<
>

'We've proven everybody wrong' - Imad

Mohammad Amir takes flight after picking up a wicket Getty Images

Pakistan "proved everybody wrong" in the 2017 Champions Trophy, according to allrounder Imad Wasim.

Despite Pakistan coming into the event as the bottom-ranked team and starting with a chastening defeat at the hands of India, Imad rubbished the suggestion that Pakistan were unpredictable and instead claimed they were "one of the best in the world".

And he had special praise for Mohammad Amir, whose spell in the final proved decisive, and who Imad hailed as "the No. 1 bowler in Pakistan".

"This is not a fluke," Imad said. "We've got a great side; one of the best in the world right now. I don't see that we're an unpredictable side. We've won our last four games and we've proven everybody wrong. We won against South Africa, who are the No. 1 side in the world, so we had the belief we could take anyone down."

Imad credited the experience of playing in the PSL, and the confidence inspired by the team management as key factors in the success.

"The PSL is a big event for us," he said. "You do improve from playing in it. Look at Fakhar [Zaman], Shadab [Khan] and other youngsters who came into the side and made an impact in this major tournament. Credit goes to all the young cricketers who stepped up.

"And credit to the management, too. I've been really lucky to play under Mickey Arthur and Sarfraz Ahmed. They get along really nicely. It's great for bonding. Arthur has supported us throughout the campaign. Even when we lost, he told us we were going to come back and turn things around, and we did.

"Our bowling has been unbelievable, and [in the final] our batting was absolutely fantastic."

He had particular praise for Amir. "I've always believed in Amir. I've played with him since 2007 and captained him for Pakistan Under-19s. I'm one of his best mates, and we really wanted him in the team. He has always been world-class and he is a big-match player, too.

"I met up with him when he had the ban and it was not a good feeling. To live for five years without cricket... he was absolutely distracted from everything. He was down and out.

"Luckily, I played with him in his first game when he was coming back in domestic cricket and I saw him bowling. It was unbelievable - same pace, same everything. He's a natural.

"He's working hard at it now and you can see the way he's bowling. Whatever happened, happened, but he's the No. 1 bowler in Pakistan cricket. After five years out, you imagine how tough he is mentally. The best is yet to come from him."

Imad also believed the best is yet to come from this young Pakistan team. "Imagine the confidence we get from this," he said. "It's a young team and to win this major event - which we've never won before - is a big achievement for us."