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.
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