How else must Fawad Alam prove his worth, PCB?

Published: December 2, 2014
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Fawad Alam, after scoring an unbeaten 114 against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2014. PHOTO: AFP

Fawad Alam has been left out from the ODI squad, again. And right before the World Cup, again. The last time when he was dropped, in November 2010, his batting average was just below 40; currently his career average is more than 45 runs per inning with a decent strike run rate of 75.04 – despite batting under immense pressure most of the time.

Leaving him out of the national team is something I just can’t understand. Not only has he performed above average, he has also given Pakistan some much needed wins over the past year.

He is the second highest ODI run-getter for Pakistan, with an impressive average of 69.00 and smart strike rate of 77.35. And let’s not forget that most of his innings take place at a time when the team needs substantial runs. Opener Ahmed Shahzad is the only man ahead of Alam – and that too with an average of 39.45 and strike rate of 74.82 in 11 innings. But while Shahzad has been selected for both 50 and 20 over formats, Alam has been benched for no apparent reason.

Alam is the same man who scored a magnificent century against Sri Lanka this year in the Asia Cup final and gave the other side a respectable total to defend. The batting performance of the top order was tragic in that match and Alam was the one who rescued the game. Earlier, he contributed key 74 runs against Bangladesh in the same tournament, despite the fact that it was his first ODI after almost four years.

Pakistan’s Fawad Alam (L) is run out by Bangladesh’s Al-Amin Hossain during their one-day international (ODI) cricket match in Asia Cup 2014 in Dhaka. Photo: Reuters

His bat continued to score in the three-match away series against Sri Lanka, August this year. Pakistan won the first game after a 147-run partnership between Alam and Sohaib Maqsood. Alam departed at 62 runs after putting Pakistan on a commanding position. He scored 30 runs in the second match and, in the final ODI, he topped the score card by scoring 38 runs not out. Pakistan could only set the target of 103 runs for the hosts in that match, so his contribution was much needed, to say the least.

After scoring 188 runs in only two innings of 2014 Asia Cup, Alam became the top scorer for Pakistan in the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka with 130 runs.

Chairperson PCB, Shaharyar Khan, called him a real fighter and urged other players to follow his example. During the time period, he also emerged as a leading candidate for T20 captaincy. Osman Samiuddin, former editor of Cricinfo Pakistan, also highlighted Alam’s strength and abilities in one of his articles.

But all of a sudden, with no clear reason, he has been dropped from the ODI squad.

Yes, he was somewhat unsuccessful against Australia during the ODI series but it was only the first match where he didn’t perform well and left the wickets with just seven runs. In the second match, he scored 20 runs (not out) and in the last ODI, he was controversially given an out when Steven Smith changed his position to take the catch. ICC had to issue a statement on the situation.

But in spite of his less impressive performance, he scored more runs in the series than Misbahul Haq and Shahid Afridi, while Umar Akmal managed to score only 55 runs in two matches of the same series. Prior to this, Akmal scored only 23 runs in three innings against Sri Lanka, with the worst average of 7.66 runs. While Akmal did play an inning of 102 runs (not out) against Afghanistan, his performance hasn’t been impressive against other teams. In his last eight innings, he could score only a total sum of 151 runs against teams like India, Sri Lanka and Australia, with a poor average of 21.57.

Yet, we see his name on the squad for both formats, despite his continuous failures – thanks to the selection committee.

The chart below displays Pakistan’s batting line performance in 2014. Alam tops the score card with the best average and smart strike rate.

Runs by Pakistani batsmen in ODIs 2014.

Many criticise that Fawad often plays at a relatively slow pace; they ignore the fact that he plans his innings according to the situation. But even if we keep that critique in mind, we can see that Alam has still proved his worth. Comparing his record with Mohammad Hafeez, Younus Khan and Misbah, we can see Alam’s match winning abilities quite clearly. The following chart reiterates this.

Averages and strike rates of some Pakistani batsmen.

In the new squad, Nasir Jamshed has replaced Alam in ODIs. But on what grounds?

Just review the on-going Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Gold League. Alam, representing NBP, has scored 521 runs in eight innings, including a double century with the average of 74.42. On the other hand, Jamshed, also playing for NBP, could only score 124 runs in seven innings with a poor average of 17.71. Yet, Jamshed is selected and Alam is dropped – doesn’t that show the unfair treatment Alam is subjected to by the PCB?

The ODI series against New Zealand is important, as the World Cup is not too far. The mega event is being held in Australia and these matches are a practise for Pakistani players, to become acquainted with the pitches.

Now, just compare the performance of Alam with the rest on the bouncy Australian pitches. Misbah’s Test inning record is presented below – as he has never played ODIs in Australia.

Innings played in Australia.

This clearly indicates that Alam’s batting average is better than Misbah, Younus, Hafeez and Jamshed. Even Alam’s strike rate is better than Misbah and Hafeez, is equal to Younus and is fractionally lower than Jamshed’s.

It may also be mentioned that Alam is the only batsman in Pakistan’s domestic-cricket history, who has scored more than 8000 runs with an average of 56.73. Even greats like Javed MiandadHanif MohammadZaheer Abbas and Inzamamul Haq couldn’t achieve this milestone.

First class averages of different players.

Statistics show that even Alam’s first class batting average is better than most of the greats.

He has proved his credentials internationally as well. Having 40 plus average in both Tests and ODIs is not an easy task.

Alam is the second highest run-getter for Pakistan in 2014 despite playing fewer matches than others, his average and strike rate is still better than many included in the side, chairperson PCB called him a fighter, he performed equally well in first class cricket… but he is still not on the squad. Amazing!

Many argue that he is a better option for Tests. If this is the case, then why have the selectors ignored him for Test format over the past so many years? Despite Fawad’s consistent run scoring ability, selectors deliberately left him out from the Test series against Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand – without any reason. The man who scored 168 runs on his debut has only played three tests so far!

Why he couldn’t play a single test after November, 2009, despite having a healthy average of around 42 runs per inning in tests, is something our selectors need to answer.

Why, and on what grounds, have our selectors wasted five precious years of such a talented player, who has shown his merit in all formats?

Fawad Alam raises his bat after reaching 150 in a Test match against Sri Lanka, July 2009. Photo: AFP

I would also like to quote the comments of a Sri Lankan and a New Zealand cricketing fan. They commented on Cricinfo.com after reading the news of Fawad’s exclusion.

“I am a Sri Lankan. Sorry for Fawad Alam. If he doesn’t deserve a place in top six, then no one else deserves a place. He was the anchor. He starts slowly, but can accelerate later. A very good batsman. I think Pakistani selectors are out of (their) mind. Only around 90 days left for the World Cup. And they are messing with players.”

“As a New Zealand fan, I was looking forward to watching Fawad Alam bat against us. Very disappointed he has been left out. There must be something else to it. If you just straight up look at his stats, asides from the top international players, there is almost nobody in the world who has comparable averages. (sic) Just can’t understand the sense in such a player being left out, especially when he has performed when given his opportunity. Gosh!”

Everyone who knows anything about cricket would agree that letting Alam sit this one out is a grotesque mistake.

Selectors may still give him a chance in the last three ODIs against New Zealand but would they like to tell the cricketing world why they have axed him for the first two ODIs, despite his outstanding performance?

And why, exactly, did they prefer having Jamshed and Akmal in his place?

What more does Alam need to do in order to cement his place on national squad? The PCB needs to stop treating such a good player in such a horrendous way, otherwise we’ll start pushing talented people away, until we are left with nothing but the mediocre.

Asad Ahmed

Asad Ahmed

A journalist by profession who works for a local television channel, likes to write on sports as well as social and political issues. He tweets as @AsadAhmed81 (twitter.com/AsadAhmed81)

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

  • Haris (Canada)

    Karachi
    Vs Rest of Pakistan….. or better Urdu Speaking Vs PCB (Punjabi Cricket Board)….
    Discrimination at its max. Poor lad, people of Karachi should protest against his
    exclusion from the ODI and T20 side.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Don’t worry he will be brought back in 2018 and then dropped again only to be brought back again in 2022. this will continue until he dies and then in the year 5000 PCB will reanimate his corpse so that he can play 4 more matches and he will then be promptly laid to rest.Recommend

  • salman

    Moin Khan as the chief selector should be sacked from making such a decisionRecommend

  • Suleyman Shah

    Totally agree, don’t even think we need to try and justify his selection anymore, it’s plain favouritism and corruption on behalf of the PCB. It’s discriminatory to ignore someone with such great records and I think that there’s something a little deeper than this than what it look’s like. Not happy at all. Recommend

  • Ahmed Khan

    Completely agree with your article. A match winner. Not selecting him shows the incompetency of selectors, who one expects to have a better understanding of the talent. It is very disheartening for aspiring cricketers to see Fawad’s talent wasted.Recommend

  • Saleem

    I hope selectors are looking at these numbers.Recommend

  • akbar

    He needs a sifarishi, to keep it fair and simple. The fact that certain players are declared fittest with cash rewards, given chances time and again despite averaging low 20s or less with bat, get to the A sides after totally shaming in international circuit, tells you what it is. The cases of Fawad and Sadaf Hussain are extreme cases in injustice, and its really shameful and deplorable from PCBRecommend

  • akbar

    Thanks for speaking up, such a piece on Fawad Alam was reallydue. Also hope a similar analysis is done on Sadaf Hussain of Abottabad as well, the Fawad Alam of fast bowling perhaps.Recommend

  • Palash Motaid

    I can clearly see a West and East Pakistan scenario in Alams affairs but the question is who are loser here? Ultimately Pakistan. This is another crude example why Pakistanis perform very well individually but fail collectively as a nation.Sorry no intention to hurt Pakistanis!Recommend

  • Ali Tahir

    By changing his domicile to Punjab or KPKRecommend

  • Talha

    He is not the “mamu kay taya kay phoopo ka beta” dont you get it! The cricket team is as doomed as Pakistan brother! A word of advice save your energy and time for something useful rather than a good for nothing cricket team. Peace!Recommend

  • Omair

    The treatment of Fawad Alam is just shocking and shows the corrupt working of PCB…he deserves a place in both ODI and Test squads. He is the best batsman Pakistan has produced in a while and still doesnt get a place.Recommend

  • Muhammad Waqar

    I think he need to change his domicile…………..Recommend

  • Umair

    Excellent post!!!Recommend

  • نائلہ

    My whole family is urdu speaking and we are from punjab :/Recommend

  • Farzan

    Completely agree to your article!
    The selectors are wasting brilliant talent like Fawad Alam! :/Recommend

  • Alidaas

    Dear writer, your article is completely on the wrong side. Alam is not dropped for Nasir, rather he is not selected as Younus, Haris Sohail and Asad Shafiq are all selected. So don’t target Nasir JamshedRecommend

  • Abdulqadir

    PCB is sick. He is a great talent. I really don’t understand why he is not playing against NZ. I HOPE THAT NZ WINS THE ODI SERIES. So Fawad could come back in the team. You forgot to mention Asad Shafique’s performances. Hopefully Fawad will come back and with a bang before world cup. Recommend

  • Talha

    Nasir has put no good numbers in domestic while on the other hand this poor fellow is at his best with and average over 50Recommend

  • ZUBAIR

    On observing this violation of merit; we’ll be really happy if Pakistan team faces worse defeatRecommend

  • Asjad

    This is why Karachi votes for Altaf bhai:)Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    I just couldn’t believe it.Recommend

  • Kamran Usman

    It just hurts me to see Fawad being dropped like this! Does he have to learn to speak fluent Punjabi to fit well in the side coz clearly, making runs doesn’t earn him a place at all!Recommend

  • Kamran Usman

    It’s more about connections and parchi and less to do with what city you are from I guess.Recommend

  • Shahid

    Ali, I am from Punjab and a huge fan of Fawad Alam and badly want Fawad in the team. But can you please why Moin Khan (Chairman of selection Committee), Shoaib Mohammad (member of SC) and Slaeem Yousuf (member SC) did not pick Fawad – as all three are from Karachi.Recommend

  • Amir Baig

    Shame on PCB & Selectors… they are shouting from roof top that they are following merit… This is the death of merit!Recommend

  • Shahid

    Yes, the morons at PCB should not have dropped Fawad. He is one of the best batsman in the country. But I have a question for a few people who are making this Punjab vs Karachi issue. PCB’s selection committee has at least 3 members from Karachi – including chairman and the manager (Moin Khan, Saleem Yousuf, Shoaib Mohammad). Why did they NOT pick Fawad or stood up for Fawad? Any guesses?

    @Asad. Great article brother. Please send this to Moin/Waqar/Misbah and other selection committee memebers if you can. Recommend

  • KFC

    I’m a punjabi and in favour of FA. His game was ordinary but he has improved significantly and should have been included in the squad. Typical Punjabi ghunda gardi. Elitist have destroyed this country be it Army, Politician, “Vadeera”Recommend

  • adil from khi

    Although i don’t like batting but fawad should not be out on his performance.. Bais pcb .. Misbah ul haq destroying pakistan cricketRecommend

  • Zohaib

    He showed his selfish batting in 2nd ODI against Australia where he scored 40 balls 20 in death overs. Just to remain not out he kept on giving strike to tail enders.Recommend

  • MJ

    PCB will not notice Fawad Alam if he woke them up from their deep slumber while driving a florescent green bus with Tigers riding on its rooftop and it’s horn blaring at 110 decibels. Poor guy can run circles around the Akmal brothers but does not stand a chance against them in a 1 day squad for being selected. He was born on the wrong side of the country, or in our case in the wrong city of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Nadir

    I LOLed hard at this. Recommend

  • Pakistani?

    Moin Khan as a chief-selector has been making poor decisions. It is a shame that Fawad has been left-out. His batting is a breath of fresh air, otherwise paled by the presence of at least one of the Akmal brothers whose place in the side is a must till the end of the time.

    One Akmal (who happens to be from Punjab) takes his place for granted, does not score ANY runs in the middle, does not perform in the domestic matches, yet he is ALWAYS in the side, the other poor fellow from Karachi puts out his best performances, scores the most runs, yet he is dropped time and again.

    Why is Jamshed (again from Punjab) included in the side now just before the world cup? This guy has been in very poor form and is a joke in the field (now offence but he is probably worst than Inzamam). Fawad is a very good fielder, too.

    A word on Yunis Khan, too. You have no doubt done very well throughout your entire career as a Test batsman but you were never an ODI player. Your numbers speak for yourself. You don’t really deserve a spot, you have had your time, stop being selfish and let a youngster take his due place which you are trying to occupy although you don’t really deserve to.

    There’s absolutely no merit in dropping Fawad. Maybe he does need to change his domicile to Punjab to grant an automatic selection. At least we do have Altaf bhai to speak for us.Recommend

  • Mubeen Hussain

    Why are you commenting then? :)Recommend

  • Adnan Farogh

    He is indeed a gem for Pakistan Cricket and if the players like him are ignored without any justified reasons, i am afraid the downfall of Pakistan Cricket is inevitable. I wish the sense will prevail in the selection committee and they would reconsider their decision.Recommend

  • Paki Lover

    Totally insane and unfair decision.. Pcb should be ashamed of itselfRecommend

  • kamran usman

    good point Shahid.. I think we should not make it a race issue.. its just that Fawad alam doesn’t have a strong backing and chamcha-geeri attitude which has cost him his place :( Most of our friends from Punjab are equally perplexed by this decision.Recommend

  • loyalindian

    Rameez Raja? You changed your name?Recommend

  • Ali Tahir

    I myself am from Punjab :). However it is a fact that PCB is kind to players from Punjab and KPK.Recommend

  • Saleem

    Just want to let selectors know that I have studied these number, no more fooling me :)Recommend

  • Umair

    Shahid Afridi, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Asad Shafiq, Anwar Ali are all from Karachi 4 out of 16 member squad! plus how can you campare city karachi with a province punjab? Obviously a province has more population n more talent!! Fawad is dropped unfairly but it is due to inclusion of younis khan instead of being from KarachiRecommend

  • sajid imran khan

    He must give some money to elder masters.lolz
    It is dissapointed moment when u give height of success to your team and get rejectedRecommend

  • Noman Ansari
  • WaWaMoinKhan

    Once Moin Khan is out of PCB, he will then turn around and say, Favoritism! But now that he is responsible for the Team Selection, he is doing exactly what he used to accuse the other selectors of doing! In the meanwhile, could we, the people of this country, request the Chairman of the PCB to please explain why this is being allowed to happen?

    How did Sohail Tanvir make it to the team? I was under the impression that because he did not participate in the domestic circuit, he was out of the selection.

    Shahid Afridi is not required any more because we now have a younger person who can take over from him.
    Kamran Akmal — you do not want him in your team — only because his experience is of no use/help so might as well give another player the opportunity to gain the experience.
    May be, the selectors think that experience is important, so let me remind them — do you remember what Kamran Akram did the last time he was with the team in Australia? Do you remember the missed opportunities that was Kamran Akram?Recommend

  • Ghalib Imtiyaz

    130 runs in 3 ODIs is not good enough and his strike rate is really poor for Pakistan to be competitive. He is too mediocre a player who doesnt take any risk and in ODIs you must be able to bat as aggressively as NZ’s captain else there is no point in carrying such burden in your team.Recommend

  • pappoe

    Same thing happened to asim kamal as he belonged to karachi.Recommend

  • shazoom1

    Unfortunately Fawad Alam have issue with 145K plus bowlers reason behind he is not in playing eleven. But i still think he sld be in for #YounusKhan he is ageing will have problems agst raw pace. He was never good in ODIs even in his youth. 32 average!Recommend

  • Shahrukh

    All brothers are humbly requested who have written similar kind of articles. We are one nation and belongs to same country. Any wrong decision related to selection would affect Pakistan cricket team not the Karachi cricket team or Punjab cricket team. Like most of the fellows in this forum I am totally shocked and not able to understand what is the reason behind Fawad Alam’s exclusion despite his extraordinary performances especially in 2014. If this is the case why Asad shafique being given so much chances despite his frequent sub-standard performances in ODI. He is a main top order batsman and his career average in ODI is only around 26 with not an impressive strike rate of about 68%. Unlike Fawad Alam he is also not a match winning batsman. Also why Abdul Razzaq, Muhammad Yousuf and Inzi were removed from the Pakistani team despite that they have far better class in ODI format compared to Younus khan, Umer Akmel and Asad shafique.Recommend

  • Asad S

    Wasn’t selected for the final 3 ODIs against NZ either. I actually can’t believe it. It’s just unbelievable, seriously. I am dying to ask Moin Khan why he didn’t pick him. Why? Especially after Younis, Asad Shafiq didn’t perform and Misbah got injured, why couldn’t he be called for the last 3 ODIs? It’s such a straightforward decision, I’m really curious to know what the selectors were thinking when they decided he’s not good enough for our oh-so-stellar batting lineup.Recommend

  • T awan

    There is no issue of Punjab, Sindh, Karachi, Quetta or Balochistan. Only Money speaks here in all over Pakistan, I was watching TV when an anchor said give me 2 lacs I will give you chance in 7 Games. Fawad Is one of the best in the history of Pakistan And its not me its His stats. As for as Karachi goes there are like 4 player from Karachi in the current team. and Selection committee has 3 members including Chairman from Karachi so in the end go nawaz go because he brought us Najam sethi and upon his shoulders sitting is shehryar Khan….Recommend

  • T awan

    I think All over Pakistan it doesent matter what your domicile is only thing that matter is money with strong backRecommend

  • Kamran Usman

    That is a terrible reason to vote for someone like Altaf. BTW I am from Karachi too and I never even dreamed of voting for that criminal. Everyone knows that majority of Karachi doesn’t really vote for Altaf or MQM but that MQM steals their votes at gun point. The rest are just brainwashed to a point that they cannot distinguish right from wrong and blindly worship Altaf. My University friend who is supposedly an educated person proudly boasted of the fact that he alone put 37 votes on his ID for MQM in his area.

    I support the principle of equal rights for all irrespective of ethnicity / mother tongue and in the past Urdu speaking people have been target of such bias but that does not mean one should support people like Altaf.Recommend

  • Abdullah

    It’s too late now! This is the gravest mistake the PCB has made. They all must be regretting it now, since we’re the worst batting side in the World Cup Recommend

  • Hasan Asif

    He was joking yaar :)Recommend