq.





    Virat Kohli has a poor record in England, but do you think he can inspire his side to victory in the upcoming series?

    Inzamam: There is no doubt in my mind that Virat Kohli is a great player and his performances are proof of this fact. Just because he has not been able to score heavily in England does not undermine his stature as an all-time great batsman.


    If he is not able to put in a good performance in one or two innings, then that does not in any way reduce his stature as a player. We know that he works hard and he continues to learn day-by-day and we saw that proof in the manner he played in South Africa where he helped his side lift their game.

    Despite the fact that he may not have a good past record there, England need to be wary that a player of Virat Kohli's quality can easily help his side win the upcoming series between the two sides.


    How highly do you rate Joe Root?

    Inzamam: The most important aspect of his batting is that he has scored well, not only at home but also abroad. To me, the mark of a great player is that he is able to perform well in all conditions and this is what Root has shown to everyone with outstanding performances around the world.

    He is still new to the job of England's Test captain and as he gets more experience in this role, he will also prove his worth as a captain in the same way as he has shown in his batting.


    You too were a batsman who coped well when the pressure was on. Do you think Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq can perform now that they are expected to lead Pakistan's batting unit?

    Inzamam: Yes - I believe both should be able to stand up to the pressure, as they are best placed to take the responsibility of helping the team move forward.

    Both Azhar and Asad performed well last year, although Azhar has had a few issues with his fitness recently, particularly with some problems with his knee. I am confident that in the future we will see that both of them will perform well and fulfil the responsibilities placed on them due to their seniority in the team.


    You have faced some criticism for selecting your nephew Imam-ul-Haq, how do you respond to those critics

    Inzamam: When it comes to the selection of any batsman, we take the advice of the Head Coach, Mickey Arthur, and the batting coaches as well. The batting coaches are aware of what work the player has done during the off-season and is a good indicator of his progress. In Imam's case, we asked for a report from the Pakistan batting coach, Grant Flower, and he praised Imam and recommended that he should be included in the side, as he has the potential to become a good international player.

    Based on that, we gave Imam a chance to play in the Test side in Ireland and England. Now I am not saying that Imam's performances during those games were exceptional or he does not have flaws, but what I see in him is the potential to become a better player, as long as he continues to work hard. Now, it depends on the player to avail the chances he gets.


    What is your vision for the future of Pakistan cricket?

    Inzamam: I understand that there are people who are highly critical of our selection policies saying that the teams should have certain players and so on, but what they need to realise is that the selectors, captain and coach have a certain vision and want to select teams that will not just give us success in the next series but ones that will serve us in the long term.

    One thing to note - and this is something I strongly believe in - is that some of the newer players were picked directly for their First-Class performances which will really encourage the players who are doing well at that level. What that will prove to aspiring First-Class players is that they too can be picked for the national team and also the fact, when given the chance, they are good enough to play international cricket and perform well at that level. All in all, I believe this sort of selection policy will greatly benefit Pakistan cricket.


    How tough is it to be chief selector in a country where every other person thinks they can do a better job than you?




    Inzamam: In any country like Pakistan where cricket is followed so passionately and there is so much admiration and scrutiny of the players, it is logical that everyone will have strong opinions about national cricket. It does make the job of the selectors very tough as all their decisions are under the scrutiny of the whole nation. But what we, the selectors, strive to do is to perform our duties with sincerity and honesty to ensure that we make a team which helps Pakistan cricket in the long term.


    How do you feel your tenure as Pakistan's Chief Selector has gone so far?

    Inzamam:
    Thanks to The Almighty that during my tenure as Chief Selector, the Pakistan team has seen the introduction of new players and our performances have also started to improve. It's most satisfying to see the young players who are coming into the Pakistan side doing well and putting in lots of hard work and producing good performances. The balance of the team has also improved steadily and if given consistent chances, my hope is that these young players will become very successful in the future and serve Pakistan for a long period of time and provide many victories for us. One other aspect that I would like to highlight is that these young players are playing like a well-gelled unit and are doing well despite the fact that they are still new to international cricket and do not have the services of big-name players to help them along.


    What are your thoughts on the team's performance in the recent matches against Ireland, England and Scotland?

    Inzamam:
    This was indeed a matter of happiness for us that we did so well in the Tests against Ireland and England and then won the T20I series against Scotland. We won 4 out of 5 of our international games on this tour which is an excellent achievement. I will not say anything to the people who criticized our selection but what they need to focus on is the fact that Pakistan have been so successful in away series with a team of new players which is a huge positive for us.


    What thought process goes into a selection of the national squad?

    Inzamam:
    As we know there are many players who score well in First-Class cricket and as a selector one needs to keep an eye on that aspect of the player’s performance. But, we also need to see how such a player will perform when introduced into international cricket. This is exactly where the selection committee’s expertise comes into play as we sit down and discuss the potential of these players before taking decisions. Thankfully, our way of working has turned out to be successful which is very pleasing.


    Despite objections, you were adamant for Rashid Khan’s selection when you were Afghanistan's Head Coach. You must be delighted with the progress he has made?

    Inzamam:
    Rashid Khan is an excellent cricketer who has impressed us all with his performances in international cricket and has shown us what he can do by becoming the world's number one T20I bowler. Apart from being a very good bowler, he is also a good fielder, but we must not forget that he is a good batsman as well. I am hoping that given his skills, he will also put in some good batting performances in the future. When he first came on the scene, it appeared that he was just a regular leg-spinner but when I looked at him closely, I realised that he spun the ball at a good speed which would make it difficult for batsmen to read him and give them less time to react to his style of bowling. This is what made me very keen to pick him and think that he would be effective in international cricket and would be able to perform really well at the top-level. I am happy that he has proven himself to be an excellent player after being selected for international duties.


    What's your assessment of Mickey Arthur's performance as Pakistan's Head Coach?

    Inzamam:
    There is no doubt that Mickey has done wonders for the Pakistan side. He is the one who makes the plans for the team and handles the players on a day-to-day basis. The Head Coach has a huge role to play in any team and credit must be given to Mickey for the excellent performances that the Pakistan side has displayed since he took over the role. The team has also shown unity under his tenure and the fitness levels of the players is much better than before. Whilst Mickey and his staff need to be congratulated for their hard-work, we should also give credit to captain Sarfaraz Ahmed as he has also played an important role in the selection and management of his side.


    What improvements does Babar Azam need to make to become a world-class batsman?




    Inzamam: There is no doubt in my mind that Babar has a lot of talent and potential. There aren’t that many players in world cricket who can play so well in all 3 formats of the game. He is outstanding in T20Is where he is the number one ranked batsman and is in the number 5 position in the ODI rankings. It's only in Test cricket where his performances need improvement but as he showed on the recent tour of Ireland and England, there has been considerable improvement in this aspect of his cricket as well. His partnership with Imam-ul-Haq during the one-off Test against Ireland was a crucial one and helped Pakistan secure victory and then in the first Test match against England at Lord’s he scored 68 before he had to leave the field due to an injury. So, we can see that he has shown great improvements in Test cricket as well. He is one of the main players of our team and day-by-day, he is learning and improving. I feel that he has the potential to become a world-class player and also break many records along the way.

    http://www.skysports.com/cricket/new...ns-test-future
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 30th June 2018 at 16:42.


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  2. #2
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    I know PP boasts a lot of Inzi critics. But I have said this before and will say it again that I believe in Inzi. I applaud his selections and his camaraderie with Mickey, Sarfaraz and the rest of the team.

    It is easy to pinpoint 1-2 dubious selections in every squad, and those are the easy tangibles we (the outsiders) can see and criticize. However, it is important to look beyond the tangibles and find the poisitives in the intangibles: Culture, Unity, Fighting Spirit, Improved Fitness, Improved running & fielding etc. etc.

    Yes, even I am not happy about Hafeez's selection but that is one negative. And there are 10 positives.

    As an optimist who sees's the glass half-full: #IBelieveInInzi #IBelieveInMickey

  3. #3
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    Good interview.

    Inzi has been our most high profile CS to date.He may have made some decisions that didn't pay off,but he's also made some good seletions.Criticism should be fair and not based on other factors.

  4. #4
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    should have asked about Sarfraz Ahmed also that how long Pakistan will continue to select him based on his captaincy only

  5. #5
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    + 10 - 2 is far better than -10 + 2

    This is what the difference between Inzi and ex selectors?
    More importantly, he is doing what Mickey wants him to do. Had it not been long ODI series gap from our last NZ tour, Hafeez would have been dumped by now.

    Majorly, I think, scheduling has lot to do with this..Either we are playing too many series in few months, or playing nothing for long periods. I can not believe we had almost 6/7 months gap between 2 test series. Same goes for ODIs series, the one we last played was in January. And considering PSL is not very long tournament, we should have played at least one 5 match ODI series in April, before going to UK.

  6. #6
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    If we play series regularly, then performers get carry over to next series and so on.. But here, if we have gaps, players like Hafeez, Akmals, Shehzads have time to build corridors for themselves ..

    And yes, our media, they are the one who are doing the big harm. They back certain non performers, discuss their past performances, and discuss youngster who might have not played an International game. And say this is unfair for seniors

  7. #7
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    Also, he might have selected Imam over others, but he gave a valid reason for this..

    "Cricket sabke saamne hi khelni hai Imam ko, agar sahi khele toh next series main chale jayenge, nahi toh drop ho jaayenge".

    And he also took the risk of selecting Imam for hard English tour, knowing that if he fails or team fails to win, he might lose his job as well.

  8. #8
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    Now coming back to Fawad Alam issue, there could be some serious non cricketing issue he might have with PCB, otherwise he might have been selected.

    I think it all started with tour SA tour of UAE in 2010, it all started from there, since then even after performing he was not even in 30 probables squad for WC 2011. Old fact, but something might have happened in that series.. Otherwise he was regular for some time in team before that

  9. #9
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    Might be, he was aware of Zulqarnain haider leaving to UK or something. Or he became whistleblower, etc...

  10. #10
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    I like Inzy's consistency in selection and he's definitely been one of the better selectors we've had. We've avoided the mass chopping and changing of the past, and he's blooded a lot of youngsters.

    People say it's because of PSL but nearly every other CS in the world has their own franchise T20 league to spot talent so all we've done is get on a level playing field. Haroon Rasheed had the benefit of the first PSL and still picked a terrible squad for the World T20 in 2016.

    However Inzamam need to be more ruthless with senior players like Hafeez, Malik and even Azhar and Shafiq. Seniority shouldn't mean you're above accountability. We really ought to have moved on from Hafeez and Malik after the New Zealand debacle.

    He also needs to identify dynamic batsmen in our LOI teams who can score at a SR of 100 and more. I guess he's tried to do that by selecting Farhan, Talat and Asif but Imam with his mid 70s SR is totally out of place in today's ODI cricket.

    As for Imam himself, it's unfair to label as a nepotistic pick. Imam-ul-Haq was being talked about as a talent long before Inzy got the job. He scored three fifties on the England tour including one where everyone failed down in Kent in damp conditions, and one matchwinning 4th innings knock against Ireland. However with Azhar and Imam opening together we're 15-2 after 10 overs more often than not. They invite pressure by losing their wickets having not moved the score along.

    Also, I don't understand what's the aversion to Zafar Gohar and Raza Hasan. I don't know if it's a Tauseef Ahmed thing where he doesn't rate them but in Asian Tests - I'd like to see them brought in either alongside Yasir Shah or as an understudy.

    Overall, Inzamam gets a 7/10. Solid but can further improve.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markhor View Post
    I like Inzy's consistency in selection and he's definitely been one of the better selectors we've had. We've avoided the mass chopping and changing of the past, and he's blooded a lot of youngsters.

    People say it's because of PSL but nearly every other CS in the world has their own franchise T20 league to spot talent so all we've done is get on a level playing field. Haroon Rasheed had the benefit of the first PSL and still picked a terrible squad for the World T20 in 2016.

    However Inzamam need to be more ruthless with senior players like Hafeez, Malik and even Azhar and Shafiq. Seniority shouldn't mean you're above accountability. We really ought to have moved on from Hafeez and Malik after the New Zealand debacle.

    He also needs to identify dynamic batsmen in our LOI teams who can score at a SR of 100 and more. I guess he's tried to do that by selecting Farhan, Talat and Asif but Imam with his mid 70s SR is totally out of place in today's ODI cricket.

    As for Imam himself, it's unfair to label as a nepotistic pick. Imam-ul-Haq was being talked about as a talent long before Inzy got the job. He scored three fifties on the England tour including one where everyone failed down in Kent in damp conditions, and one matchwinning 4th innings knock against Ireland. However with Azhar and Imam opening together we're 15-2 after 10 overs more often than not. They invite pressure by losing their wickets having not moved the score along.

    Also, I don't understand what's the aversion to Zafar Gohar and Raza Hasan. I don't know if it's a Tauseef Ahmed thing where he doesn't rate them but in Asian Tests - I'd like to see them brought in either alongside Yasir Shah or as an understudy.

    Overall, Inzamam gets a 7/10. Solid but can further improve.
    Better summary

    But still our media is worst, some tv shows are so bombastic that every word they speak is full of lies, and they think people dont go back and check those stats

  12. #12
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    I like Inzi as a selector. Much better than Bari, the awful Iqbal Qasim and Rashid. Those three came from a different era and failed to adapt their selection thinking to the modern day. At least Inzi has got together with the coach and others to enable a vision that Mickey is thinking about. It makes Inzis job a little easier if he knows what the coach's vision actually is.

    Coming on to what @Markhor said about trying to find that high strike rate player. i think he is trying but I dont think its easy when you dont have A team matches and many real U19 matches to draw upon. The lack of A team games is hurting us at the moment as it narrows our pool of players!!

    we need to revivie them as soon as possible so that we can give some up and coming players a chance on foreign soil.

  13. #13
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    Good interview. He's made some weird selections but then he has made some good ones. It swings it round abouts.

    Also interested to see what he said about Kohli being a great player even though he hasn't performed in England. A certain lover of Inzi and known hater or Kohli is in a difficult position now .

  14. #14
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    I would ask him this?

    1. how can you keep on supporting a batsman that cannot even average 40 in Test cricket. You expect him to be the backbone of your batting? Specially cause you batted alongside batsman who averaged 50+
    2. You say first class matters, how come Fawad Alam has been given no chance? how can you say his technique worn't work in England. You have not given him a chance and are you making a judgement. Given the fact that the guy has a better first class record than you, how can you not even give him one chance?


    If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?
    Vince Lombardi

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by asifp View Post
    I would ask him this?

    1. how can you keep on supporting a batsman that cannot even average 40 in Test cricket. You expect him to be the backbone of your batting? Specially cause you batted alongside batsman who averaged 50+
    2. You say first class matters, how come Fawad Alam has been given no chance? how can you say his technique worn't work in England. You have not given him a chance and are you making a judgement. Given the fact that the guy has a better first class record than you, how can you not even give him one chance?
    To compare Fawad Alam with Inzamam-ul-Haq is ridiculous.

    To mention Fawad Alam's batting in the same sentence as Inzamam-ul-Haq is cricketing blasphemy.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    To compare Fawad Alam with Inzamam-ul-Haq is ridiculous.

    To mention Fawad Alam's batting in the same sentence as Inzamam-ul-Haq is cricketing blasphemy.
    In which case we may need to go back in the archives and do some purging. Whenever we observe that Fawad as the best FC record in Pakistan history, we are comparing him. To everyone else. He has some nerve, Fawad, letting himself be comparable like that.
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 13th July 2018 at 12:26.

  17. #17
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    After the latest snubbing of Fawad Alam, I am totally convinced that he has some serious non cricketing issue with PCB, which he or our so called unbiased media needs to figure out. And the answer lies in the series vs South Africa in UAE 2010

  18. #18
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    Imams had a pretty good odi run so I can't fault that selection. He is compact, doesnt have a wide range of strokes but that's good when fakhar is at the other end Nd likes to try and convert singles. Plus a very good fielder.

    As for his inclusion I future test sides, I just don't think so.

  19. #19
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    Imam has been selected now, on Merit? No

    However now hes in the side he should be given a run like any players in side, if he does well he stays, if not he gets the boot.

  20. #20
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    The kid isn't perfect, but he's doing quite well.

    He's not got a vast range of shots but that will come in time.



  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    The kid isn't perfect, but he's doing quite well.

    He's not got a vast range of shots but that will come in time.
    I do feel sorry for the kid. He looks under too much pressure to perform because of the question marks around his selection. Like today he got out on the 1st ball off a peach of a ball, and later on I saw him sitting with a tensed face in the dressing room as if he failed in a WC knock out game. The kid is doing well but someone needs give him a bit of confidence that he doesn’t need to worry and enjoy his game..

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    The kid isn't perfect, but he's doing quite well.

    He's not got a vast range of shots but that will come in time.
    Right now his lack of stroke play in his game means hes not suited to LOI cricket.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    The kid isn't perfect, but he's doing quite well.

    He's not got a vast range of shots but that will come in time.
    then let him go back to domestics to work on that range, while someone who can bat at a decent rate opens for pakistan.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by New Yorker View Post
    then let him go back to domestics to work on that range, while someone who can bat at a decent rate opens for pakistan.
    Why not we have plenty of Gillchrist , Warner, Sehwag, Hayden waiting for their turn in domestic cricket

  25. #25
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    The best place to develop a cricketer in Pakistan is not domestics but the international level. And with Mickey at helm, Imam will definitely improve. Needs to work on his range of hitting and core strength.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by moghul View Post
    Why not we have plenty of Gillchrist , Warner, Sehwag, Hayden waiting for their turn in domestic cricket
    Well, we do have an Azhar or a Shehzad, if a like for like replacement for Imam is needed.

    Azhar, though far from my favorite, has shown that he can score at a decent rate in England, against top opposition, in an ICC tourney. Which sounds relevant in 2019.

    If we are in the mood for someone who scores at a more decent rate, without for that matter being a slogger, there are many players who have earned a look in, including Farhan and Aslam.

    With three centuries in a handful games and uncle Inzi backing him up, Imam is here to stay of course, but what does the historical record say about batsmen upping their SR with time? Not a rhetorical question, I am genuinely curious if we we can recall any transformations...

  27. #27
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    I think I agree with Inzi here tbh.

    I definitely have higher hopes from Imam than I ever did with Azhar or Shehzad.


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

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    The test batting line is fragile and weak. Fawad has the quality and experience to fill that role in the Test team but it looks like he will never be selected again!. Inexperienced batsmen will have to step up and I don’t see that happening soon. Which means PakistN will be reliant on late order batsmen and the tail to bail them out. The result will be disappointing performances and below par results.

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    Imam getting hounded by some 'experts' on social media after getting a supposedly 'undeserved' C contract. Deserves it, should be persisted with in Tests specially.


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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    Imam getting hounded by some 'experts' on social media after getting a supposedly 'undeserved' C contract. Deserves it, should be persisted with in Tests specially.
    Lol they are about a year too late- he was first given a central contract last year and has put in the performances to justify it and then some.

    The promotion from D to C is a deserved one.

  31. #31
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    Imam looked decent enough, and he will improve, so yeah he deserves the C contract.

  32. #32
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    He deserves to be promoted. He has been very promising.

  33. #33
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    Imam is the best candidate for captaincy across formats 10 years from now. He is calm, composed, educated, fit and motivated. I hope he score daddy hundreds in the series against Australia.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by AssassinatedDevil View Post
    Imam is the best candidate for captaincy across formats 10 years from now. He is calm, composed, educated, fit and motivated. I hope he score daddy hundreds in the series against Australia.
    Why 10 years from now? Why can't we have captains in their mid to late 20s?

    This 30+ captaincy criteria is a symptom of the seniority culture which needs to be eradicated.


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