PAK v AUS: Imam-Ul-Haq Puts Away Rawalpindi Wicket's Criticism, Says 'It Was Same For Both Teams'
Pakistan batter Imam-ul-Haq on Thursday dismissed the criticism of the Rawalpindi pitch where the first Test was played, insisting that the hosts were playing to their strengths and that the wicket wa
Pakistan batter Imam-ul-Haq on Thursday dismissed the criticism of the Rawalpindi pitch where the first Test was played, insisting that the hosts were playing to their strengths and that the wicket was the same for both teams.
The lifeless pitch in Rawalpindi became a talking point after only 14 wickets fell across five days in the first Test. While Pakistan managed to take all 10 Australian wickets in the first innings, Australia could pick up only four in total, as the hosts made 476 for four and 252 for no loss before the match ended in a tame draw.
During the process, Imam became only the 10th Pakistan batter -- and the third opener -- to score a century in both innings of a Test. Imam and Abdullah Shafique also set a new record for most runs scored by an opening pair against Australia.
After the game ended in a draw, Australia's captain Pat Cummins suggested that the lifeless pitch was made to nullify the visitors' pace attack. Later, PCB chairman Ramiz Raja also admitted the match "wasn't a good advertisement" for cricket and said he understood the frustration of fans but stressed that, "just for the heck of it, we can't prepare a fast pitch or a bouncy pitch and put the game in Australia's lap".
However, the Pakistan opener questioned the critics of pitch, saying whether Australia would ever prepare their pitches at home after consulting the opponent.
"A draw is something nobody wants to see. Obviously when it's a five-day Test everyone anticipates for a result. But when we go to Australian conditions, they don't make pitches consulting us but make it according to their will so I think we should see our strength and should live up to our strength," ESPNcricinfo quoted Imam as saying.
"But in Karachi, we are looking for a result in our favour. I think the Rawalpindi Test was played well as we managed to get all 10 wickets. Unfortunately, 70 overs were not played out due to bad light and rain but had those overs been bowled the result could have been different because we intended to make them bat again," he added.
Playing a Test at home for the very first time, Imam kept his focus intact on a slow pitch and also faced Australian spinner, Nathan Lyon, without much fuss. But the batter feels that he still will be criticised.
"Regardless of my settled or unsettled position in the team or even whether I am performing or not, I will always be criticised. It's been nearly five years and 60 games I have played so far for Pakistan and yet I face criticism but I am not sad because that's very normal to me," Imam said.
"My job is to score runs and the quality of innings should be judged on the basis of my intent. For me, my captain, my coach and the think-tank are the important ones and what they are expecting from me and how they rate my innings. It is not really important what people say from outside and what perception is made about me that doesn't matter at all and I don't care about it.
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect that any judgment coming from the people in the dressing room is what is all-important for me," he added.
Imam also insisted that he didn't tell the curator to make a pitch according to him and the track was the same for both the teams.
"I didn't tell the curator to make a pitch according to me, nor is he my relative. It was the same for Australia, yet we got their 10 wickets and none of them managed to score 100. I didn't ask for the pitch so that I can score a hundred in each innings," he said.
"The Karachi pitch will be the same as it has been in first-class cricket and I won't be playing at it for the first time. But at the same time whatever Test I had played before this I played outside in South Africa, Ireland and England in away Tests. So whatever the pitch will be -- whether it's green, yellow, or brown -- my job is to play cricket and I will play and keep believing in my practice," he added.
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The second Test starts from March 12 in Karachi, where in the last five years the spinners have taken 275 first-class wickets at 33.16 while fast bowlers have dominated with a better average of 31.44 and 499 wickets.
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