Athletes have identifiers and most leave their thinkers with a distinct emotion. You think of Roger Federer and the word “elegance” pops up in your head. Muhammad Ali leaves his thinkers with feelings of defiance or resilience. The cricketer Imran Khan had the same connection with “leadership”.
But you think of Imam-ul-Haq and the first words that hit your are “parchi, nephew, arrogant and now … womanizer” and so on. At least that’s the case with so many of this bespectacled cricketer’s countrymen.
A mere look at his face can trigger many. When he’s out early, he’s no good and in the side because of his famous uncle. But even when he’s among the runs, his contribution is dismissed. He’s a ‘parchi’ on his worst days and a mere meh at best.
Imam, in an interview with the Cricketer magazine, got a a chance to tell his side of the story and explain to his critics how ridiculous it is to say that he has made it this far just because he’s related to the legendary Inzamamul Haq.
“People think he said to Mickey Arthur, to Grant Flower, to Sarfraz Ahmed: ‘Pick Imam-ul-Haq,’” the left-handed opener, who averages 54 and change in ODIS, told the publication in an interview done sometimes during the summer.
“People forget that we are living in 2019, where the media is everywhere. I can’t be here without my performances. I would be exposed in two minutes.
“They don’t see that I’ve gone through the process. But they see that I’m a nephew of Inzamam and they believe that they have the right to bash me.”
Imam asked his critics the logic of what his uncle stood to gain from his inclusion in the side.
The ‘parchi’ that just doesn’t stick: Imam-ul-Haq’s number story
“People don’t understand – why would he take a chance on me? He has the biggest reputation in Pakistan – he is a legend and a superstar. Why would he take that chance on a young guy if he’s not talented? Why would he take that risk? It’s not me. It’s about him. He’s the biggest star of Pakistani cricket. Why would he change that reputation?”
One of the easiest and most frequent targets on social sites, Imam says he was concerned with the vitriol directed his way earlier but has now grown immune.
“I see many posts against me,” he told the magazine. “In the first year of my international career, I wanted to see those posts because they made me hungry, they gave me more determination and hunger to prove them wrong.But now, I know that I can’t fight with everyone .”
“I really don’t care what the journalists and the ex-players say,” he added.
Imam says that the critics continued belittling of his talents creates an extraordinary amount of pressure on him — something his contemporaries don’t have to deal with.
“They don’t think that when I have two failures in a row, I have a hell of a lot of pressure. Other players are under pressure, but my pressure is immense. After two failures, I know that people will forget everything that I have done for Pakistan,” he explained.
“It has been two years and the people criticising are still the same. I know they won’t change. They won’t change their perspective – they think it’s fun, but it’s not. It’s my career.”