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An open letter to Imran Farhat

Published Nov 03, 2009 10:59am


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Dear Imran Farhat,

So, you’re back. I’d tell you it’s good to see you again, but it’s not. You must be over the moon, what with being picked for all three formats. Why, you must think you’re a regular Kevin Pietersen, eh?

Unfortunately, Imran, you’re not. You may be a year or so older. You may be a day or so wiser. But underneath all that flash, beneath all the ICL bravado, you’re the same guy who’s going to perpetuate our opening problem. You’re the batsman who miscues an ambitious pull shot. You’re the player who attempts a cross-batted hoick across the line of the ball for inexplicable reasons. And you’re the guy who helps perfect the opposing side’s slip-catching skills.

All this leads me to conclude that you’re a wonderful husband.

Your wife must be praising you to her parents, for what else explains your father-in-law Mohammad Ilyas’s decision to accost the coach of the international cricket team and berate him for not selecting you on the basis of, ironically, bias. Even fewer fathers-in-law would threaten national selectors for not picking their sons-in-law for the Pakistan team.

I would love to hear your thoughts on how the PCB should handle an individual who allegedly threatened to ‘start a war’ against their selection panel. The board chose to make Mr. Ilyas part of the selection panel. Their logic must have been that those primed to do the most damage to the system should be placed in a position of power within that system so they have a stake in its survival. But would you have acted differently?

And do you have anything to say about Mr. Ilyas’s first order of business, which was to restore you to your position on the team? A justification for your inclusion is probably warranted, given your average of barely above 30 in both major forms of the game. And then there’s the matter of your discipline. Some called you a crybaby for phoning up a selector in the middle of the night and demanding to know why you were dropped. Apparently it got so heated that you were fined for dissent. But it doesn’t stop there, does it? When you jumped ship for the ICL you took a few more shots at the PCB for assassinating your career, as if your lazy wafts outside the off-stump weren’t the true culprits.

It’s for these reasons, Imran, that I’m convinced you’re an exceptional family man. I can just see the case Mr. Ilyas made on your behalf in front of the selection committee: sure my son-in-law has no patience outside the off-stump and will give his wicket away carelessly, but he always asks my daughter how her day went when they’re on the dinner table.

But I guess I have to face facts now, Imran. You’re back and there’s no use crying about it. It’s time to focus on young players such as Umar Akmal and Mohammad Aamer who are primed to ensure a very bright future for our team.

Pakistan cricket is at a very important stage right now. We’ve been deprived of home games and yet we’ve managed to win a World Cup and make it to the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. What’s more, we as a nation want revenge when we play New Zealand in the UAE today. Beating that team in the Champions Trophy was supposed to be a sure thing, like it has always been, which is what made it all the more traumatising to lose to them in the Champions Trophy. We don’t just want to beat them. We want to maul them. But do not make the mistake of thinking that you’re the man to do the mauling.

Instead, please enjoy yourself, Imran. Don’t get too comfortable and please, don’t do any lasting damage while you’re out there. When you’re in the nets, don’t drive a ball straight at Saeed Ajmal and cause him bodily harm. He’s the best thing to happen to Pakistan off-spin bowling since Saqlain Mushtaq and we’ll need him in the Test matches against New Zealand.

Better yet, Imran, surprise us. Who knows, you may very well have a good series, maybe even comparable to that glory tour against the same team a few years back. You’re even capable of a Test century or two. Maybe you can take advantage of your selection to prove that you can be a long-term solution. Show us that you’re more than just another in the line of ICL alums who the selection committee insists on trotting out, forgetting that they were dropped for poor performance in the first place.

Best luck with your run, Imran. My regards to Ilyas sahib.



Farooq Nomani is a Karachi-based lawyer who is willing to represent the PCB for free. He blogs at

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (63) Closed

Waqas Cheema Nov 03, 2009 06:57am
If our media is so independent, why nobody is bothering about this sensitive issue. I agree Pakistan cricket is passing through a very sensitive phase and team desperately need players like Umar Akmal and Muhammad Amir. If involvement of Mr. Ilyas is there than those who are handling cricket of Pakistan and for those who know all this than why are they still silent. waqas cheema
siraj Nov 03, 2009 07:43am
it is good to read such a frank and correct analysis after a long time.well done, keep going we are with u.
Imran Hussain Nov 04, 2009 05:33pm
When Majid Khan went for trials in 1965 for the Pakistan cricket team, his father Dr. Jahangir was one of the selectors. When he saw Majid Khan in the ground, he approached him what he was doing there. Majid replied I am here for the trials. On hearing that, Dr. Jahangir went to his office and tendered his resignation. I heard this story on PTV before the advent for private channels, cable and satellite. I do not believe we have any more Dr. Jahangir Khan left in Pakistan.
Naveed Nov 03, 2009 12:26pm
Good one. Don't think there is anything personal; I read some of the statements made by Imran Farhat earlier and was amazed. I would absolutely agree that Imran's inclusion will be at the expense of youngsters that have shown their mettle already
Altaf Nov 03, 2009 11:46am
Its about time that Pakistani team should focused on the future & not the past. Pakistan should groom their youth. The likes of Misbah , Razaak & Farhat are the past!
Omer Admani Nov 03, 2009 06:30am
Hilarious comment! It is right, Imran Farhat is not a good batsman but in long-term there is no way he can survive in the team. This is just my point of view few might agree & disagree to what i say.
hammad Nov 03, 2009 06:41am
Farooq, Well said. I conceded on your view. In my opinoin this is much true that he is an out class batsman if he did overcome to play shot on off-site. I suggest Imran farhat to watch Australin bastman video for playing offsite drive. In fact, he could learn it. I believe that it will help to improve your batting deficiency so for because I also improve by this. Thanks.
hammad Nov 03, 2009 06:43am
Farooq, Well said. I agree on your view. In my opinion this is much true that he is an out class batsman if he did overcome to play shot on off-site. I suggest Imran farhat should practice playing off side drive. I believe that it will help to improve his batting deficiency so for because I also improve by this. Thanks.
Tariq Nov 03, 2009 06:53am
Dear Farooq I just dont have words to praise your blog. It was extremely pleasant like breath of fresh air.
khurram Nov 03, 2009 07:00am
Well said and well advised Farooq. All we can do is to just say Cricket is By-Chance and hope that our real talent comes up rather than the people who are not performing good.
Imran Khan Nov 03, 2009 07:03am
I do agree with his batting weaknesses and surprise selection but in my personal opinion you should'nt have included some of the family stuff, his family matters are personal stuff what he does/doesn't at his house we should just be concerned about his performance and overall merit.
Mudassar Alvi Nov 03, 2009 07:08am
Agreed with Mr.Farooq.
imran Nov 03, 2009 07:08am
Good One Mate!! I can get your point of bringing tested & failed players back in the field & not giving new players like fawad alam from your city a fair go. I think its time they stick with 2 openers for a while & give them enough time to cement their position or just pick different openers for test & other formats because you need a solid technique to open for test as compared to one day or T20.
Asim Nov 03, 2009 07:24am
Very well said. I couldnt believe how we can bring him back in the team :!. I feel sorry for Umer Amin and other players who have been scoring runs heavily in the domestic season but unfortunately they are not selected by our selectors who have their own monopoly.
Cricketlover Nov 03, 2009 07:53am
well, it is really baffling to me, much as it could be for a lot of other cricket lovers, to learn that Imran is the only player to be selected in all the three categories of the upcoming double-header series against New Zealand, against whom he hasn't played recently. How on earth could the Selectors ignore Misbah in such a cruel manner by way of a trade-off with Imran!
Owais Nov 03, 2009 08:02am
Though a bit negative tone, of barring the last paragraph, I AGREE BIG TIME with all the assertions of the writer. If I were a selector, without any biases i.e., I would not pick Imran Farha or for that matter Salman Butt for another two years. Their return only if they maintain an average of 50+ in domestic first class and one day games. I also have this feeling that Imran Farhat, Yasir Hameed, Taufeeq Umar and Salman Butt have been provided with AMPLE opportunities and they have failed to provide ANY consistency at the top. A lot of Pakistani fans like to think and say that they fail because of fear of being dropped - common, we are talking about international cricket, look at Aussies, there are on average two batsmen waiting in wings. Great and consistent batters like Hussey dont feel secured. But that makes them perform. A few 50's or an odd 100 does not make you a potential Hayden, or a Langer, or Tendulkar, or Dravid, or Smith, or Gayle, or Strauss or even a Katich, Hughes, Yuvraj etc etc. It's about time we moved ahead and tried people like Fawad Alam, Khurram Manzoor, Nasir Jamshed or any new talent other than these tried and test failures! I must say Fawad Alam has to be the unluckiest chap on the squad as against Mr. K. Akmal, who has to be the luckiest one.
Gohar Ayub Nov 03, 2009 08:20am
Imran is at best a club level player...i remember he refused to learn in the era of bob woolmer..what a pathetic culture and people; how can Mr. Ilyas be in selection panel?
Aamir Nov 03, 2009 08:22am
good on ya Farooq! this article is full of sarcasam....nice one :)
Omar Nov 03, 2009 08:23am
Hear hear! Gotta hand it to Mr. Nomani for this lovely piece. Anyway..I really can't wait to see Farhat go out of the team once again!
Yasir Nov 03, 2009 08:26am
Farooq, I thought your letter and the tone you took in it was a bit harsh and below the belt. I am not a fan of Imran either and I can tell that you do not like the guy but please do not bring his family into this. His father inlaw has influenced the selection process only goes to show that we have a weak system with even weaker people who will bow to pressure. Critise his stats, critise his technique but not his family. You come across as an intelligent guy, do not lower your self to others level. Regards Yasir
Arshad Zaidi Nov 03, 2009 09:24am
The best part of the open letter is the closing remarks "My regards to Ilyas sahib" !!! I dont think Imran will be able to justify his selection simply because of the fact that he is not a quality stuff..... just average and nothing more... Anyway, all the best to Imran and Ilyas Sahib.
Muhammad Nov 03, 2009 09:27am
I must say its a very good article and i am not too sure about the facts but if its true then indeed its a shameful reality. How can you drop Misbah for Imrat farhat. I know i am comparing apples with oranges; Misbah is not an opener but come on you dropped misbah!!!
Ali Nov 03, 2009 09:49am
Well said ....
Ali Nov 03, 2009 09:49am
Well said.
ALI Khan Nov 03, 2009 10:10am
What a Fantastically written article, he deserves no more chances.
KKNIAZI Nov 03, 2009 10:12am
Farooq! You are my spokesman from now on. Likes of Imran Farhat, Salman Butt and Faisal Iqbal are tested and FAILED & they may not succeed. This makes me think that PCB chairman proved that his Top Priority is to select their Favorite players. Try young & new players who have something to offer for their country not the ones who have failed before. Cheers, Kaleem
Atif Nov 03, 2009 11:42am
Lol Very well written. And there is nothing wrong in his family related comments. There is nothing personal in this article. Pakistan should just have continued opening with Kamran Akmal and perhaps Imran Nazir as well. All this lot of Salman Butt, Imran Farhat and Yasir hameed has been tried and failed. Akmal and Nazir are fully capable of giving us a 20+ start (what more can we expect from our openers?).
noor-e-sahar Nov 03, 2009 11:28am
how sweet article and comment from those who gave the chance to ministers again and again that politics became their family politics and are now criticizing on a player. how weak nation we are.... think about that once
Arshad Nov 03, 2009 11:31am
Ahmad Shehzad is better opener than Farhat.. And he should be given chance to prove himself.
PakFan Nov 03, 2009 11:44am
Well written. I say his technique needs a fix - he just gives the ball to slip with a gentlest tab. I do think his batting has some merit but there are better openers. My personal choice would be, Yasir Hameed and Salman Butt. Stick with them and keep Imran Nazir as a back up. Salman Butt is off form but he is probably the nearest we have to match Saeed Anwar.
Faisal Hussain Nov 03, 2009 11:52am
Excellent stuff. Farooq hats off to you. Cheers.
Salman Ahmed Nov 03, 2009 01:04pm
Splendid piece lawyer... felt like I was listening to a closing of Allan Shore :-) One of the major reasons of our repeated collapse is we refuse to learn from and fail to recognise our mistakes... its indeed shameful what Imran Farhat had done, and he is no Saeed Anwar or Brian Lara for whom you can make such horrendous exceptions... I trust Mr. Iqbal Qasim reads it.. or kindly have it mailed to him.
Mughees Nov 03, 2009 01:38pm
nice...loved the third last and second last paragraphs...Imran, please don't do any bodily the rest of ten players...especially Saeed Ajmal who actually is the best thing that happened to the Pakistani off spin attack since saqlain...also...why did they drop misbah???!?!?!? :O
Senober Nov 03, 2009 01:39pm
a very well thought out and constructive peice of commentary farooq - you should have been a journalist !! whilst no one likes families being dragged into such situations nevertheless and unfortunately it is common place in pakistan. From the politician to police to to army to cricket administrators it is a ritual to throw your weight around to get what you want rightly or wrongly. Therefore if ilyas, a so called sahib, is anything to go by then he deserves all he gets. Also why is it that in pakistan than in any other country, the people actually know more than the officials who run the authorities ? eg wapda, pcb, etc. Lastly and as a true fanatical pakistan supporter in the UK I hope for pakistans sake, not imrans but for pakistans cricket future sake. that imran farhat actually makes big runs so that PAKISTAN may win, even if it means his father in law will joyfully take the credit.
abc123 Nov 03, 2009 02:38pm
Superb article. I have to say this "You Have GUTS" Farooq!
ammar ahmad Nov 03, 2009 02:54pm
Hahhah... Brilliantly written. Salman Butt is another case in point please do write about him as well.
naveed Nov 03, 2009 03:41pm
Awesome man you spoke my heart. I was amazed at the inclusion of Imran Farhat in all the 3 formats at the expense of Imran Nazir in the ODI's and I don't know how many others. I am fine with the inclusion.
AM Nov 03, 2009 03:48pm
I would have rewritten this article to include Salman Butt as well. In the first match against New Zealand today he amply proves what I am talking about. What is he doing in the Pakistan team? The only person who is impressed with his talents is Sarfaraz Nawaz, who wants him to captain the Pakistan cricket team. LOL. Players like Salman Butt only seem to get worse with time, although he started pretty decently in 2004, scoring centuries against India and Australia
Imad Brohi Nov 03, 2009 05:33pm
Very well written. Great job Farooq.
Ali Ahmad Nov 03, 2009 08:28pm
Farooq, You are Right about Imran Farhat but what about Salman Butt ?? I don't think he deserves a place in any format but guess what he is still in the team regardless of if he performs or not, well he was dropped but he is back again, he is in the same category as Kamran Akmal who has greasy hands, i think i can be a better wicket keeper than Kamran Akmal! Peace !
Imtiaz Arshad Nov 03, 2009 08:45pm
You just spoke my heart out. Awsome job of evaluating the talent of the person. This is infact the story of a number of people selected in the team. I think no one can better put this inclusion of Imran farhat in Pakistan team in better words. These are those players who never learn from there mistakes and will never ever learn they will do exactly the same thing what he used to do before and average not going anywhere either. The only way for it to go down which i am very well expecting it from Imran Farhat.
Nabil Nov 03, 2009 10:40pm
Hello Janab. I don't know if you are acctually going to read all the comments but worth a try. Good article magar What about Salman Butt? Dont we learn from anything..? enuff of him already. Today too he went on a big Zero 0. What is up with that..?
Akhtar Hassan Nov 04, 2009 03:04am
Since the days of Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail Pakistan has not produced any reliable opening batsman. To single out Imran Farhat shows a lot of bias on the writer's part. If we look at the figures of all the openers tried by Pakistan in all three formats of the game Farhat's figures are a shade better than the others. To find a good opener is a real dilemma for the selectors and they have tried to do their best as far as opening batsmen are concerned. Writer's indulgence in Farhat's family affairs also comes in a very bad taste. I don't know how he would feel if somebody starts discussing his family members in newpaper columns.
sumbul feroz Nov 04, 2009 06:01am
Good way, Imran is a good player and he was. He must be in the team but cricket is the game of fortune so keep enjoying every moment in the time of sadness or happiness.
aslam butt Nov 04, 2009 04:16am
Why so much monopoly in the game of cricket? Fawad Alam and players from other cities were not even given a chance who are much better than Imran Farhat.
Ahmed Yahya Nov 05, 2009 06:33am
Agreed. bad things happens everywhere.
Raza Nov 04, 2009 04:48am
Farooq, A very well written article, felt like a sweet & tart candy slowly wilting away.
ahsan shahid Nov 04, 2009 05:19am
awsome dude but still I feel it was a little too much for Imran Farhat as he has just come back and may prove to be the main weapon for pakistan against Newzealand.
Abbas Ali Nov 04, 2009 06:22am
Sir, Imran Farhat had his chances in all format of the games I want him to perform but i am afraid Imran nazir and Farhat both are same type of players and they often throw their wickets away. I am sorry to say but you have had your chances. Give Fawad Alam a chance he is 100 times better than Farhat and nazir. I hope that you will prove me wrong imran farhat but fawad alam is better than you. This is not what you call justice Fawad has been the part of pakistan team for almost more than a year now and how many matches he has played so far ? he has performed well batted and fielded well but again he is marking himself as a permanent 12th Player. Stop these Selectors we have already suffered a lot and now we will again do this to one of the most talented player present in the country.
Maheen Ghani Nov 04, 2009 06:25am
Well! I'm a cricket fanatic and Inclusion of Imran Farhat in all three formats of cricket is very surprising for me and for every cricket lover. Imran as an opener again. I'll pray you give your best this time Imran.
Faisal Jafri Nov 04, 2009 06:34am
The article is cynical and it seems that Imran Farhat has done some personal damage to the writer for him to single out the opener for such treatment. There are others in the team that have made mistakes as well. Two big examples are Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf. To single out Imran just because his father-in-law is in PCB is a bit unfair to say the least. And as we in Pakistan know having a close relative in a senior position is a way to move forward. How many of us can claim not to have used that to our advantage at some point or other in this country. I believe on the cricketing front the team needs specialists and opening is a specialist's job. That does not imply that Imran Farhat is the answer (nor does it seem is Khalid Latif from the character of his innings yesterday as even after playing over a 100 deliveries he seemed to be facing his first ball). The burden is on Imran Farhat and co who have been selected as openers to prove they have what it takes. One year is a long time for a sportsman to mature and re-think his game. For the benefit of Pakistani cricket I hope that has happened. Salman Butt let us down again yesterday. It is a matter of technique and historically we have lacked in that department as we base our cricket on sheer talent and flair. And by the way Misbah and Fawad Alam are not openers by any stretch of the imagination so I dont see how they compete for the opening spot. Lets think cricket and not personalities!
Zeeshan Ali Nov 04, 2009 06:59am
Awesome letter dude. Surprising to see Imran being selected for all three formats. Pakistan need to give chances to other openers than Salman Butt & Imran Farhat. Both have failed misreably & are only good on batting tracks. But then this is a question for all Pakistani Batsmen except Kamran Akmal. Time for Khalid & Khurram or any other youngster to take over.
Gixxer Nov 04, 2009 07:53am
Although a bit harsh but the article throws light on the element of rampant nepotism in our society. I have never been a fan of the incumbent but still I believe that it was too much to bring his wife into the discussion. For Imran Farhat there is a positive side to all this what has been said about him. Justify your induction into the team by giving your level best after you have entered the field.
Cricketlover Nov 04, 2009 08:41am
Well wonders never cease to amaze people like me because there is no way that a player of the likes of Imran could find a place in all the three versions of the game. It certainly does not augur well for the Pakistani cricket team to be without someone like Misbah and instead try to accommodate Imran.
waqaas Nov 04, 2009 09:07am
It is bad how you talk about Imran Farhat's family. I would just like to ask how would you feel if your family is being dragged into article's? Do you believe that your family should be involved while I criticize your law skills? Clearly We all know Imran Farhat has come through power into the team and is not a deserving candidate. But how you disgrace his family is not acceptable. If the educated people of Pakistan behave like this then i believe that one should stay as an illiterate.
Amar Ali Khan Nov 07, 2009 05:03am
Assalamolaikum Dear all ! I am here to say that farhat is not back in squad due to his father in law but due to that brilliant innings of 159 he played in domestic cricket. I think that you have some personal problems with him thats why you wrote what should not be written. Its cricket why ur involving his family, If you are not happy with his selection than you should have simply written about his performance not all that stuff and to justify his selection. Its his casual style that harms his batting if he starts batting carefully than he will be perhaps most successful opener and solution of opening slot for Pakistan INSHALLAH
msb Nov 09, 2009 11:53am
I, and probably most people who follow cricket agree with you on Imran Farhat's inclusion in the team. That being said, this could have been written with some professionalism and class. There are numerous ways to write about the nepotism, likely taking place, without getting as personal as you did. While your grievances are legitimate it seems your skills as a writer have let you down here. I am sure you're a capable enough writer to do a more professional job.
Nida Haq Nov 10, 2009 03:48am
Come on FARHAT make the mouths of such critics go quiet by performance.
Asim Nov 10, 2009 11:10am
Someone mentioned that Imran got selected because of so called brilliant 159 :), is this the only century scored in the domestic season by any player? I think misbah scored a double century and so did Fawad Alam and dont forget Khurram Manzoor and Umer Amin are scoring consistently and quite heavily so a person should feel sorry for them. Salman Butt should be dropped from the team as soon as possible, he does'nt know how to field, does'nt even attempt to take a catch and in batting he can only score on the offside !!
Umer Nadeem Khan Nov 28, 2009 05:42pm
Well he has certainly cost us a match by dropping half a dozen catches costing us over 200 Runs. I hope he does not play the second test rather i hope he never plays for Pakistan at any level.
Ubaid Khattak Dec 02, 2009 05:59am
well he dropped catches and cause Pakistan lose the match, I think he is not a slip fielder so in next match (if he plays) he should not stand in slip position.
Shehryar Dec 07, 2009 06:12am
Mr. Nomani, Im thankful to you for pointing out the most obvious problem in the team at the moment. To add to your husband-wife-father-in-law reasoning, I would also like to add that he was a favorite of Inzi's. Now that Yousuf is captain and that all three were ICL mates, I get the decision of bringing him back. At the moment, Butt is the most solid amongst the available options and having scored well against Australia the last time around, I hope he's given a good chance. Also, it is really unfair to leave Fawad Alam out after giving him only 1 test.
Amar Ali Khan Dec 15, 2009 06:35am
Mr Noman hopefully you will be justified of his selection after that brilliant knock of 117* not out and becoming the only fourth Pakistani player to carry the bat!