Overlooked and underutilised: Fawad Alam deserves a comeback

Published: July 6, 2013
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Since playing his last match in 2009, Fawad Alam has been at the receiving end of harsh treatment by the selectors. One wonders why. PHOTO: AFP.

Pakistan cricket is unfair business. In the heartless yet beautiful world of Pakistan cricket, certain players like Imran Farhat make comebacks after comebacks. On the other hand, a forgotten and unappreciated Karachi born cricketer waits patiently in the dark.

He is a man of few words. He wants his performances to do the talking. Patiently knocking on closed doors for the past four years, is Fawad Alam.

Since playing his last match in 2009, Fawad Alam has been at the receiving end of harsh treatment by the selectors. One wonders what the guy has done wrong.

Fawad’s record to date is impeccable. He has a batting average of almost 38 in 27 ODI’s and 42 in the three Tests that he has played in – figures that are second only to Misbahul Haq and Nasir Jamshed.  Not just that, he has a brilliant record in first class cricket. He has a whopping batting average of 56 with 19 centuries and 38 fifties, better than any other batsman in the Pakistan team right now. In his List A career, he has an average of 44. Apparently this record is not good enough to get into our stellar and super consistent batting line-up.

Fawad is a handy slow left-arm orthodox bowler as well. He is a good part time bowler to have on the team. As his performances in the national team are not enough to make a case, let’s take a look at his domestic record. In his ‘List A’ career, he has 51 wickets from 101 matches with an economy rate of five. Not bad at all for a part timer, right?

The 27-year-old is also an excellent fielder. He regularly fielded at ‘point’ for Pakistan when he played, a position that a captain often entrusts upon his best fielder. His catch in the Bangladesh Premier League at the cover boundary will remain sound in any cricket lover’s memory; so will his sharp and sneaky work to run out Shane Watson at the MCG. His fitness has never been a problem.

All his credentials aside, it is a common perception that Fawad Alam has been given a fair amount of chances. However, I believe, no one knew how to utilise him. In his short career, Alam played under four different captains, and it seemed as if each of them had a different plan for him. He batted in every position from number five to number nine in the ODI’s. It is a similar story in the T20’s. Shockingly, in the 24 T20 Internationals that he has played, he has managed an average of 17.64 and bowled at an average of 11.88! Fair amount of chances? I doubt it.

His critics point out, and rightly so, his lack of match-winning ability. Yes, Fawad Alam is no Shahid Afridi. He cannot hit the ball as hard and long as the pinch hitters of today. However, this brings me back to my point of utilising him well. Each position in the line-up has a role and Alam should be played at a role that suits him best. He is a steady timer of the ball, who can knock the ball around for singles. If Asad Shafiq does not perform well, instead of reverting to Shoaib Malik, Fawad Alam should be brought in and given that chance to perform.

When the time calls for it, Fawad Alam has played important knocks for Pakistan. His best T20 performance came against Sri Lanka where he dispatched the Sri Lankan bowlers for 23 off just eight balls. Interestingly in that match, this cricketer batted at number nine.

Alam is a very solid utility cricketer. If the selectors can give tried and tested players with half as many good performances as Fawad chances to redeem themselves, surely he deserves another chance too. If used wisely, who knows, maybe the athletic Karachiite can make his mark in the international arena as well.

Read more by Zain Abid here.

zain.abid

Zain Abid

An alumnus of The City School. Currently studying at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com The Only Normal Person Here.

    He is from Karachi, therefore, PCB doesnt give a hoot.Recommend

  • waqar

    @ Author:
    You have answered your question in first paragraph…..
    Samjh tu gaye hon gye aap…..Recommend

  • Unaccepted son of soil aka Karachi Wala

    You have said it all in first paragraph why Fawad will not get any chance for come back…..Recommend

  • SNJ

    One hundred and twenty second chance actually! Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    It was a well publicized fight for Fawad Alam between Afridi (the captain at the time) and Imran Farhat’s uncle, a chief selector. This guy has a personal vendetta against Fawad. It was printed in all the papers.

    As you said, his record speaks for itself. He scored a huge century against Siri Lanka and was then dropped.

    WHY? Recommend

  • http://isharearena.com M.Aswad Mehtab

    Great Batsman ? he is a below average player .. Good fielder that’s it . How he lifts his bat is a Miracle , forget about hitting Sixes and boundaries ..Recommend

  • Tahir

    I don’t think Fawad is really a talented player. He is average at best. I understand that many players in the current side are average as well. But there is no point adding another mediocre player. I am from Karachi so I am not biased but I don’t really see anything great with him.Recommend

  • Abrar R

    No more room for utility players .. enough of utilities .. players must come clear now .. are they gonna score runs or pick wickets .. Mr Alam has never impressed with his bowling, his batting is Test number 4 at best but with Azhar Ali in the line up, he doesnt make it their either.Recommend

  • Zain Abid

    He can’t hit it long. And he probably does not get the nod ahead of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq. But as I said, he should be used as a replacement for these talented youngsters instead of somebody like Shoaib Malik. He may be a very good option for tests. Lets mnot forget his brilliant 168 against Sri LankaRecommend

  • Imran

    If one “Parchi” is out of squad then let it be so. No need of such batsman who can’t even hit the ball out of circle.Recommend

  • Zaki Ur Rehman

    OK!! So he can’t hit long shots and that is supposed to be a problem!! I think this thinking disappointingly, reflects a pure Pakistani view of approaching cricket. I have seen this guy play and its true that he does’nt score enough boundaries but he generates singles regularly. He is a quiet player but also a very productive one. He has the best Class A figures in Pakistan Cricket history. Not every other player can be a Shahid Afridi. Infact that’s where the problem with our cricket lies. Every batsman thinks about fours and sixes. They need to understand especially Afridi that you can’t hit a four or a six from every other ball. Fawad Alam can be very handy in fixing the weak middle order in our batting line up. He scores and he scores with a healthy average, not conceding too many dot balls in the process. Fine batsman, brilliant fielder and a part time bowler. What more do you want!!!Recommend

  • The Rebel

    Only a proper cricket fan with brains would realize what’s written in this blog and why Fawad should be in the team. Sadly, the majority of people still prefer to idolise their golden poster boy Afridi. With mentality like this, no wonder our cricket is going down the drain.Recommend

  • Asad

    It’s a myth that Fawad Alam can not hit the ball of the park. For one thing batting is not at all about hitting sixes and fours only and Pakistan needs someone who can rotate the strike by taking singles and twos. Look at the batsmen, other than Misbah no one is good enough to keep the score board moving by playing risk-free shots. This was the hallmark of greats like Miandad, Inzi and M.Yousuf and the low-risk and consistency is what is missing and is exactly what Fawad can bring to the team.

    Unfortunately every time he is in the team there is a hue and cry that he is either not good enough or can not his boundaries, in reality his detractors are only saying that he is from Karachi therefore keep him out.Recommend

  • excalibur

    Jinnah got us Pakistan to save us from the tyranny of the majority Hindus

    Who will take us out from the tyranny of the majority who had nothing to do with helping Jinnah create Pakistan. All they did was to alieniate the Bengalis and force them to separate.

    Sad history of Pakistan across all segments and sectors of societyRecommend

  • Tahir Naseem

    Watched Fawad very closely and never been impressed with him even a single time. Honestly, he should stop thinking about cricket. He got chances many time but had failed to prove himself. If PCB start give chances to to the ones who already got chances then what about the ones who are in the queue for so long time, who are hitter liker Afridi and steady like Misbah. Recommend

  • roomi

    PCB has been unfair. But then again PCB is unfair to everyone from greats like Yousaf and Younis to abdul Razzak. Its not a Karachi Lahore thing.- more the sifarish culture and favouritism that is rampant in the country generally. Infact its Younis Khan as a captain who trusted Fawad with opening in Sri Lanka and he responded with 160 in the Test match.Yunis also introduced Mohamaed Aamir. Yunis won the 20-20 World cup and look how he was treated by PCB afterwards. Its the officials who ruin careers. Fawad is not a flashy player but is talented and consistent one and needs to considered for selection.Recommend

  • Saad Ullah

    The main issue with fawad alam is that he is given more chances in T20’s thn ODIs and tests. He cannot hit the ball hard, and so is not a suitable player for T20.

    However his min strength lies in his quick singles and doubles, and rotating the strike. Thats what our most of the batsmn lack, and proved in the champions trophey where the lack of singles and doubles led to a disasterous performance in easy matches and targets.

    Thus he should be made a regular ODI player atleast, and im sure he will prove himself. he is not suitable for T20 thoughRecommend

  • Unaccepted son of soil aka Karachi Wala

    For all those who is saying that Fawad Alam has many chances did you read the stats of him…..3 test where as son in law played 40 tests you call this many….. 27 odis where as son in law palyed in 58…..its a no breainer…..Recommend

  • http://www.outlookpakistan.com Muhammad Awais

    Fawad is young but our PCB is actually Punjab Cricket Board and as selectors run their own commands so i don’t think so that there will be a chance available for him just because of some negative thinkers.Recommend

  • Khan sahib

    Excellent article. Fawad deserves his chance more than the likes of Malik, Farhat, and Kamran Akmal.Recommend

  • MFU

    the problem is that he has never been utilised properly.
    i agree that he can not hit the ball out of the park but this is not needed in tests and odis.

    he is a test batsman. what do u expect a test batsman to do in T20s? he should be given chances at tests and odis!Recommend

  • Aimen

    Thank you for the article!Hope PCB brings Fawad Alam back into the ODI and Test team insha Allah!Recommend

  • sarim ali

    I am big fan of fawad.I fall every match he plays and he performs moat of the time

    He surely deserves another goRecommend

  • javid

    I support Fawad Alam coz he iz a brilliant fielder and good player for limited over game. If given a chance i hope he will prove his abilities. I think he is the fittest player in whole pakistan. His domestic cricket record shows that he deserves a chance.Recommend