Imam-Ul-Haq
World Test Championship

Pakistan opener eyes off spot in World Test Championship final

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Pakistan have moved quickly to put the disappointment of losing the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final behind them by attempting to qualify for next year's World Test Championship final.

Babar Azam's side fell agonisingly close to claiming a second T20 World Cup title when they were defeated by England by five wickets at the MCG earlier this month and now they turn their attention to upcoming Test series at home against England and New Zealand.

Pakistan currently sit in fifth place on the World Test Championship standings with a win percentage of 51.85, but could put themselves in contention for a top two finish and a place at next year's decider with a flurry of victories at home over the next two months.

First up for Pakistan is a three-Test series next month against England, before two matches against New Zealand at the end of December and into January that will be crucial to their chances of clinching a berth in next year’s decider at The Oval.

The form of Imam-ul-Haq over during those five Tests will be pivotal for Pakistan and the opener is hoping his side can pick up at least three victories on home soil.

"Due to the World Test Championship, the series against England and New Zealand is important for us," he said. 

"We can stay in the race for the final by winning three or four matches during the upcoming series."

Video T20 World Cup 11 Nov 22
Extra Cover: Unseen footage from Pakistan's semi-final win over New Zealand | T20WC 2022
The unseen footage from Pakistan's win against New Zealand in the first semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2022 in Sydney.

While many of Imam's teammates are part of Pakistan's T20 setup and took part in the recent T20 World Cup in Australia, the 26-year-old has been busy preparing for the upcoming Tests by taking part in Pakistan's domestic red-ball competition.

Imam has managed 229 runs from six innings at a reasonable average just north of 38 for Balochistan in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and the left-hander is looking to build on that form against England and New Zealand.

"I’m trying to maintain my form by playing domestic cricket," he said. 

"Test cricket usually happens after a long gap which is why we have to prepare for it from scratch every time."

The series against England will be the first against an English side on Pakistan soil since 2005 and Imam is eagerly awaiting the opportunity.

"I like playing Test matches on home soil as compared to ODIs and T20Is," Imam said.

"I’m happy to see that England and New Zealand are sending their full-strength teams to Pakistan. Top teams visiting Pakistan is good for our cricket."

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