Fawad, nepotism and Pakistan cricket

Published: April 16, 2018
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: The condition of sports in any country is a reflection of its society, as many would agree, and Pakistan, by far and large, presents the best case study to understand this phenomenon.

We often hear leaders and politicians claim that Pakistan, if it realises its potential, can become a real powerhouse, but the only thing which is stopping it from reaching its full potential is the denouncement of merit, mostly due to nepotism.

Nepotism has become a household term used by Pakistanis whenever they are asked to list down reasons for the failure of the country on so many fronts.

Fawad misses out again as Pakistan announce squad for Ireland, England Tests

When it comes to sports then, it becomes evident why most of the federations are in a shambolic state: nepotism eating through the roots of merit.

Let’s talk about cricket now, which is arguably country’s most commercialised sport, and therefore the stakes are high when cricketers walk onto the pitch to represent the country, however, even higher are the complains of favouritism.

Back in the 90’s, it was an open secret that the likes of Basit Ali, Asif Mujtaba and Mohammad Zahid couldn’t find a permanent spot in the national team even after delivering on numerous occasions just because they were not liked by the captain, the coach or the chief selector.

Fawad Alam named in initial Test camp for England tour

Fast-forward today and things still haven’t changed, not even a bit. Even now, there are players who make it into the national squad on the basis of personal relations, rather than domestic performances, which is the perfect recipe for disaster, sooner or later.

Such was the case when the 16-member national squad was announced on Sunday by chief selector Inzamamul Haq for the highly anticipated Test tour of Ireland and England.

The team management, undoubtedly, took a bold step and placed their faith in youngsters, which included five uncapped players namely Fakhar Zaman, Imamul Haq, Usman Salahuddin, Saad Ali and Faheem Ashraf, but there was a common absentee too — Fawad Alam.

While the selection of Zaman and Salahuddin didn’t boggle anyone’s mind, the selection of Imam and Ali made perfectly no sense, especially at the expense of someone as seasoned as Alam.

Alam’s average of 55.37 in first-class in as many as 145 outings speaks volumes about his quality. Even comparing it to Imam’s average of 34.46 (34 matches) and Ali’s 46.93 (50 matches) may leave a bad taste in one’s mouth, but that was not the case on Sunday.

To further strengthen Alam’s case, he has scored 264 runs in his last five innings (all formats, domestic and international included) at a staggering average of 88; talk about the form he is in.

On the other hand, Imam was able to manage only 42 runs in his last five cricketing innings at an average of 8.40 (brilliant eh?) with scores of 6,4,0,30 and 2, while Ali scored 41 runs at an average of 10.25 with scores 26 (not out) 4,4,7,0.

The only thing which goes in the favour of Imam (apart from being the nephew of the chief selector) and Ali are their ages, but then again, if Alam can’t make it to the national team at 32, Misbahul Haq and Younus Khan should’ve been asked to go home early too.

Fun fact: Test mainstays Azhar Ali (33) and Asad Shafiq (32) are nearly the same age or older than Alam.

While announcing the team, Inzamam did reply to the quandary of why Alam wasn’t selected. He professionally ditched the question, as has been done by so many over the last three-four years, by saying that unselected ones should not be disappointed and work hard to be a part of the squad in the future.

But why shouldn’t he be disappointed after being overlooked for so many years and being rejected just to bring in mediocre players like Imam.

Alam’s non-selection remains an unsolved mystery. Even after having the best average in the history of Pakistan’s domestic cricket, it is shocking, surprising, and to an extent comical that he has not represented the Men in Green in nearly three years.

Alam’s complete ignorance will perhaps be written as one the darkest chapters in Pakistan’s cricketing history, where an individual did all things possible but no good use.

Inzamam might ready answers to the questions he will face after what happened on Sunday, otherwise he should get ready to be remembered as someone else rather than the player who retired from Pakistan cricket with respect.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Amanzeb Khan
    Apr 16, 2018 - 6:18PM

    Fawad Alam seems to be an easy target. I remember him being dropped by a selector in favour of his son in law Imran Farhat. Sadly he has never managed to make his way back to the test team after that. This is the latest of many snubs that have come his way. The statement; work on your fitness and form also sounds so hollow considering that is exactly what the guy has done in the last few years. Recommend

  • Ali Sheikh
    Apr 16, 2018 - 6:58PM

    Apparently the Board COO and a BOD member from Karachi don’t want Fawad Alam to be part of the cricket team ever. These two guys have stuck around even as multiple board chairmen have come and gone. They’ve been putting pressure on all selection committees, current and past, not to select him. You have to understand the politics of the game… the team is not always selected on merit. Why do you think Sarfraz or previous captains never mention Fawad Alam. Younis Khan tried hard to bring him into the side but ended up resigning from the captaincy… Afridi tried a bit as well but this board mafia is too powerful.Recommend

  • Proud to be Muslim
    Apr 16, 2018 - 7:05PM

    With all due respect to his scores in first class, leave the PCB behind. Why no any PSL franchise appointed him? Personally I dont likw him because when he was in the team, he was mostly concerned for his own scores (2-3 times he made good scores) rather than something for team.Recommend

  • MJ-Sid
    Apr 16, 2018 - 10:31PM

    @Proud to be Muslim.

    It’s a good thing that you mentioned T20. Fawad captained his Karachi team and won the national T20 cup 2 years ago. He had an amazing average and strike rate in that tournament. Please google it. How was he rewarded by PCB? His whole team was not invited to the T20 tournament last year in Punjab. If you look at Fawad’s case without biases, nothing makes sense at all.Recommend

  • Mobius
    Apr 17, 2018 - 4:45AM

    @Ali Sheikh:
    Can you please name the COO and BOD? I could not find their names and really want to knowRecommend

  • Mani
    Apr 17, 2018 - 10:36AM

    What I fail to understand is that why did they select 4 openers? Fakhar, Imam, Azhar and Sami… I personally feel that Fawad Alarm should have been given the chance ahead of Imam. It’s good to have 1 backup opener, but having 2 backup openers doesn’t really show confidence in the openersRecommend

  • Askance View
    Apr 17, 2018 - 11:02AM

    This is indeed the sorry state of our institutions. Having different rules and processes for segment of people. Fawad Alam; as his start of career dashing and reliable cricketer. He has been proving his mantle every time he got the chance in the national or domestic level. Moreover, his love with country is emasculate and trying hard to get selected by keeping him super fit and delivering the well spirited cricket.

    We have already ruined many established and emerging sports due to favoritism. Fawad Alam has been unfortunate one and really deserving talent which we have already lost due to non serious nature of cricketing board. Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Apr 17, 2018 - 11:14AM

    He can get a permanent spot; if he starts doing instagram, takes selfies with top Indian cricket players (making them look like friends). This is what will work for him.Recommend

  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany
    Apr 17, 2018 - 1:55PM

    Fawads omission is a clear case of blatant nepotisim and unfair decision. Sad part is that Mickey Arthur, presumably a neutral and just person to judge players has fallen prey to such a practice. Shame on the so-called religious Inzamam.Recommend

  • karim virani
    Apr 17, 2018 - 2:23PM

    I feel sorry for fawad Alam this sums-up our culture but to take a positive note on his omission its blessing in disguise looking at our team england will thrash us and fawad career would be over for ever .Remeber what did dhoni did after they lost one day series to pakistan he removed shewag and gambhir by saying selfish player after performance from gambhir he finally got a chance in england tour and failed badly and his interational career was over same would have happen with Alam . We dont have players who can survive in England it will be one sided game ..Recommend

  • Faisal
    Apr 17, 2018 - 4:46PM

    Cheering for Ireland now… Recommend

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