Imam defends Azam Khan amid social media trolling

Imam says one can't play six games in row without good performance as social media users start trolling

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Pakistani batsman Imam Ul Haq (right) and Azma Khan (left). —Screengrab/ Geo News/ YouTube/ AFP

Following Pakistan's loss against the US in the T20 World Cup and ongoing criticism toward the players by netizen, Imam Ul Haq said that a cricketer is unable to perform well in the matches because of the trolling on social media. 

His comments come as Pakistan's wicketkeeper-batter Azam Khan suffered from trolling on social media as he has been unable to perform with his bat recently. 

Imam, citing Azam's dismal performance in back-to-back matches, said one could not play six games in a row without a good performance as social media warriors instantly blasted it.

He said this in context of the “misperception” among cricket fans that Pakistan were carrying some players on the basis of favouritism as he believed that it was not possible to carry a player longer without performance in the era of social media.

After US-Pakistan match, cricket fans expressed their disappointment over the Green Shirts' performance and the team's selection on Thursday.

Speaking to Geo News after the match, the fans were frustrated over the loss and especially over Azam's selection in the same.

"We have been disappointed so much today. Azam Khan has no place in the team but they are still including him. He doesn't know fielding and he got out on the first ball," said one of the spectators.

Meanwhile, Azam has either deleted all his posts on his Instagram account or archived them for some reason, prompting speculations that he resorted to the move after receiving criticism from the fans over his fitness and selection in the T20 World Cup squad.

Azam has always been on the receiving end of verbal assaults for his physical fitness, yet he has proved his mettle in the T20 league tournaments in Pakistan and abroad as well.

The batter has not given any reason for his Insta posts’ vanishing out of the blue.

For the last few days, he had been encountering terrible censure for his fitness specially after poor show in two T20Is against England during recent tour that ended few days ago.

Pakistan lost the four-match series by 2-0 as two of the matches were washed out.

During the same tour, when a journalist challenged his place in team against England and World Cup, Fakhar Zaman stood up for his teammate and said skipper Babar Azam and coach Gary Kirsten selected Azam on the basis of his CPL performance.

The son of legendary wicket-keeper Moin Khan is yet to make a mark in T20I from the national side despite making his international debut three years ago in July 2021. He has appeared in 13 innings for Pakistan but could score only 88 runs.

Grouping in Pakistan

Pooh-poohing the perception of grouping within the national team, cricketer Imam said he never saw grouping of any kind in the team. If someone saw such a thing they should name that such and such people were part of the group, he said.

“I have been playing for the past seven years and I have never observed any grouping,” he said.

He also said, to a query, that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) were two completely different entities and they should be seen as such. “The PSL teams have nothing to do with the PCB,” he added.

Commenting on Pakistan’s defeat at the hands of US, he said the national side’s defeat was a failure of us all. 

“It’s our responsibility that we support our team as it’s not end of the world. Pakistan still have to play a high-voltage match against India,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, batsman Ahmed Shehzad opined on Pakistan’s losing their inaugural T20 World Cup match to the US, saying that country's domestic cricket had been ruined. 

"When you do not have strong base then such results are inevitable," he said.  

Reminding that it was not a one-off event as Pakistan had been defeated by minnows in the past as well, he recommended the management to focus on team’s performance.