Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has announced his decision to step down as the chief selector of the Pakistan cricket team. His position had come under scrutiny following the Men in Green’s failure to make the semi-finals in the just concluded World Cup in England and Wales. Inzamam had taken over as the chief selector in 2016 following his coaching stint with Afghanistan and the highest point during his stint was Pakistan winning the Champions Trophy in 2017.
One issue that has constantly plagued Inzamam is the picking of his nephew Imam-ul-Haq. In 2017, the young bespectacled batsman was brought into the side after Pakistan won a series against Sri Lanka in the UAE and the 21-year-old delivered right away by scoring a hundred on debut as the second Pakistani batsman.
He also went on to become the second-fastest batsman to score 1,000 runs in ODIs after his opening partner Fakhar Zaman. In the 2019 World Cup, Imam was one of the only two batsmen (the other is Babar Azam) to score a hundred for Pakistan. He finished as their second-highest scorer with 305 runs in eight matches after Azam who made 474.
I kept quiet and let others speak
However, despite Imam-ul-Haq’s exploits with the bat, it was being alleged that he had been picked in the national side at the behest of his uncle Inzamam-ul-Haq and both were accused of nepotism. While announcing that he will not seek an extension to his stint as the chief selector on Tuesday, the 49-yer-old addressed the Imam story once again.
He said he had never pushed his nephew’s selection and it was batting coach Grant Flower who had first brought up the possibility of lifting the young southpaw into international cricket. Inzamam also said that he was not around when Imam was picked for the Pakistan Under-19 team in 2012 or when he became the vice-captain of the side two years later.
“When he was first picked up for the international team not many know this, that it was Grant Flower who first came up to me to say he had been watching Imam score runs in domestic cricket. Then, [head coach] Mickey Arthur took up his case with the selection committee.
“Many people raised questions about his selection but when his name came up in selection I kept quiet and let others decide about him. So when you say that his selection is because of me, that’s inappropriate, because the team is not made by me alone. It was by the head coach and captain so why not question them?,” he was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
Inzamam also said that Imam earned his place in the team on his own by scoring runs. It can be mentioned here that the Lahore-born batsman averages over 54 in 36 ODIs he has played so far with seven hundreds.
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