If you pose the question of Fawad Alam’s non-selection to anyone in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), you are surely going to receive a wavering answer and the left-handed batsman thinks the reasons behind his continuous snub are obious.
The 31-year-old, who has the highest average in Pakistan’s first-class history, says everyone is picked on their domestic performance while he is ignored time and again.
“There are a lot of reasons. I cannot enlist them on screen but favouritism is there,” Fawad said in a PTV Sports show Red Zone. “People think it is a rumour but it is a reality. Newcomers are inducted into the national team and are said to be the performers in the domestic circuit, but then where is Fawad Alam scoring all those runs? Is he performing in Bangladesh’s domestic cricket? He is not selected on his domestic performance while everyone else is picked based on the same criteria.”
When asked what is he doing about it? He said: “I don’t understand this [why I am not being picked]. However, I, at times think, that I am not destined to play for Pakistan. But I am fighting and trying my best to do whatever I can, and I believe good things come to those who wait.”
And how does he keep himself motivated? “I’m not the only one who has faced all this. This gives me hope and I have made a commitment to myself to not give up. When you are playing a lot of people will try to bring you down and only a few will help you lift yourself up. So I try to stay with people who encourage me.”
Fawad scored 168 on his debut Test against Sri Lanka back in 2009 when Younus Khan was leading the side. He was then played in only two more Tests before being dropped and never getting a chance again.
“The turning point was when I sent back after the first Test against New Zealand,” he explained. “I was given no reason for it; I was just told to pack my bags and leave for Pakistan. There are a lot of things that happened. I don’t want to name anyone because it won’t be good for them I guess. I know everything and I’ve heard people talk about everything. I know the real reasons why I was sent back, why I was and am still made a target, because of whom I am targeted; everyone knows these realities.”
Inability to hit big
The biggest critics of Fawad argue that his inability to clear the boundary might prove to be risky for Pakistan. However, the left-handed batsman believes this line of reasoning to be absurd.
“I can’t say anything about that, it’s their opinion,” he said. “But I think runs are not scored only with sixes and fours, they are scored mainly with singles and doubles. You need to know how to improvise. And when the time comes to go big, I am not going to blow my own trumpet, but everyone knows what I have done. I don’t need to tell anyone anything. I know my ability. You cannot stop people from speaking about you. People bring up excuses to not include me. They need to say something.”
Fawad was selected by Karachi Kings as a reserve player during the first edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and believes people who complained that players were unable to rotate the strike should have picked him instead.
“I wasn’t hopeless [before the draft] but I did feel sad when I wasn’t picked in the first team for Karachi Kings,” said Fawad. “However, when everyone said that players need to learn to rotate strike and take singles and doubles to achieve a 130-run target, I used to laugh that you don’t want a player who can do that in the team and then you are complaining about those things.”
‘Give time to Sarfraz’
Pakistan’s limited-overs sides are being captained by Sarfraz Ahmed — with the PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan hinting at him being given the Test leadership role too — and Fawad thinks he should be given time to deliver results for the team.
“You need to give him time before evaluating him,” he said. “It is not easy to captain the Pakistan side because a lot of things are happening at simultaneously. It is a learning process. He won both [ODI and T20I] series against the West Indies and I hope that he continues to prosper.”