The sight of a bespectacled and jovial looking batsman walking to the crease on his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in October 2017 was met with some degree of cynicism and a healthy dose of mirth as well. Imam-ul-Haq is a left-handed opening batsman with very little physical resemblance to his famous uncle Inzamam-ul-Haq. A batsman who sprung to fame himself during the now legendary 1992 World Cup victory, Inzamam is now the Chief Selector for Pakistan and his preference for his nephew to open for Pakistan was considered a curious choice by some, and a blatant display of nepotism by many others.
125 balls later when Imam-ul-Haq departed the field after scoring a maiden 100 on his ODI debut, the wagging fingers and chirping mouths had been somewhat silenced. Imam’s ability to stick it out and play handsome shots are no flukes as his current average of 54.90 indicates. Whilst many of his detractors will continue to snipe at him for his family connections, the fact that Imam-ul-Haq remains one of Pakistan’s top opening batsmen in ODIs cannot be denied. However difficult the situation and regardless of the quality of the opposition bowling, Imam has always found a way to battle through and give his side the best start he can.
In fine recent form as second highest run-scorer for Peshawar Zalmi in PSL 4, Imam-ul-Haq is blessed with a temperament that is rock-solid. The ability to play good cricketing shots is another quality that the Pakistan think-tank would have taken into account when selecting him for the Pakistan squad bound for England. At this early part of his career where he has played 24 ODIs, it is difficult to forecast a career of the quality of his illustrious uncle but all indications are that Imam-ul-Haq at the 23 years of age has the ability and talent to provide the stability that Pakistan have historically lacked at the start of their innings. In terms of the occasion, what better platform then the World Cup can there be for Imam-ul-Haq to perform and create his own legacy for the future?