Latif reveals inside details about Imam’s exclusion from last two NZ ODIs

The left-handed opener was dropped from two consecutive games in the five-match ODI series against New Zealand that was concluded yesterday

Latif reveals inside details about Imam’s exclusion from last two NZ ODIs PHOTO: PCB

Despite being consistent in the 50-over format and scoring 90 in his last game, Imam-ul-Haq was excluded from the second and last home series match against the Kiwis.

Shortly before the game, the left-handed opener posted a vague message on social media that drew significant interest from fans. Many believed that the opener was expressing frustration after being excluded from the team for two consecutive matches.

However, while talking on his YouTube channel, former Pakistani cricketer Rashid Latif cleared the air and explained that Imam's hamstring issue was the actual reason he was benched in the fourth ODI.

"Fakhar initially wasn't playing the fourth ODI, but just an hour before when the match was about to commence, Imam complained of a hamstring issue. There was apparently no choice left because Fakhar was not included in the playing XI. Shan was replacing Fakhar; Imam would've opened the inning. Fakhar demanded that even if he couldn't perform in the fourth match, he still would be willing to play the fifth and last ODI match, and that is exactly how things panned out. Shan played a good knock, Fakhar couldn't perform, and Imam didn't play", Latif said.

The 54-year-old also added to the context that Fakhar was part of the rotation policy, and things wouldn't have tapered down to this if it wasn't for Imam's hamstring problem.

"Only yesterday, it was speculated that Imam wanted to play the last match. Management countered him by asking how his hamstring issue has resolved so quickly? Fakhar already expressed his wish to play the final match; Shan had a decent inning. So this might be the reason why Imam couldn't be adjusted in the playing XI of the last match. Because as a matter of fact, some commitments need to be respected between the players and the management. Otherwise, both the players were a part of the rotation policy, and it wasn't that big of an issue. So what happened was on the cards due to the former sequence of events.", he further added.

Summarizing the inside details, Latif stated that Imam is an integral part of our ODI squad, and a significant amount of runs come from his end.

"Other than that, there's no threat to Imam's position in the national team. He's one of our main players. Mostly 18 to 20% of runs fall in his bucket and as many in Fakhar's", he concluded.