Imran Khan earned a quick call up to the national team after the change in management. Misbah ul Haq, head coach and chief selector, brought the pacer into the fold for his first major assignment and the paceman has clicked right away in the ongoing tour match against Australia A, ahead of the mighty clash in Brisbane on November 21.
Imran was the architect of Australia's collapse today and he was relieved after a stellar bowling display. He reflected on the headways he has had made in the time of international cricket isolation.
"I was out of the team for 1.5 years, I worked hard in that time, worked on my fitness and bowled a lot. I am happy that on my comeback I have got five wickets," Imran remarked.
Imran played his last international Test in 2017 on Australia tour and is resuming his career in the familiar territory. He bowled tight spells, hit the right areas and reaped the rewards for his disciplined bowling performance.
"I came early here [Australia], did nets for about a week and that helped me acclimate to the conditions. I am glad I got five wickets today; my plan was to bowl as many dot balls as possible and [target] their weaknesses," Imran added.
Imran bowled well in tandem with Shaheen Afridi, who is quickly getting back to his menacing best after the dengue fever recovery, and the well-oiled bowling machine managed to wreak havoc on subdued batting line-up of Australia A that featured regular members including Alex Carey, Usman Khawaja and Travis Head. Pakistan is bossing the match at the end of the second day of the tour game - thanks to Imran's thunderbolts.
"It's not easy to adapt in these conditions and pitches but the training camp helped me and I discussed [tactics] with Waqar Younis who advised me to stick with my line and lengths and told me to bowl as many dot balls as possible. I bowled more in the channel which helped me today," Imran explained.
Imran - who has been a consistent performer in domestic circuit - is off to a good start in this tour as the Pakistan team is looking for Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz's replacement which creates a perfect opportunity for the strike bowler to cement his spot in the team, but it will be a different ball game in the forthcoming two Tests which will also mark the start of Pakistan's World Test Championship campaign.
Will he be able to give the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne a run for their money in the consequential battle? Only time will tell but for now, he is upbeat and enjoying thriving in bowling friendly conditions.
"In four day Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, I learned how to bowl round the wicket and devised plans to [outsmart] left and right-handers. I prepared for the [upcoming] Test series and will implement my learnings here. I hope my efforts will help in the Tests."