KARACHI: Imad Wasim isn’t too bothered about what the year ahead will bring. The ODI World Cup looms on the horizon with rumours that the discarded all-rounder has a chance of getting back into the national team fold. For now, though, the Karachi Kings captain is putting al his focus on the HBL Pakistan Super League.

The Kings open their campaign in the eighth season against Peshawar Zalmi at the National Stadium on Tuesday with Imad restored as skipper after Babar Azam, Pakistan’s all-format captain, moved to Zalmi. Imad doesn’t feel that the opening game will be spiced up up because Babar is on the other side and says he’s “living in the moment”.

“At this moment, I’m not to bothered about the World Cup,” Imad told Dawn in an interview on Monday.

“Right now, I’m leading Kings and the aim is to play good cricket and all my focus is on the PSL.”

On the spectre of facing Babar on the opposite side, Imad added: “Every game is a spicy affair in the PSL. We know they’re going to come hard at us and we’re ready for it.”

The Kings, who won the PSL in 2020, had a disastrous campaign last time out, finishing bottom in the round-robin stage. Imad is advocating aggressive cricket from his side.

“I always believe in playing aggressive, positive cricket,” he said. “We will assess the situation of the pitch first and then we will start thinking about how we go about it.

“The way the game is, if you don’t take wickets in the middle overs or the powerplay, the opposition will get away. But we’re going to try using a mystery spinner or a quick bowler [to do that for us]. We know conditions are good for batters in Karachi so we will be looking to take wickets.”

Pacer Mohammad Amir remains the Kings’ main bowling weapon but Imad is looking at veteran South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir to inspire his side. “He has always delivered in the PSL,” noted Imad.

The Kings captain is also hoping that the mercurial Haider Ali shines through this season.

“I’ve always believed in Haider … especially when he was playing under me in Northern,” said Imad. “The key is to keep him up the order so he can score runs. I’ve watched him closely and I believe this will be his season.”

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2023

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