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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 April, 2004, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Farhat comes of age
By Shahid A. Hashmi

Imran Farhat
There are a number of openers waiting for their chance and only through performance can I keep my place
Imran Farhat

Pakistan's young opener Imran Farhat has finally fulfilled his promise.

With a brilliant 101 against India in the Lahore Test, Farhat not only built the cornerstone for his team's nine-wicket win but also turned his enormous potential into performance.

"It was a long-time dream to score a hundred against India and this hundred would definitely help boost my career," said the 21-year-old from Lahore.

As an eight-year-old, Farhat found a cricket companion in his own home. Elder brother Humayun would accompany him to cricket grounds and both would play for hours.

And since their family was a sporting one there was no stopping the two boys.

"My father Farhat Hussain was a national badminton player and his sister led Pakistan women's hockey team so there were no restrictions," recalls Farhat, whose father-in-law Mohammad Ilyas played for Pakistan in the 1970s.

Farhat's first break came at Under-19 level when in 1999 he represented Pakistan in the ICC Junior World Cup in Sri Lanka.

He followed the selection up by scoring four tons and 744 runs in the following domestic season, a performance which helped Lahore win the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan's premier first-class tournament.

The Farhat brothers both made their Test debuts in a series in New Zealand in 2001.

Imran Farhat
Tests: 10
Runs: 623; Ave: 34.6
100s: 2; 50s: 2
ODIs: 14
Runs: 485; Ave: 34.6
100s: 1; 50s: 3

But it is the younger brother who has made greater strides in recent times, with Hamayun's appearance in the third Test his only to date.

"Playing for Pakistan is a great achievement and it was more memorable for me as I opened the innings with my idol Saeed Anwar in some matches," Farhat says.

"Humayun made his debut in the third Test at Hamilton but has since lost his way and I hope he too gets a place in the team because its very nice to play with your brother in the same team."

Farhat played in all three Tests of the drawn series, but performed moderately and played only one more Test in the following 31 months.

"It wasn't a disappointment for not getting more chances after that first tour, in fact my father and father-in-law told me to perform so well that I become indispensible for the team."

Farhat duly piled on runs at domestic level as Pakistan tried as many as 12 batsmen to partner opener Taufeeq Umar.

Another chance came for Farhat against South Africa last October and in the first-Test victory he shared in two century stands in Lahore.

He came of age in the second Test, hitting his maiden hundred and combining with Taufeeq for a record three successive century opening stands.

Along with Yasir Hameed, Farhat created another world record - four successive century stands in four one-day games in the same season.

"I know there are a number of openers waiting for their chance and only through performance can I keep my place," he reasons.

Now, with a second Test century in the bag and his chequered past behind him, the opening batsman looks every bit the future of Pakistani cricket.


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