Calls For Unity And Training Facilities
Imran Awan is almost a household name in US cricket circles, having represented the USA on several occasions. Here he opens up about what’s needed to improve cricket in the USA and his love of his mom and wife’s cooking.

Imran Awan collects the best bowler award at an ICC tournament.

Tell us about yourself
I was born in Sialkot, Pakistan but I now live in Dulles, VA. I started my cricket with FG High School at the Inter-board level.  I played for Pioneers Cricket Club in Sialkot, Pakistan, along with Ijaz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik for a year before moving to the USA. Embassy of Pakistan cricket team in the WCL – Mobil/SKM/Washington Tigers, USA National Team, Atlantic Region, and the USA All-Stars vs. West Indies in New York.

What is the craziest thing you have done while playing cricket?
Craziest  thing?  Played cricket on the frozen Potomac River in DC.

Tell us about your training routines?
Gym/running/swimming and playing cricket everywhere I can.

Who is the toughest player you know?
The toughest player has to be the one who is mentally/physically strong to take any challenge.

What’s your favorite wicket celebrating routine?
It’s all depends on the situation of the game. Sometimes I amaze myself thinking about it after. I like celebrating for sure.

Give us your view on the state of USA Cricket, and how to improve the game?
First I will say that both parties need to get together and solve the issues for the sake of cricket in States. If that does not work cricket will be the only thing that will suffer, and not those individuals. We will end up getting suspended again just like last two times when we were not able to agree within the parties. The only thing that it is doing is pushing us back five years each time.

We have to get training facilities in the East and West Coasts for the players to get together and train and practice. It should include the Under-19 and Under-15 youths.

Cricket has to be a part of the schools’ curriculum for our youth and future players, and cricket leagues in the country. They should have training facilities for their members to practice, even after hours to stay fit just like those 24 hour fitness facilities around the country. We go to the gym late as well, why not for cricket?

Finally, we have to push our kids to play this sport to keep it alive.

Imran Awan appeals for LBW during the Namibia vs USA game at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on November 17, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Graham Crouch-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I’m a nice guy off the field.

If cricket has taught you one thing, what is it?
Hard work and how to be a student of this game.

Can you cook?
Only a couple of things, just because I love my mom and wife’s cooked meals.

A fierce fast bowler, Imran Awan is seen here bowling in New York during a T20 tournament in 2013. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

What’s your biggest weakness?
Not being able to stop the ball when I am batting. I like hitting the ball so much, that at times I consider it my weakness.

Who is your favorite cricket commentator?
Ramiz Raja.

Do you collect anything?
I have always collected trophies and I have them at my house back home in Pakistan, and here in the US. I used to collect postage stamps as well.

What’s the best compliment you have ever received from a fellow cricketer?
That I’m a competitor/leader/match winner.

What is the best cricket souvenir you have?
A Best Bowler trophy in Div. 1 America’s Cup for the USA team.

Where is the best place in USA to play cricket?
Weather-wise Florida, if not Washington, DC.

Who’s your all-time hero outside of cricket?
My dad. I only wish I had spent more time with him. But I pray for him every day. I love you dad.

What’s your favorite shot?
Inside out, I love hitting that to any bowler.

Would you rather take a five-wicket haul or score a fifty?
Five wicket for sure. I have made a couple of hundreds as well, but five wickets is the choice.

Which cricketers in the world would you pay to watch?
AB de Villers, Brian Lara, Younis Khan, Saeed Anwar and Virat Kohli.

Describe you in three words?
Winner, Ambiguous, Competitive.

Are you handy at any other sports?
Basketball, flag football, tennis, squash, and swimming.