South Africa February 8, 2007

Imran pulls Pakistan out of trouble

There was a moment when Pakistan's one-day series could have got even worse, and it happened early on. Kamran Akmal had been trapped LBW, shouldering arms, and the pressure was on Imran Nazir on his overdue return to international cricket.

The pitch was bouncy and South Africa were keen to test his mettle. Imran responded by pulling every short ball that came his way. With venom and a strong bottom-hand, he plays an exciting pull shot. A Pakistani batsman was prepared to go toe to toe with South Africa's fast bowlers, and crucially he did it with confidence and skill. In fact little has changed about Imran's approach except that he looks more in control.

Shahid Afridi made a dramatic return of his own and should have won the man-of-the-match award, but it was Imran who pulled the intitiative back for Pakistan and set them on their way to a match-winning total. Imran Nazir has always been capable of fireworks, of course, but over the next few days we will discover whether or not he has learnt consistency to go with his destructive talent.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here