Imam plans to stay aggressive on England tour

Opener believes efforts to survive in tough conditions will not be enough

Imam plans to stay aggressive on England tour

Pakistan opener Imamul Haq is feeling confident ahead of the two-match series against England starting from May 24 at Lord’s.

Imam, who made his Test debut in the one-off match against Ireland, played a match-winning knock of 74 not out in the second innings and the 22-year-old reveals he has special plans for the tour.

“We know that we are going at a time where the conditions will suit their bowling; but I am satisfied with my preparations,” said Imam. “I’ve practiced hard about how to deal with such situations and I will try to stay positive throughout. I won’t compromise on my strong areas — flick and cut shot — no matter what ever the situation is. I know if I will just try to survive, it won’t work in my favour.”

Since being called up to represent Pakistan, Imam, who is the nephew of legendary batsman and incumbent chief selector Inzamamul Haq, has had to face a lot of criticism with many supporters questioning his selection. However, Imam remains unfazed by such criticism.

“I am aware of all the criticism and what people are talking about me, but I am not focused on that,” he said. “I know my job, which is to perform, and if I able to do that, I am sure the criticism will decrease. Even he [Inzamam] has told me that this is Pakistan and I will have to face all this criticism.”

Imam, unlike his uncle Inzamam, believes that staying fit is one of the most important facets of being a sportsman and that is why he focuses a lot on staying fit.

“I believe fitness is the main aspect of success in international cricket nowadays,” he said. “There are so many things which are associated with fitness and we don’t know about it. So I’ve learned about it and I try to keep my fitness level high.”

Imam, who is yet to represent the Men in Green in the shortest format of the game, was not selected by any franchise in the recently concluded third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), and the Lahore-born opener reveals that he took that opportunity to improve his game.

“To be honest, I was a bit disappointed at not being picked by any PSL franchise, as some of them contacted me as well,” he said. “But I took that opportunity to work on my fitness and also had the chance to work closely with [batting coach] Grant Flower.”

Talking about the team culture, Imam expressed delight to being a part of the team who is ready to take it to the opposition.

“I am extremely lucky to be a part of such a group of players,” he said. “They are all aggressive and want to take the game to the opposition. Even Mickey [Arthur] has told us not to think of anything about the opposition and instead stay aggressive throughout.”