Former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq's nephew, opener Imam-ul-Haq, has opened up about the pressure and scrutiny that comes with being related to a batting legend.
In an interaction with former Indian cricketer Deep Dasgupta on his ESPNCrincinfo chat show Cricketbaazi that was cited by Hindustan Times, the 24-year-old recalled that when he was first picked for the Pakistan national team for an ODI series against Sri Lanka in the UAE, he faced multiple accusations of nepotism and it became extremely difficult for him to deal with them all.
Imam revealed that when he was picked for Pakistan, he had only one friend, Babar Azam, but there was a communication gap between them as the former was playing regularly for the national team and he was playing domestic cricket.
Azam was focused on his cricket and was in extremely good form, having scored two back-to-back centuries in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Because his performances in the Test matches weren’t very good, he wanted to make up for it and was not talking much.
Imam recalled he started staying away from everyone because he felt disheartened. He stated that every time he opened his phone, there were people tagging him on social media posts and eventually he stopped talking to his family because he did not want to put them under any pressure that he was facing problems. He even handed in both his mobile phones to his manager.
Imam was inducted into the side when his paternal uncle Inzamam-ul-Haq, was the Chief Selector at the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Imam revealed he would cry for hours in the shower by the trolls and abuses that were pointed at him due to his connection.
“I remember crying in the shower for hours that I haven’t even played yet. The only thing running constantly in my mind was that I haven’t even played [for the national team] yet, what if I play and don’t perform well? Then my career will be over. I wouldn’t step a foot out of my room, fearing people might trouble me outside, because there is a large Pakistan community in Dubai," he said.
However, the youngster managed to silence his critics by playing a wonderful game on his ODI debut against Sri Lanka when he managed to notch a century.
The 24-year-old is the first player in the history of the format to score four tons in first nine ODIs. Imam-ul-Haq is also the second fastest batsman to reach 1,000 ODI runs, reaching the landmark in just 19 games.
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