Imam explains his animated celebration after scoring century
Imam-ul-Haq hit a measured century and delivered a message to his critics as Pakistan
piled up 317 for six in the third one-day international against South Africa on Friday.
As Imam completed the single that took him to his fifth century in his 19th one-day international
he pointed to his mouth as his lips moved vigorously.
He was out almost immediately afterwards for 101, made off 116 balls with eight fours.
Asked about his gesture in an interview with SuperSport television after his innings,
he laughed and said: “Everybody knows I am the nephew of the chief selector (Inzamam-ul-Haq)
and that was a message to all the Pakistan media and all the Pakistan people who criticise me.”
Imam has also joined the elite list of players with over 1,000 runs in ODI cricket.
The 23-year-old became the second fastest to reach the milestone in just 19 matches.
He missed out on bagging the top slot by just one match, a position which is held by his
fellow opener Fakhar Zaman who took only 18 matches to reach the 1,000-run mark.
He also equalled Quinton de Kock’s record of fastest to five ODI hundreds.
Last year, Imam had insisted that he had earned his place in the side as much as any other player.
Meanwhile, the left-handed Imam shared partnerships of 132 for the second wicket with
Babar Azam (69) and 84 for the third wicket with Mohammad Hafeez (52).
Imad Wasim finished the innings with a flourish with an unbeaten 43 off 23 balls,
putting on 52 off 31 balls with Shoaib Malik (31) for the fifth wicket.
With the five-match series tied at 1-1, South Africa had a poor day in the field,
dropping five catches, including lives to all five of the Pakistan top scorers.
There were 12 wides in the innings as South Africa needed more than 20 minutes past
the allotted time to bowl their 50 overs.
Andile Phehlukwayo and Tabraiz Shamsi, the two most successful bowlers when South
Africa’s won the second match in Durban on Tuesday, conceded a combined 146 runs in
19 overs for the wicket of Imam, caught in the deep off Shamsi.