December 1, 2022

NEWS.net.pk

Daily News Network

Imam gears up for emotional homecoming

Imam-ul-Haq announced his arrival at the international scene with a thumping century in the October of 2017. Punching the air in jubilation upon entering the triple figures, the southpaw recorded himself as only the second Pakistani to record a century in his maiden One-Day International.

Imam has since recorded eight more ODI centuries in 48 internationals. He, however, has never donned Pakistan colours at the city of his birth – Multan.

So, naturally, the return of international cricket to Multan has an emotional touch to it for Imam. The fact that he will play his 50th ODI here at the Multan Cricket Stadium makes the homecoming sweeter. 

“I have seen my uncle play here and I am very excited for my first international match in this city,” Imam told PCB Digital on the sidelines of the national side’s first training session at Multan Cricket Stadium.

“I was born here, but we moved to Lahore in my childhood. When we were coming to the stadium, I was reminiscing my childhood memories of the city and sharing them with Babar [Azam].”

Since that debut in Abu Dhabi, Imam has smashed 2321 ODI runs – the second most for his country behind top-ranked Babar Azam – at an average of 54. He currently sits at the third place in the ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings for batters.

Imam enters the series in scintillating form. He smashed back-to-back centuries in Pakistan’s historic 2-1 ODI series win against Australia in Lahore earlier in the year and stroked an unbeaten 89 in the final match. Pakistan would be looking up to him to stretch that purple patch into this series. 

“I am grateful to my family and my team for their incredible support. Cricket makes you learn a lot. There were highs and lows, and I have tried to learn from them. It has been an enjoyable journey so far. I am blessed to have these teammates, who have made this journey special for me.”

Pakistan and the West Indies play ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs on 8, 10 and 12 June at the Multan Cricket Stadium with the three matches starting at 1600 (local time).