Imam-ul-Haq, despite his consistent performance and scoring 90 in the previous game, was unexpectedly left out of the second and final match of the home series against New Zealand.
Just before the game, Imam-ul-Haq posted a cryptic message on social media, which generated considerable speculation among fans. The message led many to believe that the left-handed opener was expressing his frustration at being excluded from the team for two consecutive matches.
Former Pakistani cricketer Rashid Latif clarified the situation in an interview with a digital sports channel, revealing that Imam-ul-Haq’s hamstring issue was the true reason behind his absence in the fourth ODI.
According to Rashid Latif, Fakhar initially wasn’t slated to play the fourth ODI, but Imam complained of a hamstring issue just an hour before the match. With Fakhar not in the playing XI, Shan replaced him, and Imam would have opened the innings. Fakhar expressed his willingness to play the fifth and final ODI, despite not featuring in the fourth match. As events unfolded, Shan played well, Fakhar couldn’t perform, and Imam remained sidelined, as stated by Latif.
Latif, aged 54, further highlighted that Fakhar’s inclusion in the rotation policy played a role in the unfolding events, suggesting that Imam’s hamstring problem wouldn’t have led to such a situation otherwise.
Latif explained that there were discussions about Imam wanting to play the final match, but management questioned if his hamstring issue had been resolved. Fakhar had already expressed his desire to play the last game, and Shan had performed well in the previous match. The decision not to include Imam in the playing squad may have been influenced by the need to respect commitments between players and management. Considering the rotation policy, the situation unfolded as a result of the preceding events, according to Latif.
Latif assured that there is no threat to Imam’s position in the national team, emphasizing that he is one of their key players. He stated that a significant portion of runs, around 18 to 20%, comes from Imam’s contributions, just like Fakhar’s.
This is published in logicalbaat, on 08 May, 2023.