Imad Wasim has the air and confidence of a natural leader. A long-term captain of the Pakistan Under-19 side, he has also led Islamabad in both first-class and limited-overs cricket, and captained sides in the PCB Patron's Trophy. In the midst of his match-winning spell of left-arm spin in the first T20I against Zimbabwe, however, Wasim was quite happy to follow the plans laid out to him by his captain and coaches.
"Whatever is required, I do," Wasim said. "Whatever my captain tells me, I do that." He was deployed early against Zimbabwe opener Chamu Chibhabha, who has a reputation for preferring pace on the ball, and insisted "the coaching staff and captain were part of that decision."
Despite his respectful deference, Wasim is also a street-smart cricketer who has played the game professionally for almost a decade. On current evidence, he could be around for a lot longer. "Look, I've been playing cricket for ten years now," he said. "First-class, and before that Under-19, so there is a bit of pressure coming into international cricket but I played in Sri Lanka, and against Zimbabwe at home, so I think I can cope with it now."
Wasim's international debut came against Zimbabwe at home in May, in the second Twenty20 international. He had been selected on the basis of his all-round performances for Pakistan A. On a flat track at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, he bowled only two overs but played a more vital hand with the bat as Pakistan snuck home by two wickets.
There were also some handy runs from him today, the best of which was a mighty loft down the ground for one of only four sixes in the entire match. It's clearly a stroke he's worked on: at Saturday's centre net he spent the best part of an hour practising it. His 19 runs off 12 balls were crucial in a low-scoring game.
"The wicket was not as good as we felt it was at the start, so I felt our score was okay," Wasim said. "And to win by 20 or so runs in a low-scoring game is a convincing win."
Wasim's all-round contributions included two run-outs, but it was his bowling which was most eye-catching. Though the wicket was taking spin, it was his drift which caused the most trouble. "The pitch was a bit slow, and it was spinning a lot, but you still have to bowl in good areas," he said. "I use spin and drift, I do both. But was I using drift as a weapon today? Yes, definitely."