We live in a world where nothing is fair. There are no fair elections or selections or trials or decisions or choices yet somehow we are coping with life, one day at a time. The show must go on; so what if Donald Trump is running havoc over the world or Mark Zuckerberg is taking over our lives or Twitter is hell-bent on introducing the 280 character limit or other teams have all-rounders like Moeen Ali and Hardik Pandya while we are stuck with Imad Wasim. This is how the world works, rant and make all the noise you want but unfortunately you’ll have to accept the bitter fact that things can’t always be the way you want them to be.
The first test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the two match series is in progress. It is for the first time in many years two stalwarts of Pakistan’s test team didn’t take the field; Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan hung their boots in May leaving a void in the team. This void won’t be filled overnight, and it will be a while before the team and the fans get used to this post MisYou era.
Misbah ul Haq & Younis Khan hung their boots in May leaving a void in the team.
Post Misbah and Younis’ retirement there was a lot of speculation regarding who could replace them -who would fit it in the role of building an innings and manage to stay at the crease for long hours? Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq were expected to take on more responsibility while new talent is inducted in the team.
When the test squad for the ongoing Sri Lanka tour was announced many of us were expecting the inclusion of one player who has been waiting in the ranks for so long, doing all the right things, making lots of runs in the domestic tournaments, having no disciplinary issues whatsoever, and above all, being one of the fittest players in the country. Fawad Alam deserves a chance in the team yet has constantly been ignored by the selectors.
Instead, Haris Sohail made his test debut in this ongoing match. His inclusion in the squad is baffling. Not that he is some talentless ‘parchi’ but because he hasn’t played a single first-class match in three years. He has an impressive average of 52.01 in first class cricket and can contribute with the ball as well. But so can Fawad Alam, who has been knocking on selectors’ door for much longer.
Harris Sohail hasn’t played a single first class match in three years
Let me recap some of Fawad Alam’s performances over the years. Fawad only got the opportunity to play three test matches since his debut in 2009, averaging 41.67. He became the tenth Pakistani batsman to score a century on test debut; after getting out cheaply in the first innings he hit back with a brilliant 168 in the second innings and provided Pakistan with a chance to fight back against Sri Lanka. In the end his heroic batting effort wasn’t enough to save the match but it did earn him a joint man of the match award. For someone who has a rather ‘unconventional’ batting stance, and was tried as an opener, this wasn’t a bad start to his test career by any stretch of the imagination.
Fawad Alam averages 56.60 in first-class cricket, and no other player in the history of Pakistan’s first-class cricket averages more
He was recalled to the ODI team in 2014 after a gap of four years. Fawad played a vital knock of 74 before getting run-out in a crucial run chase against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup. In the final of the same tournament against Sri Lanka: he scored his maiden ODI century but just like his test century it was in a losing cause. He ended the year with a total of 345 runs at an average of 69 and a strike rate of 77.35. Somehow this performance did not earn him a place in the World Cup squad in 2015. He did however play three ODIs after the World Cup but failed to shine. This failure meant he wasn’t seen in the ODI squad again. Fawad is not a power-hitter and has limitations as a batsman yet he continues to score runs in the domestic circuit on a consistent basis. In the end it’s the runs that matter and not the technique that helped him accumulate those runs.
Fawad Alam is currently captaining the Sui Southern Gas team in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (QeA), Pakistan’s premier first class tournament. He averages 56.60 in first-class cricket, and no other player in the history of Pakistan’s first-class cricket averages more. And it’s not like this average is some miracle, Fawad has been performing like this season after season only to be ignored by those who matter.
“He averages 56.60 in first-class cricket, and no other player in the history of Pakistan’s first-class cricket averages more.”
In the opening match of this season’s QeA he scored 23 and a quick-fire 50 (a 43 ball fifty is the type of innings which might make his selection case stronger). Not just first-class cricket, his record in limited overs (List A) has improved massively. He averages 48.32 at a strike-rate of 82.93. Earlier this year in the country’s premier ODI tournament named ‘Pakistan Cup’, Fawad hit 162 runs in two innings (scores of 130 and 32 respectively) at a strike-rate of 98.78.
Fawad Alam became the tenth Pakistani batsman to score a century on test debut
The selectors need to bring some sort of uniformity in their selection process - the rules can’t vary from player to player. If they are willing to accommodate Salman Butt on the basis of his recent performances, then what is their justification to ignore Fawad Alam? Alas, we live in a world where nothing is fair nor it ever will be.