Pakistan's continuing problems with openers has meant that for Imran Nazir, the door for a return, remains wide open. Poor form and injury has kept Nazir out of the Pakistan Test side for four years, while his last ODI appearance was over two years ago.
A typically rampaging hundred against Uttar Pradesh in the ongoing Mohammad Nisar Trophy for Sialkot comes conveniently timed and on a suitably big stage. And though upstaged by the likes of Mohammed Hafeez, Imran Farhat and Salman Butt, Nazir is still hopeful of a comeback.
"I want to return to the Pakistan team for both ODIs and Tests. I am doing well at the moment and it all depends on the selectors," Nazir told PTI in Dharamshala. "I was out of action for a year with a fracture in the right shoulder. I did a lot of training and physiotherapy to recuperate from that injury. Now I am perfectly fine and playing well."
Nazir could get his chance in the Champions Trophy in India, after Wasim Bari, the Pakistan chairman of selectors, stated that he was being considered as a replacement for Inzamam-ul-Haq. Inzamam has been banned for four ODIs for bringing the Oval Test against England into disrepute due to ball-tampering allegations.
"Imran has a chance of being selected because he is a brilliant fielder and very energetic as a batsman," Bari said. "But it is also a fact that he is an opener while Inzamam is a middle-order batsman." However, Nazir was not a part of the 30-man probables squad for the tournament and Bari added that his selection would require permission from the ICC. Younis Khan, the Pakistan captain, would be consulted regarding the replacements.
Nazir is leading Sialkot in the four-day Nissar Trophy match and has played just eight Tests and 61 ODIs since his debut for Pakistan in 1999. But he has been undone on occasion as much by his own rashness, though he is hardly alone among Pakistan openers recently in that trait.
"People say that (I am prone to playing rash shots) about me. But, I am confident about myself. What I need to do is keep performing consistently because that's what is in my hands."
Nazir added he was enjoying the experience of being in Dharamshala. "I am enjoying very much playing at such a unique place like this. The mountains and the ground are beautiful. I went around the place last night, it was a good feeling." A better feeling no doubt would be a recall to the Pakistan side.