Versatile Imad up to plug power-hitting gap

Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by chandtara, Apr 23, 2019.

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  1. chandtara

    chandtara Mr Cricistan

    Jun 18, 2011
    He is asked to make inroads with a new ball and strangle the batsmen with an older one. With the bat, he has to ensure his side gets more runs in less time. Being one of the seniors in the side, he even stood-in as a captain, as recently as last month against Australia.

    Imad Wasim has been plugging many gaps in this Pakistan set up and it makes him a vital cog in the team's World Cup plans which was reflected by Inzamam ul Haq's open admission that Imad had gotten a special favour by being named in the World Cup squad despite failing a fitness test.

    The allrounder will be more crucial, with the bat this time around, considering the dearth of power-hitters in Pakistan's lineup. What adds to the expectations is his recent returns with the bat. Since returning to ODI cricket in November last year after nursing a knee injury, which kept him out of action for a year, Imad has made significant gains with the bat, averaging a staggering 93.66 (46.26 runs better than his overall) with his strike rate touching 117 (12 runs better than overall).

    Though not in the World Cup squad, Asif Ali will travel with Pakistan to England for England T20I and ODI series. If he clicks, he might make the final cut as teams have time till May 23 to make amendments in their lineups. In the absence of Asif, can Imad take up that role?

    "It depends on what my team asks of me," Imad said. "But, I shouldn't be compared with Shahid [Afridi] bhai or [Abdul] Razzaq bhai. Those guys are legends which is underscored by a mere look at their records. No guy can just come and be like them."

    "If you are asking me to be a super-sixes-esque power-hitter, I can't be that," he chuckled. "When I gauge a power-hitter, I look at the strike rate. For me that is what matters. And, in the recent past my strike rate has gone up."

    But, his bowling form has taken a hit. Since his comeback, Imad has had only five wickets in 11 matches giving an ugly look to his numbers. His economy has also been dented - falling to 4.97, which is 0.34 runs more than his overall. When his bowling numbers were put forward, he said: "Every player has a different role. Sometimes you have to contain [the flow of runs]. Sometimes you don't get wickets. But, my economy has been on a better side."

    "My role keeps on changing with the situation of the match. I have to get wickets when I bowl with the new ball. When I am using an older ball, I have to contain too along with taking wickets... Of course, I have some personal goals. But, I put them aside for the team goals. If I am asked to bowl the last over, I have to. If I am asked to bowl with the new ball, then I have to."

    So, does these ever-changing demands put him under any pressure?

    "It is an honour if a team gives you these many roles. A player should have the capability to adjusting to new roles. One day I have to contain, the other I have to pick wickets. I feel lucky that I have that ability because of which I can try to fit myself in many roles."

    That Pakistan will enter another world event with many ifs and buts around them is nothing new. But, their inability to keep up with the modern-day standards puts them under more pressure than usual this time around.

    Most of it has to do with Pakistan's well-documented batting woes. But, of-late, Pakistan's bowling department, the reason behind their triumphs, has lacked venom and vigour.

    "I agree [that Pakistan are falling behind the other teams] and I personally believe in having aggression in strategy. I want that we get wickets when we bowl and score runs when we bat. This is the centre of discussion in the ongoing camp and we will play aggressive cricket in the World Cup."

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