Fawad Alam had to wait 10 years 259 days for his fourth Test appearance despite amassing a brilliant 168 against Sri Lanka on debut. During this period, he averaged in excess of 50 in seven editions of the domestic Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and bolstered his status as the highest averaging Pakistan batsman in first-class cricket.
However, the dazzling numbers sustained by Fawad over a lengthy period of time were not deemed impressive enough to convince various selection committees about his caliber.
The 35-year-old's uneasy technique and shuffled stance made selectors and former players unsure regarding the probability of his chances of succeeding against international sides. In reply, Fawad patiently kept plodding along until the men in power had no choice but to induct him into the team.
A couple of meek outings in the tour of England were followed by a century in Mount Maunganui that almost salvaged an epic draw for Pakistan. Two Tests later, Fawad celebrated a wonderful hundred at home in Karachi against South Africa after his team was left reeling at 27/4.
Asked about the uncompensated decade he spent in the wilderness, Fawad said he had accepted his fate and did not dwell on past regrets.
"I have never blamed anyone, I have always maintained that it was not in my fate. If it was in my destiny, then nothing could have stopped me from achieving it," he told reporters after his stellar performance on Wednesday.
"We can't judge what we have lost, what we have attained, Allah knows better. Cricket is our bread and butter and as they say, there may be a delay but not denial in Allah's home. I don't think about these 10 years being wasted. I can't say all the runs and records I made during this period in domestic cricket went in vain as I got enough respect due to these heroics. Maybe I can be more successful than what I aspired in whatever time I've left in cricket."
Fawad's humble attitude and mature disposition was further reflected by his gratitude to the current team management, whom he thanked for their support following a duck on his Test return in Southampton in August 2020.
"I had done poorly in England across two innings and I was expecting to be dropped but the management encouraged me and knew the potential in me," he revealed.
"They gave me a chance in New Zealand and this support gives you the confidence to go out in the middle and score. When you don't feel insecure about your spot in the team, you are more self-assured at the crease.
"Misbah has shown faith in me and backed me and these are the small positive things from the management that help you focus on your game properly."
Fawad superbly steered Pakistan past South Africa's first-innings total of 220 by stitching significant partnerships with Azhar Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and Faheem Ashraf.
His dogged effort ensured Pakistan are placed in a position where they can secure a three-digit lead. To be able to come in with his team in trouble and prevail in tough conditions, Fawad said he was glad to contribute in such circumstances.
"I feel extremely satisfied. It is a surreal experience to score a century for Pakistan and perform in a situation when your team needs you. This was the first Test at my home ground in Karachi so I just prayed to God for success and I couldn't have asked for more."