The Pakistan team is all prepped up for their UK tour which commences from tomorrow with a one-off Test against Ireland. After its culmination, the Men in Green will also face England and Scotland for two Tests and two T20Is respectively.
Aspiring to make his Test debut on the tour, Imam-ul-Haq, nephew of former Pakistan captain and now chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq, realised it will be a dream come true for him. Imam wanted to play Tests for his country – even if he did not expect his first to be in Ireland.
Should the dream come true, Malahide will be the scene for not only Imam’s Test bow but that of the Ireland men’s team who were granted the status last year in July. Ireland will welcome Pakistan as their first five-day opponents, looking to revive memories of the famous 2007 World Cup upset at Sabina Park.
While Ireland will go into the Test as firm underdogs, Mickey Arthur’s team will have to guard against complacency. Pakistan briefly topped the Test rankings in 2016, after drawing 2-2 with England, but have since slipped to No. 7 in the world and will be hoping to avoid an ambush in what could be challenging conditions for batting.
Imam opens up on his upcoming Test debut
Imam has already played four ODIs, scoring a century on debut against Sri Lanka last year, and he is set to slot into the top three of the Test side. In two warm-up matches over the past fortnight, Imam, 22, has scored two half-centuries against Northamptonshire. Now he hopes to provide some batting fibre in a side that has struggled somewhat since the retirement of two Pakistan greats last year.
In an exclusive interview with ESPNcricinfo, the 22-year-old said, “It’s a very proud feeling. Everybody knows that Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have just retired and our young guys have to do a lot of work. It’s always good to come and prove a point, and we’re looking forward to this series. I have been scoring runs in the two four-day matches and that gives me confidence. I’m very hopeful that I’ll do well in this series.