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June 14, 2019

I need to be more focussed, says Imam


June 14, 2019

MANCHESTER: At the end of the 25th over, Pakistan’s run-chase seemed to be on the right course. They were 136-2 with opener Imamul Haq and Mohammad Hafeez looking fully set.

There was nothing worrying about the wicket and the Aussie attack wasn’t hurling any extraordinary deliveries at them either.

By then Imam had faced 74 balls for his 53. He knew he had to compensate for all the dot balls he had faced in his innings so far. More importantly, he knew he had to stay on the crease having seen the team’s mainstay Babar Azam getting out to a soft dismissal for 30.

But the very first ball of the 26th over that he faced from Pat Cummins, Imam made a costly error. He tried to pull the ball that was short down the leg side. Looking for a boundary, Imam could just glove it and Australian stumper Alex Carey picked up a comfortable catch.

“Was it a lapse of concentration,” I asked Imam as he took questions in the Mixed Zone after Pakistan’s 41-run defeat against the Aussies.

“I won’t say that,” he replied. “I mean, I think it was my bad luck that it touched my gloves,” he added.

But he was quick to add that he would try and concentrate more especially in key stages of the coming games. “I think I should show more concentration. But this is just the second time I’ve gotten out that way.”

Imam admitted that he was hugely disappointed over his failure to play a match-winning knock in Taunton. “Obviously, I’m playing well — and this team depends on me and Babar (Azam),” said the 23-year-old. “When Babar got out (for 30), it was then my responsibility and I was going well but it was not a good ball that got me out, the same as I did against the West Indies.

“I knew I’d spent a hell of a lot of time on a tricky wicket so I knew it wouldn’t be easy for any new batsman to come in. So it was a huge disappointment because it’s a World Cup stage and if you get set, you really have to make it count if you want to stay in the tournament.

“If I’ve scored 30 in a winning side, that would be great, I’d be very happy. As a pro, if you’re winning matches for your country, that’s the best thing and if you’re not even if you score a fifty, that’s a huge disappointment.”

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