Switch hit: How Imad Wasim quit medicine to chase cricket dream

Published January 14, 2016
“If you are going to be a success, you have to give this sport 100 per cent of your time, so I chose cricket over studies.” —AFP/file
“If you are going to be a success, you have to give this sport 100 per cent of your time, so I chose cricket over studies.” —AFP/file

All-rounder Imad Wasim has been touted as the next big thing in Pakistan cricket by some former players.

With a couple match-winning performances in his very short limited-overs career, Imad may just be repaying the faith put in him by his mentors and the team management, but the 27-year-old almost chose a life far away from the cricket field in 2007.

Imad would have turned up to work in hospital scrubs everyday had he not decided to forego a degree in medicine.

“For a time it felt like I was not going to get the chance, but in my heart, I knew I was going to get picked,” Imad told The National in an interview ahead of the first T20 between Pakistan and New Zealand in Auckland.

In the end, his passion for cricket trumped all and Imad took the leap.

“I was about to do medicine, I had my admission accepted to university, but I quit because I wanted to play cricket.”

“If you are going to be a success, you have to give this sport 100 per cent of your time, so I chose cricket over studies,” the Swansea-born all-rounder said.

He made vital appearances for the Pakistan side at the 2006 and 2008 U19 World Cups and in between there was brief lull where he played six seasons of league cricket in England and Ireland. But it was in 2015, eight years later, that Imad finally got a call up to the national side.

“It was fantastic. I cannot describe those feelings. It just felt like a dream come true. I am very lucky to play for my country,” Imad recalled.

“I just knew that when I was picked I had to deliver, I had to perform to make sure I stayed in the team. That is what I always thought. There were never any negative thoughts in my mind - even after I was injured.”

Already bracketed as a limited-over specialist after a couple of solid performances in the shorter formats, Imad is now eyeing a spot in the Test side.

The determined all-rounder believes he has it in him to make the cut.

“I have been performing well in first-class cricket. I will keep doing that, and if the selectors want me there ... I am happy playing ODIs and T20, but I would love to play Test cricket.”

His immediate challenge comes in the form of the swashbuckling New Zealand side though in a series of T20s and ODIs.

And with Yasir Shah out following a doping suspension, Imad's place in the side become even more valuable.

Flashback: Imad takes Pakistan home in thrilling finish

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