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Pakistan v New Zealand 2022/23

‘Never expect anything from anyone’ – Imam-ul-Haq posts cryptic tweet after being replaced by Shan Masood

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Imam-ul-Haq posted a cryptic tweet on Sunday (May 7) after being dropped from the last two ODIs against New Zealand, with Pakistan preferring to open with Shan Masood instead.

Imam, who averages 58 in ODIs since 2022, registered scores of 60, 24 and 90 in the first three games against New Zealand, including winning the Player of the Match award in the third ODI, before he was dropped for the last two matches. The opener was replaced by Shan Masood at the top of the order for the remainder of the series, making 44 (55) and 7 (20). Masood had also played the first ODI but batted at No.4, and made a 12-ball one. He did not play the next two ODIs but returned for the last two games as an opener instead of Imam. According to Rashid Latif, Imam’s absence was to do with him complaining of a hamstring issue.

Following the surprise omission, Imam posted a cryptic tweet on Sunday, saying that life was an “unexpected journey” and to “never expect anything from anyone”, with many suggesting that it was a reference to his exclusion from the ODI squad.


A few days earlier, Imam had attended a press conference where he advised the Pakistan cricket team to do away with experiments as the World Cup was around the corner. When asked about having Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Haris as power-hitter in the middle overs, Imam had said, “To be honest I don’t think so because we don’t have time to do experiments. With Agha [Salman], Shadab [Khan], and [Mohammad] Nawaz, we have enough power-hitting to improvise. It’s just a matter of giving them confidence.”

Following the 4-1 series win on Sunday, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam was asked about Imam’s tweet, to which he replied, “I haven’t checked my mobile and don’t know what Imam has tweeted.”

This was not the first time that Imam had to sit out to accommodate Masood in the XI. In the first series against New Zealand at the start of the year, Masood, who had been given a surprise call-up in the format for the first time since 2019, replaced Imam in the third ODI after the left-hander made 11 and six in the first two matches. Masood registered a duck in the last game then.

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