Pakistan should not experiment with middle-order, says Imam-ul-Haq


Pakistan’s underperforming middle order has been a concern, but opener Imam-ul-Haq said it should not experiment with it and should instead go for consistency with only a few one-day internationals (ODI) left before the World Cup later this year.

Pakistan has taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in its five-match ODI series at home to New Zealand, thanks to contributions from top-order batsmen Imam, Fakhar Zaman and captain Babar Azam.

But the middle order has not enjoyed the same success, with batters between No. 4 and No. 7 averaging just 26.9 since the 2019 ODI World Cup.

“We don’t have time to do experiments,” Imam told reporters on Thursday. “With Agha (Salman), Shadab (Khan) and (Mohammad) Nawaz, we have enough power-hitting to improvise. It’s just a matter of giving them confidence.

“Their stats aren’t as big as we have in the top three and it’s tough for them because they get five to six overs but their chip-in is impactful and useful.”

Pakistan, third in the ODI rankings, are due to face New Zealand in the fourth match later on Friday followed by the final game on Sunday.

They are then scheduled to play three ODIs against Afghanistan in August before the Asia Cup in September.

The ODI World Cup will be held in India in October and November, where Pakistan will fight for their second title having last won in 1992.

“We have only two games left (against New Zealand) and it’s really very important to go into a bigger tournament, you have to be settled as much as you can with your main players,” Imam added.

“We have less cricket and I don’t think we have enough time to find a workaround.”

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