PSL 2021: Imad Wasim carries Karachi Kings' hopes with Pakistan comeback on his mind

All-rounder has fallen out of favour, with T20 World Cup round the corner

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Pakistan all-rounder Imad Wasim finds himself in a peculiar situation. Despite being a highly effective bowler in white-ball cricket, the left-arm spinner has fallen off the radar.

Wasim has played 55 ODIs and 49 T20 Internationals, with an economy of 4.8 and 6.2 respectively. In over 200 20-over games, his economy is 6.5. He is the captain of his franchise and a highly impactful lower-order batsman who averages 42 in ODIs and has a strike rate of 145 in T20Is.

All of that should mean a near permanent spot in the national team. However, after the Pakistan Super League was suspended in March, Wasim found himself out of the reckoning for subsequent tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe in both formats.

His form in 2020 with the ball, especially in T20s with an economy of 7.7 in eight games, was not as impressive and that was stated as one of the reasons behind the decision.

It was a significant move from chief selector Mohammad Wasim, which was backed by coach Misbah-ul-Haq, since this is the year of the T20 World Cup with all hopefuls up for the final auditions.

Which is why the remaining segment of the PSL, which starts in Abu Dhabi on June 9, is crucial for Karachi Kings captain Wasim.

"Every player's dream is to play the World Cup for their country. I am looking forward to World Cup selection, or whatever the situation is. But my job right now is to lead Karachi Kings and to play well," Wasim told The National.

"I don't think about other things. I just to want give my 100 per cent and leave the rest to the selection committee. My job is to play cricket and give my 100 per cent. If Allah wants me to play, I will play."

And while it may seem he has to prove himself all over again in the remainder of the PSL, Wasim said he is not tying himself into knots trying to make his case.

"I don't think I have to prove myself to anyone. Yes, you always need improvement. I always try to be more effective. It's about learning and adapting to different conditions, ever single day."

I don't think I have to prove myself to anyone

Among the many issues weighing on his mind, as captain of Karachi, is the PSL itself. His team were on top of the table when the tournament got disrupted in March due to a Covid outbreak.

When the tournament restarts at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, all teams will have to hit top gear from the start. Momentum, unfortunately, has evaporated.

"It is tough. We were playing very well in Karachi. Now it's a different ball game," Wasim said. "But we have a very good side. We will try to gain the momentum first and continue that going into playoffs, which is our first target."

What should work in Wasim's favour is his style of spin bowling which is suited perfectly for the dry conditions in Abu Dhabi.

"Spinners have always been effective in Abu Dhabi. That will make it easier, to ease into the tournament. But I have a lot of responsibility as a captain. It's how you balance yourself as a player and captain. I am up for the challenge."

What will definitely not favour Wasim or any other player is the weather. The mercury is already approaching 40 degrees celsius and the humidity making it tougher. Even with late matches, 40 overs are going to extract a lot out of players. However, it is all part of the job for the 32-year-old.

"It's very very hot in Abu Dhabi. It will take a day or two to get used to the conditions," he said. "But we are professionals and we have to adapt. But every player in PSL or in the world... they don't give any excuses. Every player has to find a way."