March 6, 2014

The power of the unremarkable

Like Asif Mujtaba before him, Fawad Alam brings to Pakistan a much-needed eye for detail and alertness to opportunity
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Fawad Alam: find gap, cede strike, run hard, put away
Fawad Alam: find gap, cede strike, run hard, put away © AFP

Many years ago there was an unremarkable batsman from Karachi who sometimes did remarkable things for Pakistan. Actually Asif Mujtaba wasn't unremarkable. He was a bona fide domestic giant: 49 hundreds, just short of 18,000 runs, and in nearly 300 matches an average of just under 50. But internationally you could argue he was a little unremarkable, both in presence and ultimately in performance.

Except that he was often the instigator of, and the central figure in, some truly remarkable moments. He, for instance, hit the lesser recalled and least celebrated of Pakistan's memorable last-over sixes in December 1992. Pakistan needed 17 off that last over, delivered by the death-overs champion Steve Waugh, and they lost Mushtaq Ahmed off the first ball. Mujtaba somehow oversaw five runs scored by the bunniest of all bunnies Aaqib Javed, took five himself and then heaved the last ball for six. To tie the game; had Australia not been awarded a missing run at the tea interval, it would have been a winning hit.

That finish, as Mujtaba pointed out years later, wasn't even his best. He's right. That would be his unbeaten 60 from No. 8 in Perth nearly six years earlier. Again Australia were the aggrieved, as Mujtaba drew 145 runs from the last four wickets to chase 274 with a ball to spare. Mujtaba has remained a vastly underrated batsman, partly because finishing wasn't really a thing when he played. There were batsmen and there were bowlers and that, pretty much, was that.

Also, he was versatile enough to defy specialisation. But mostly it was because he was the collateral damage of Imran Khan's idea of what a young player should be: brash and brave, extravagantly gifted; and Mujtaba was none of those. Javed Miandad, of course, loved him. In those two sentences alone is written many a career epitaph. Imran can think what he wants of Mujtaba, but he cannot deny the genius of those two innings. Nor can he deny the incongruous but essential contributions that produced two much-celebrated triumphs. It was Mujtaba's outstanding, instinctive catch at short leg, of course, on a January afternoon in Hamilton in 1993 that dismissed Andrew Jones. New Zealand were 65 for 3 at that stage, chasing 127, and well, we can probably recall every single wicket thereafter.

Even a cursory glance at Alam's scores before he was dropped show he is capable of unremarkable but vital hands

A month later in Durban, in an ODI against South Africa, Mujtaba's left-arm spin (slow really, not much spin) somehow defeated the defences of Peter Kirsten. South Africa were 159 for 1 and needed just 50 from the last ten to win. In the funniest, craziest way possible, they could not do it, that wicket triggering an almighty collapse. Who had earlier top-scored for Pakistan incidentally, an unbeaten 49 gently tugging them to respectability? That's right.

Why Mujtaba now? Because, Fawad Alam. Because every time I see Alam bat, which hasn't been that often over the last three and a half years, I think of Mujtaba. In physical outline both are similarly slight, enough to be blown away by an ant's sneeze, and both have surprisingly deep voices. Both are lefties, though Mujtaba was more old school in stance and general technique. He didn't have the quirks and awkwardness of Alam. But something in the way Alam bats, in the way that he is such a servant to the situation, is so Mujtaba. He is a 2.0 version of course; fewer dot balls, wider range of strokes, and perhaps more insecure about his off stump, but the model is essentially the same (and Alam's 168 on Test debut as opener hints at greater versatility).

His 74 in Pakistan's record chase against Bangladesh was from the same mould. The target was higher, the boundaries smaller, but essentially he was doing the exact same things Mujtaba did in those two innings. He found a sustainable space within the chaos Shahid Afridi generated. Take strike, find gap, cede strike, run hard, put away what can be put away: it really was that simple. Mujtaba had similarly ordered himself amid bullish cameos from Manzoor Elahi, Saleem Yousuf and Rashid Latif in the two games.

It is too simplistic to say both represent a Karachi school of batsmanship, because it is ridiculous to say this of a city that has given us both Hanif Mohammad and Shahzaib Hasan. But it isn't difficult to detect an organic link between them, conjoining them to the city's batting sons, from Mushtaq Mohammad to Asif Iqbal to Javed Miandad. What it is, is best seen in a couple of examples. Another sharp memory of Mujtaba is from a 1993 ODI in Port-of-Spain, where he made a 40-ball 45 (with just four boundaries) to chase down 260 in a 45-over game, against Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Ian Bishop. Having completed a gentle single to long-off, Mujtaba spotted the fielder with ball in hand. As the fielder lazily prepared to underarm a throw back, imagining the passage of play to be over, Mujtaba stole a second and with Inzamam-ul-Haq of all partners.

In the 2009 World Twenty20 semi-final against South Africa, readers will remember Alam rocketing in a throw from long-off to run out Albie Morkel in the last over. After a brief celebration running in, Alam gestured to the bowler, Mohammad Amir, pointing out that he wasn't standing at the stumps backing up the throw. They are different situations entirely but reveal the same adherence to basic detail and alertness to opportunity. Neither, it must be said, are particularly extraordinary traits elsewhere but in among the general unconcern of most Pakistani cricketers for such details, it amounts to rocket science.

That way Alam comes from the very cradle of Karachi's cricketing infrastructure. His father, Tariq, was a fine domestic batsman and a club circuit legend, acknowledged by many to be the finest player of spin in the city. Younis Khan, Saeed Anwar and Rashid Latif among others were his keen disciples at the Malir Gymkhana. Further development for Alam has come in the city's two main nurseries, at Latif's academy for a period, as well as the Customs academy run by former fast bowler Jalaluddin. Around him is the city's circle of cricketing trust and it only bodes well for his return that Latif is now head selector.

That it needed this innings to remind ourselves of his qualities is proof only of the incoherent and defeating ways of Pakistani selection. Even a cursory glance at Alam's scores before he was dropped show he is capable of precisely these contributions: unremarkable but vital hands, increasing the chances, Mujtaba-like, of remarkable results. How Pakistan, with that frail lower-middle order, have believed for so long they are better off without even giving him a run is the most remarkable thing in all this.

Osman Samiuddin is a sportswriter at the National

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • PlayfromDallas on March 11, 2014, 15:56 GMT

    Those who are talking about "Stance" what about Ijaz Ahmed's stance? And he served Pakistan from 1987 till 2001. Looking at stance only is very simplistic. Greatest batsmen of Pakistan known as men of crises Asif Iqbal, Mushtaq Mohd, Miandad what stance they had? Solid batting line is about stroke making & run accumulating players. Plan A is to win the game with stroke players but that doesn't happen & run accumulator becomes the key to execute Plan B in this article they are "Unremarkable And Vital Performer". Going into the game without defense is a disaster at the 1st place. Top world sports are comprise of offense & defense to have solid winning combination. Stroke playing & run accumulating are two different mindset. As a Pakistani we should be very clear that our opposition has sharp eyes on our weakness & they will capitalize. One can argue Pakistan with many great players just won one WC, why? Because we ignored the "Unremarkable And Vital Performer" with our stubborn attitude.

  • smjr on March 11, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    Fawad brought two records for whatever limited chances given to him in Test and ODI . One record is about himself which shall be never be broken i.e becoming the first Pakistani cricketer to notch up test debut century outside Pakistan, the other is helping Pakistan chase their highest score in ODI against Bangladesh in Asia cup recently. He has a healthy first class batting average of 55 which is more than Miandad, Hanif, Zaheer, Inzamam. So why he is ignored, does'nt it smells some nepotism, favouritism or regional politics in cricket. I am of the view that people should tolerate that cricket is a national sports and it should not involve regional politics/quota in playing eleven, only merit should prevail. If all 11 players on merit comes from Punjab, Sind, KPK or Baluchistan than we have to respect them There should be sincerity, transparency and merit in selection process

  • smjr on March 11, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    I do not know why people speak too high or too low if a batsman emerge in the international scene. They compare him with former great players which is totally nonsense. Every player has his own style. I have noted that despite his heriocs in Asia cup people are critical about fawad batting stance and vulnerability against fast bowling, but they must also admit that Fawad has played in just 3 test matches and very limited ODI and unlike other players Hafeez, Umar Akmal, who are given extended run in international cricket.So Fawad should be given extended run say 10 test matches and 20 ODI and by then we will be able to see where he stands. As far his batting stance is concerned Fawad himself has to worry about it and no one else should criticize and just admire his run getting ability.

  • mainul079080 on March 11, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    Even being a Bangladeshi no Pakistani i think is a better fan than me of Fawad. In last 3 and half years i posted many comments in cricinfo simply on Fawad to see him in the Pakistani team.Some were published some were not.I am so passionate about this great Pakistani left hander...He is a great great (but wasted) talent.I can swear if he were given a proper run in the team he would have will simply pass Younus, Misbah by a mile.I like Misbah but i hate him only in one aspect.He was instrumental behind Fawad's exclusion along with the selectors. Lastly i want to request Misbah and selectors to continue Fawad in Pakistan team for the next decade for the benefit of Pakistani cricket and to recover their sin and he will be a legend by then

  • PlayfromDallas on March 10, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    Long story short you all: We need Mindad School of Batsmen regardless which part of the country he is from that's the solution to the Pakistan's batting. Historically speaking greatest batsmen of Pakistan came from Karachi e.g. Haneef Mohammed, Zaheer Abbas (played his cricket in Karachi born in Silkot), Mushtaq Mohammed, Saeed Anwer... Greatest bowler came from Punjab e.g. Fazal Mahmood, Imran Khan, Serfraz Nawaz, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younus...

    This is how simple our cricketing equation is. The problem starts when one region started to dominate completely and that's where our cricket goes into nose dive.

    Please make an effort don't let one region dominate Pakistan's Cricket; establish a system where one region can never ever dominate our cricket.

  • on March 10, 2014, 15:49 GMT

    Asif Mujtaba was similar to Muhammad Hafeez but Fawad Alam is more like to Younas Khan

  • on March 10, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    Not surprised to see so much hate in some comments; if people can criticize and dislike their captain, the most consistent batsman who keeps rescuing the team time and time again (despite his advancing years), then why spare Fawad Alam? Also, it's very funny to see people fighting on the Punjab-Karachi issue over selection matters. That's the spirit, instead of wishing for the best of Pakistan cricket, we are more concerned about which region has more representatives! Bravo, and then we hope for a better Pakistan? Fawad Alam is from Rashid Latif's academy and him being chief selector will hopefully bring some more transparency. FYI, Fawad Alam is not new; he made 168 on his Test debut (ages ago) and had an ODI average of 35+ before being dumped for batting with an 'ugly' style and not hitting enough sixes. Wonder if Graeme Smith and Chanderpaul would've had great careers if they were Pakistani. No disrespect towards Afridi, but why are we all so obsessed with boundaries and lusty blows

  • sherishahmir on March 10, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    Unfortunate to keep players like Fawad out of national team for last 3 years and we invested a lot in grooming Imran Farhat, Yaseer Hameed, Shoaib Malik and many others who in the end proved the waste of time. Fawad performance should be eye opener for the selectors, he looks me a true finisher, like Asif Mujtaba who played the game in accordance with match situation and were missing in Pakistan batting line up.

  • on March 9, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    That was good write up osman

  • PlayfromDallas on March 9, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    People those who like to split hair would criticize Fawad Alam's 114 runs in the Asia Cup 2014 Final.

    Those who are criticizing should understand clearly: Pakistan batting won't be able to achieve success unless we resort to Mindad School of Batting. You can ask Imran Khan, he will say the same!

  • PlayfromDallas on March 11, 2014, 15:56 GMT

    Those who are talking about "Stance" what about Ijaz Ahmed's stance? And he served Pakistan from 1987 till 2001. Looking at stance only is very simplistic. Greatest batsmen of Pakistan known as men of crises Asif Iqbal, Mushtaq Mohd, Miandad what stance they had? Solid batting line is about stroke making & run accumulating players. Plan A is to win the game with stroke players but that doesn't happen & run accumulator becomes the key to execute Plan B in this article they are "Unremarkable And Vital Performer". Going into the game without defense is a disaster at the 1st place. Top world sports are comprise of offense & defense to have solid winning combination. Stroke playing & run accumulating are two different mindset. As a Pakistani we should be very clear that our opposition has sharp eyes on our weakness & they will capitalize. One can argue Pakistan with many great players just won one WC, why? Because we ignored the "Unremarkable And Vital Performer" with our stubborn attitude.

  • smjr on March 11, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    Fawad brought two records for whatever limited chances given to him in Test and ODI . One record is about himself which shall be never be broken i.e becoming the first Pakistani cricketer to notch up test debut century outside Pakistan, the other is helping Pakistan chase their highest score in ODI against Bangladesh in Asia cup recently. He has a healthy first class batting average of 55 which is more than Miandad, Hanif, Zaheer, Inzamam. So why he is ignored, does'nt it smells some nepotism, favouritism or regional politics in cricket. I am of the view that people should tolerate that cricket is a national sports and it should not involve regional politics/quota in playing eleven, only merit should prevail. If all 11 players on merit comes from Punjab, Sind, KPK or Baluchistan than we have to respect them There should be sincerity, transparency and merit in selection process

  • smjr on March 11, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    I do not know why people speak too high or too low if a batsman emerge in the international scene. They compare him with former great players which is totally nonsense. Every player has his own style. I have noted that despite his heriocs in Asia cup people are critical about fawad batting stance and vulnerability against fast bowling, but they must also admit that Fawad has played in just 3 test matches and very limited ODI and unlike other players Hafeez, Umar Akmal, who are given extended run in international cricket.So Fawad should be given extended run say 10 test matches and 20 ODI and by then we will be able to see where he stands. As far his batting stance is concerned Fawad himself has to worry about it and no one else should criticize and just admire his run getting ability.

  • mainul079080 on March 11, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    Even being a Bangladeshi no Pakistani i think is a better fan than me of Fawad. In last 3 and half years i posted many comments in cricinfo simply on Fawad to see him in the Pakistani team.Some were published some were not.I am so passionate about this great Pakistani left hander...He is a great great (but wasted) talent.I can swear if he were given a proper run in the team he would have will simply pass Younus, Misbah by a mile.I like Misbah but i hate him only in one aspect.He was instrumental behind Fawad's exclusion along with the selectors. Lastly i want to request Misbah and selectors to continue Fawad in Pakistan team for the next decade for the benefit of Pakistani cricket and to recover their sin and he will be a legend by then

  • PlayfromDallas on March 10, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    Long story short you all: We need Mindad School of Batsmen regardless which part of the country he is from that's the solution to the Pakistan's batting. Historically speaking greatest batsmen of Pakistan came from Karachi e.g. Haneef Mohammed, Zaheer Abbas (played his cricket in Karachi born in Silkot), Mushtaq Mohammed, Saeed Anwer... Greatest bowler came from Punjab e.g. Fazal Mahmood, Imran Khan, Serfraz Nawaz, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younus...

    This is how simple our cricketing equation is. The problem starts when one region started to dominate completely and that's where our cricket goes into nose dive.

    Please make an effort don't let one region dominate Pakistan's Cricket; establish a system where one region can never ever dominate our cricket.

  • on March 10, 2014, 15:49 GMT

    Asif Mujtaba was similar to Muhammad Hafeez but Fawad Alam is more like to Younas Khan

  • on March 10, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    Not surprised to see so much hate in some comments; if people can criticize and dislike their captain, the most consistent batsman who keeps rescuing the team time and time again (despite his advancing years), then why spare Fawad Alam? Also, it's very funny to see people fighting on the Punjab-Karachi issue over selection matters. That's the spirit, instead of wishing for the best of Pakistan cricket, we are more concerned about which region has more representatives! Bravo, and then we hope for a better Pakistan? Fawad Alam is from Rashid Latif's academy and him being chief selector will hopefully bring some more transparency. FYI, Fawad Alam is not new; he made 168 on his Test debut (ages ago) and had an ODI average of 35+ before being dumped for batting with an 'ugly' style and not hitting enough sixes. Wonder if Graeme Smith and Chanderpaul would've had great careers if they were Pakistani. No disrespect towards Afridi, but why are we all so obsessed with boundaries and lusty blows

  • sherishahmir on March 10, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    Unfortunate to keep players like Fawad out of national team for last 3 years and we invested a lot in grooming Imran Farhat, Yaseer Hameed, Shoaib Malik and many others who in the end proved the waste of time. Fawad performance should be eye opener for the selectors, he looks me a true finisher, like Asif Mujtaba who played the game in accordance with match situation and were missing in Pakistan batting line up.

  • on March 9, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    That was good write up osman

  • PlayfromDallas on March 9, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    People those who like to split hair would criticize Fawad Alam's 114 runs in the Asia Cup 2014 Final.

    Those who are criticizing should understand clearly: Pakistan batting won't be able to achieve success unless we resort to Mindad School of Batting. You can ask Imran Khan, he will say the same!

  • Avicenna on March 8, 2014, 21:33 GMT

    Another great article Osman!! Fawad has proved once again with his recent performances that what a talented batsman he is and that his non- selection for the last three and half years was purely based on regional bias and nepotism.

  • on March 8, 2014, 19:22 GMT

    Great comeback of Fawad after 4 years of absence due to Pakistan regional politics. I am so glade that here in Mirpoor by scoring 2 consistence big scores - fifty and a hundred . He show slectors were totaly wrong and was a big mistake to keep him out of the game for all those years . I believe Pakistan now have a very promising and determined middle order batsmen. As far as Mr Sfarhan79 statement above, I would like to know about his cricket background

  • on March 8, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    @Abrar Faisal You just made my day. Funny how you try to divert the discussion. Fawad is the man. Haters gonna hate!

  • on March 8, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    This diminutive guy has a terrific first class average. Could be more instrumental in building the innings rather than big hitting. Yes, Pakistan needs a guy like him in the middle, someone like Miandad, who could steal singles and hold one end firm.

  • cardmak on March 8, 2014, 1:17 GMT

    It is unfortunate that Alam has been left out in the cold due to regional Pakistani politics. But that is not new either. Numerous players from Karachi have suffered the same fate over years to decades beginning from Kardar. Cricket infrastructure and governance is controlled in Lahore, therefore players from that region do get preferential treatment. However I do believe if a player is performing at a high level, no politics can displace that individual either. Alam has performed well in the domestic circuit. His international record is also superior. It makes little sense not to include him in the Pakistan team. I would differ in that he should be included in the test side more than the ODI as the type of player he is where he may need longer to settle in before scoring runs. Hope he does well in the next game.

  • Munafis810 on March 7, 2014, 20:36 GMT

    One innings from Fawad and that too against Bangladesh....and this author sees him like Bevan or Miandad?????/ wow

  • Dannymania on March 7, 2014, 20:07 GMT

    First off, I am openly admitting as a cricket fan that I think Fawad Alam is an extremely talented cricketer.He has the potential to be one of the great batsmen that this country has ever produced and he is a useful bowler too, especially with all the limited-over cricket going on now a days.. Now, coming to this article..I thought that I was over with Mr Samiuddin-related criticism.But nah, He was able to produce yet another boring, unfair article.He came up with a comparison that is just not right.I do not agree with the comparison as a die-hard cricket fan and follower.I believe Fawal Alam has much more talent, to be clear.I cannot belive that Mr Samiuddin based all of his comparison upon the "Thinking-alike" thingy! Its cricket, we see how the player bats or bowls, NOT how he thinks! Most batsmen from Karachi have good cricketing minds, Doesnt make them ALIKE! I am extremely disappointed in Mr Samiuddin as a reader.I think its unfair for the world of cricket to read his articles.

  • PlayfromDallas on March 7, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    Part 1: Much needed article. It is worth mentioning here that Mujtba's last ball six of Stave Waugh, in the same over Aquib avoided the second run to prevent Mujtaba from striking tells how Aquib missed the basics at the critical stage same as Amir couldn't backup while run out was under way. For quite some time cricket authorities in Pakistan clinging on to an unthinkable idea that only stroke players can serve our batting! Countless time captains won the toss and went to bat first even when conditions favor bowler WC99 final is a very good example where only first two hours favor fast bowlers which Australia took full advantage and we missed.

  • PlayfromDallas on March 7, 2014, 18:15 GMT

    Part 2: It also gave opposition clear message that we are incapable of chasseing (batting), again missing the very basic. Anyone looking for a good example how to bat while chips are down check S. Aus v Pak 1995, Basit Ali scoring centuries in both innings and saving the game while he was out of form! Had he been selected for the 1995 World Cup Pakistan had greater chances to win the World Cup with his 'Unremarkable And Vital Performance'. Hopefully cricket pundits can now think outside the box and don't waste Fawad Alam.

  • on March 7, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    Well the dust has finally settled. The biggest question is whether Fawad Alam deserves to be in the Odi side or not. What ever he or his technique look like he deserves a run in odi cricket and not so in test cricket or t20 yet. Pakistan need him in the middle order. He is a left hander,runs well bowls a bit and is a very good fielder. Pakistan needs players like him who are three dimensional. I had pinned my hopes on umar amin and I loved watching Asim kamal and asif mujtaba too. Still remember that day when asif mujtaba and the tail fought and he hit the last ball for a six, I was 11 and requested my cousin and we purchased a litre of petrol to run our generator and watched the last few overs of that epic encounter. Conclusion Fawad desrves a long run esp. in Odis. Good luck Pakistan.

  • PakPacer on March 7, 2014, 16:08 GMT

    @ Sfarhan79 you dont justify your selection by your head positioning or by the 'type of slogs' you make, it always has to be based on performance and that was an outstanding performance he put up. Similarly i saw someone here say 'well he cant hit sixed on the likes of Johnson and Steyn..' Uh last time i checked not alot of people can. That is not supposed to be your selection criteria guys, your batsman has to be a productive one period, i could care less about technique, Graeme Smith and Chunderpaul are living examples of this. Fawad is an accumulator who you need at 1 or maybe 2 down, he will keep doing this thing and churning out runs and is still capable of hitting the odd boundaries, he doesnt block endlessly he milks everything for runs, thats a skill our team lacks and we need.

  • Sfarhan79 on March 7, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    Fawad Alam need to work really hard on his head position when playing big shots. His shots merely have any power. The shots for six in final over were typical tail-enders slogs. Maybe many won't agree but I don't think that Fawad Alam justifies his selection.

  • on March 7, 2014, 14:21 GMT

    Well written! The importance of the SINGLE RUN has always been underestimated everywhere but more in Pakistan cricket. Only Miandad/Asif Iqbal duo was the only one who could steal singles from mere nudges. We need some people like FA in team who could rotate the strike and keep the scoreboard ticking till the big guns start firing! many a time we have tied ourselves up in knots by not taking singles and letting the RRR climb steeply and ultimately putting pressure on Batsmen to hit needlessly and get out in the process!

  • on March 7, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    I've grown up watching Asif Mujtaba batting for Pakistan, albeit off and on. He was selfless, instrumental, humble, solid on his day but in all a good back-up batsman. Mujtaba has left a lasting impression on his audience especially when it comes to selflessness. Yet he was not competent of playing big shots. Somehow a misfit on the aggressive batting side. Most of his innings were based on the concept of cementing the foundation in the top order, mostly, for the team to build on. He was a team man, a true of the truest servant.

  • Tmalik on March 7, 2014, 13:56 GMT

    Very good write up, and i really appreciate Osman Samiuddin for writing this beautiful article for Alam and forgotten hero Mujtaba. I just cant believe how on earth someone could drop Alam afer he scored debut 160 against SL... it was crime... Alam is street fighter, what his physique does not match his performance, he is great player and above Malik for sure. I would love to see him play, he brings pure Karachi cricket spirit in the game and he is immense talent. I hope he gets few years to play and i can bet anyday that he will be backbone on Pak batting in coming years...his game is changed a bit with few sixes in teh innings so is his physique with sindhi beared he purely looks rebel and warrior. I wish him goodluck and purely deserves to replace Sohaib Maqsood. I only wish Misbah had an eye to spot talent...Well done Fawad Alam you are great and keep your spirit high in field and keep doing well, Pakistan is proud of you!!!!

  • on March 7, 2014, 13:42 GMT

    @Abrar Faisal .. i think you missed his two sixes which he ht EXACTLY when we needed them that in itself is enough a reply for you but I believe our nation seems to just not understand the importance or being circumspect. Do you remember that left hander from karachi Asim Kamal (if I remember correctly) he was the most subdued player in our national team but if you had the chance to see him bat in domestic cricket he would thrash the beat of our bowlers for countless sixes .. let the guy play for same number of matches as some of our more god gifted stroke players as you put them then we can come back have this discussion again..by the way his SR was more than 100 even with range of shots just imagine whats next to come.

  • blu_gg on March 7, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    From a West Indian point of view, I read a lot of the posts made here and some are saying that Fawad Alam is not good because he cannot find boundaries at will, I disagree totally. Pakistan HAS enough players who can find the boundary and not enough players who can rotate the strike, same problem with WI. How greater is a player how scores 100 from 100 deliveries hitting 4 boundaries than a player who makes 50 form 70 balls hitting 10 boundaries? I haven't seen a lot of this player but from what I've seen he is a proper batsman and should be given a fair chance to prove himself. Too many players are fixtures in cricketing squads across all cricketing nations even when they don't perform and others are not given a fair chance to prove themselves.

  • on March 7, 2014, 13:23 GMT

    The biggest mistake was pcb tagging him as a t20 player. He's just not gifted enough to be playing in the pakistan t20 side. In crucial times he came in and couldn't hit the big shots which I guess didn't go well with the selectors. Even the fans were calling for axing him for his inability to hit the sixes. He was the best fielder in the side, but his batting and bowling weren't good enough to keep him in the side. And mark my words he'll be dropped from the side once again if he hasn't improved his big hitting.His gap-finding quality isn't that good to be honest, just because he's over reliant on singles and doubles doesn't mean he's a master at maneuvering the ball.

  • Kheshgi on March 7, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    Very Nice article. I hope Faward can cement his place in the team.

  • on March 7, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    Agree with this article. Fawad deserved a long run in Tests and ODI long time ago

  • on March 7, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    I had seen Mujtaba playing those innings, he had cricketing brain winch is rare commodity with Pakistani cricketers. fawad needs support by our managerial staff to get him physically fit and strong n nothing else .. he showcased his talent for us to appreciate. his game style also resembles that of Larry Gomes from west indies who played his role very well among-st all other great stoke players like geenich and viv the gr8.

  • on March 7, 2014, 10:21 GMT

    @Asfandyar Sheikh and its funny that you can't figure out the fact what I wanted to say here, Fawad can play 50 dot balls if he want is situation requires that but when you need a boundary you should be able to hit it, and he just can't do that 9 out of 10 times, I hope you now you understand what I was trying to say, Its not a rocket science but for you it seems like that LOL

  • on March 7, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    For all those who think he is too slow, his strike rate is 76 which is better than Misbah's 74. For those who think he will fail on Australian pitches, he averages 39 against the likes of Harris and Johnson in Australia. For those who whine that he was awful against Swann, he averages 38.25 against England. For those who think he will fail at a bigger stage, play him at 3 or 4 and see the results. If we can put up with a one-dimensional player like Afridi, who can't play sensibly to save his life, we may as well have a one-dimensional player like Fawad, who can't hit a six to save his life, but still bats at a good strike rate.

  • on March 7, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    @Abrar Faisal It's funny how people like you love a one-dimensional player like Shahid Afridi, who can only hit sixes and fours even if his team needs sensible batting from him, but can not accept a player like Fawad Alam

  • romirom on March 7, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    he should bat at no 4. Down the other at no 6, he may strugle to get boundries against quality fast bowler. He can play the inning builder role rather than finisher. Hop he cum gud in the middle order alone wit sohaib maqsood. So far maqsood is unlucky in asia cup. Got bad decision last game and run oug against india when he was loking gud to drag game beyond india.

  • Samee0324 on March 7, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    Excellent innings from Fawad Alam, a talent which was ignored for long time. We must give him confidence now. Look at his avg. and the ability he has to score runs. He hit sixes when needed otherwise he was calm, took quick singles and doubles, rotate the strike and did not try any risky shots!! I wish him Good luck and ask selectors to give him good chance. He will be a star performer in WC2015

  • bbmm on March 7, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    well guy's don't get carried away he is not internation material the biggest problem i see him that he cannot play big shots i agree he gives his 100% but he cannot hit a six against stayen or jhonson so pls don't get over the moon. ....

  • on March 7, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    Great article. Finally after 4 years Fawad is back in the team , often saw readers asking in comments over last few years where is fawad why isn't fawad playing (including me) . One can just see the lionhearted fierceness and fearlessness of him in this sport. Great job the whole selection/management team , maybe Moin and Zaheers guidance will take Pakistan cricket to new heights. Great job each and every one.

  • Equanimous on March 7, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    I love farad Alam. He is pakistan's Michael Bevan. Always give's 110 percent. Too bad we go for the personality not the player. P.S someone get him a helmet that fits him.

  • on March 7, 2014, 3:09 GMT

    "Even a cursory glance at Alam's scores before he was dropped show he is capable of precisely these contributions..." Exactly!!! Probably the most consistent batsmen in domestic cricket, yet can't find a spot. In test they fed him to Shane Bond at #3 because Mohd. Yousuf was too chicken. He made a fighting 33, got out to brute of a ball. Never played a test. He averages close to 40 in both ODI and Test; yet players with lesser ability and lesser temperament are persisted with. If Pakistan actually wants to have some remote chance of winning in 2015 World Cup, they need to put Alam at four and give him confidence. The last time Pakistani side played on Australian pitches, he was our highest averaged batsman. He is a gutsy, mentally tough cricketer who has a sharp mind. If WI had dropped Chanderpaul on technique, they would have rid of themselves a man who scored 10000+ runs for WI. Amla, Katich, Lehman, all poses weird techniques yet they made runs, which is the only thing that matters.

  • SyedImadUddin on March 7, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    Fawwad alam is one of the best players represnting pakistan and osman you hve written amazingly well and he should be taken continous in the team which will more groom him as a batsman and will be excellent choice for world cup 2015

  • jhumpir on March 7, 2014, 0:31 GMT

    Pakistan is looking for long time for finding a guy in the middle who can rotate the strike and move the score boards basically somebody who generates singles. I think Fawad alam is the answer for it. Great fielder great runner between the wickets and smart batsman for the city of miandad. I hope Moin khan and rashid latif will make sure he will be in the playing 11. all the best for the final.

  • PlayfromDallas on March 6, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    Hey you all, what do you mean by, we are judging Fawad Alam based on one game? Fawad made to the team after three years, playing a solid inning in a crunch match and winning the match for Pakistan all these are just one game!! Your judgment is on wrong footage and it reflects biasness. We cannot have strong batting lineup unless we are absolutely clear about what is the difference between Stroke Player and Runs Getter. Selecting only stroke players means we are handing over the advantage to the opposition and they would love to bowl to one type of batsmen. Just like when we select bowlers we focus on verity, exactly the same way you select verity in the batting lineup also. Batting is about different mindset what Miandad can do Inzman cannot even though Inzi possess more skills similarly what Fawad can do Sohaib Maqsood cannot. We will remain inferior in chasing runs unless these things are clear in our mind. Miandad's winning knock in WC92 semi was not achieved by stroke playing.

  • testcricketonly on March 6, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    I met Asif Bhai in USA. We lived in the same city. I can tell you he is one of the most humble and nice person i have met. I also bowled him in nets. I met Shahid Afridi at his place as well. Osman this is an excellent article just too good. I wish Asif bhai gets his due and so does Fawad Alam

  • Zahidsaltin on March 6, 2014, 21:21 GMT

    Fawad hasn't performed to his ability in the chances he was given. In tests, yes he scored 168 but then he scored nothing considerable in the remaining 5 innings. In ODIs, his handsome averages are only due to notout's otherwise he only scored four 50s in 25 innings before the recent BD match. Looking at his first class figures, he should have been performing much better than what his figures show.

  • Zahidsaltin on March 6, 2014, 21:11 GMT

    Apart from Alam's percieved inability to succeed on fast wickets in the coming WC, just as Afridi can slaughter spinners, it is understood that he can't be so effective against fast bowling on fast wickets in Aus and NZ. The same goes for Abdul Razaq who is poor against spin but good hitter of fast bowling. One should start working on the WC project from now on and analyse the elements needed for those totally different conditions.

  • Zahidsaltin on March 6, 2014, 21:06 GMT

    Swann was the reason for Fawad's down fall and it's obvious that with his batting stance, any good bowler will exploite his weaknesses. He must be played at no. 4 and should be tested on fast wickets against good fast bowlers. I doubt that he can be a success in 2015 WC which is to be played in Aus and NZ.

  • Unconstitutional_PCB_Chief on March 6, 2014, 20:58 GMT

    Much needed article for the Karachiite. It is worth mentioning here that Mujtba's last ball six of of Stave Waugh; Aquib avoided the second run to prevent Mujtaba from batting tells how much Aquib lacked the basics i.e. same as Amir not going back to the wicket while run out is in the progress? For the last twenty years Captains and the selectors were authoritarians and dwelled in denial that only stroke players can serve Pakistan's batting? Captains won the toss and always went to bat first even if conditions favor bowler, told the World they are reluctant to bat, again missing the cricketing basic. Anyone who like to see how to bat while chips are down watch W. Aus vs Pak 1995, Basit Ali score centuries in both inning while he was out of form had he been selected for the 1996 World Cup Pakistan had greater chance to win the world cup with his 'Unremarkable And Vital Performance'. Hopefully cricket pundits can now think outside the box and don't waste Fawad Alam.

  • rsiddiqi on March 6, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    Wonderful article as always Osman. You have a knack of putting your finger on the pulse of Pakistani cricket providing Pakistanis the logical thinking most of us often lack. Thank you for having a positive affect on Pakistani cricket.

  • Desihungama on March 6, 2014, 20:52 GMT

    Fawad alam is a natural successor to Younis Khan. He has a bright future ahead of him and the second last piece to the puzzle called Pakistan Cricket. The last one would be M. Aamir who is probably right about now flexing his muscles.

  • zubu10 on March 6, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    talented middle order batsman and best things is in fawad ALAM is sensibility thats good for Pakistan

  • on March 6, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    I think Asif Mujtab played some of the most remarkable innings in ODI. His first one against Australia to help to chase 274 in Perth. His innings of 74 against SA when Pakistan were 3 down for 29 in 15 overs and in the same year earlier 56 against Australia. He was the kind of batsman to keep the score ticking, absorb the pressure and if the opportunity arrives cash it with both hands. He also opened the innings in ODI as well. I would rate better Fawad Alam technically better than Mujtaba. He can play to slow as well as can hit the ball out of the park. The one thing common in both is the temperament and mental strength. In the last match against BD, he played an innings like Miandad used do;took the singles, hit the odd boundary and gave the strike to the partner and decided at the right time to hit the ball out of the park.

  • on March 6, 2014, 20:07 GMT

    Fawad has played 28 ODIS, 25 T20s and 3 tests. Playing him in t20 was managements mistake really. he is not t20 material.

    and if you are judging him on basis of 1 game that he couldnt finish that game off vs SA in UAE and stayed not out but couldnt chase the target. then i think most of this current lot like Hafeez, Misbah, Umar Akmal, and Afridi have lost more games than winning . Just In last 3 series, they have lost about 5 games where they were in strong winning position. A player can not be judged by 1 off game if he couldnt win that for you. And also the selection criteria should be domestic performance. there is no other way to see any player. very few examples in world that a player with avg domestic record has made big in international cricket. Its other way around. They have selected players with 30 avg players instead of 45+.

  • toucheandsuch on March 6, 2014, 20:01 GMT

    Nice article Osman! Guys like Fawad will get a chance till someone sensible like Misbah is leading. Misbah has slowly but surely made sure that there is a process and many "workers" in the team, not just some sparks of individual brilliance. That is the reason, the team can now carry 2 or 3 guys like Afridi. In the earlier days, it used to be the other way around so the results were never consistent.

  • t20cric on March 6, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    Fawad will have to remain consistent & if he gets a long run in ODIs & proves himself then he may get a chance. Personally I think Misbah doesn't like him & Harris when these 2 in the test & ODI side could give Pakistan a lot of solidity. I think in test after the retirement of Misbah & Younis the team could look like: 1.Ahmed Shehzad, 2.Sami Aslam/Shan Masood/Nasir Jamshed(if Nasir can return to form), 3.Azhar Ali(scored a good century), 4.Fawad Alam, 5.Haris Sohail, 6.Umar Akmal(only as batsman), 7.Sarfraz Ahmed/Mohammad Rizwan etc..(the rest is just 3 pacers-1 spinner, or 2-2 if in Asia)

  • t20cric on March 6, 2014, 19:39 GMT

    No doubt Fawad Alam is a good batsman & I can't understand why there was not much credit given to him when he kept things going nicely after 3 quick wickets fell & Shehzad was continuing at his snail pace. Fawad played really well with Afridi as well cuz Afridi never had to wait long to get strike back. For Pakistan to succeed against tougher competition Shehzad & Umar to get off to a faster start, Hafeez & Sohaib to not throw away their good starts, Misbah to rotate strike, Fawad to hit the odd boundary & Afridi to settle a bit before going all out.

  • on March 6, 2014, 19:25 GMT

    It is beyond belief people still judge him on his T20 performance.. How thick do you have to be?? A quick look at his stats and you'll realise an average in excess of 55 in FC (not T20) and around 47 in List A (again, not T20). Everytying about his game suggests a player who loves to rotate strike quickly, and score an odd-boundary. He is a batsman with classical approach. It infuriates me that he was brought in for T20s and judged on T20 when he clearly doesnt belong to the format!!! Give him some time in ODIs and Tests and you'll see the rewards. Stop judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree!

  • mzm149 on March 6, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    Junaid Khan will come back in place of Rehman. Both Gul and Talha disappointed in last match. I am not sure who will make way for Bhatti. May be they both will play. Batting order will remain the same. I don't think they will bring back Sharjeel Khan after a good performance by Hafeez as an opener. So Fawad Alam will play the next game.

  • Arslan_Javed on March 6, 2014, 18:18 GMT

    Problem starts when he is announced as an all rounder that bats lower the order. and with the weakness of limited hard hitting capabilities only way to survive is to play up the order. But again no place at top 5 , remembering they didn't tolerate Younis for lack of runs and Azhar for lack of shorts. Though both are far better player than Fawad. if remember the 20/20 WC Pak won, Fawad could not contributed with bat at lower order and only over he bowled almost took the match away from PAk. He may be a full time member after Misbah. in year or two depending he contribute significantly when ever get a chance every now and then.

  • on March 6, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    Fawwad Alam, a player having averages better than any player in Pakistan but unable to stay in team as he can't hit huge sixes , what rubbish? this is the reason why we are far behind from the good teams as we don't look at the role play of the player, we just want players who hit 2,3 sixes and than through there wickets and than watch the match by standing in pavilion...

  • mzm149 on March 6, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    I hope it was not a one time show even though it was against weak opposition on a flat pitch. He can grab his place by playing another useful innings in the final.

  • on March 6, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    @Asfandyar Sheikh and its funny how you ignore the fact they both GOT OUT and Fawad didn't, If you can't hit a boundary after playing 50 odd balls to win a game for your country, you are just not good enough to play international cricket Period.

  • rizwankamal on March 6, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    Well said Osman Samiuddin. Fawad is really talented cricketer and I am sure Pakistan will benefit from him. On the other side, its our cricketing culture or politics, that talented and deserving players are not selected in the national team. Fawad was given opportunity because Sherjeel was injured. Sherjeel is opener whereas Fawad is a middle order batsman. We need to promote healthly, unbias and fair cricketing culture, and that should apply to every sport in our country.

  • on March 6, 2014, 16:05 GMT

    in the FINALS , i would like him to play , Rahman out and Juniad in

  • PakPacer on March 6, 2014, 16:02 GMT

    You know haters/critics needs to realize that not every batsman in your lineup needs to be cut out from the same cloth. You need different things to work different aspects of your game as a team. Fawad is efficient and keeps the score board ticking, this is an essential quality when your team is under pressure or when say you have lost 2 or 3 quick wickets ( a scenario we are eternally mired in it seems). Our problem was we would block and bog down till either the asking rate was too much or if we were batting first grabbing a big total would become impossible. Having Fawad makes it still possible to achieve a big score from virtually any situation that you might be in b'c you never fall too far behind. This is something Miandad used to do all the time and quality lost on this team over time, good teams, like South Africa and India still do it wonderfully.

  • Mel-waas on March 6, 2014, 15:49 GMT

    Oh Please don't compare Fawad Alam to a Failure like Mujtaba. Mujtaba was not good enough for international cricket. Fawad Alam is a very talented batsman. There is a Mujtaba in the Team, and his name is Shoiab Malik a run machine in Domestic Cricket. Utter failure in the international. Yes Mujtaba played two good innings but they were 6 years apart had he played on the next such would have taken another 6 years. That's how little he performed and then his stroke play was so limited. the only difference is, that Mujtaba lacked a political clout and a glamorous wife like Shoiab Malik. I wish of all the Chances that were given to Malik, PCB should have given to Fawad.

  • BlueJayBanter on March 6, 2014, 15:49 GMT

    @Sports4Youth. Absolutely agree with you. I have been saying the same thing. Fawad alam has been tearing up the domestic first class ranks as has Haris Sohail (albeit in a small sample size). Both are exponentially better players in the longer version of the game than the incumbents (azhar and asad). If these two are included, along with Sadaf Hussain as the spearhead, Pakistan will soar, Inshallah. And, while i am not banking on this, we still have mohammad amir in the ranks. If he returns to form, then I dont see a more balanced side in world cricket.

  • amircricketer on March 6, 2014, 15:02 GMT

    I feel Hafeez wll not allow him to settle in the side, because he is an all rounder and does not want Fawad to be in the side as an all rounders

  • immi2711 on March 6, 2014, 14:52 GMT

    Disappointing to NOT see his name mentioned in support.(briefly like a footnote) ..very nice of you to write this article. I think his support was major in chasing the total...Yes Ahmed scored 100, Shahid blasted , Haffez labored to 50, this guy stood around till the end to make sure we cross the line. His 6 & 4 in the second last over were instrumental.

  • smalishah84 on March 6, 2014, 14:39 GMT

    Great article Osman. I remember Asif Mujtaba quite fondly. Was one of my favorite player in those days for his grit. I have also been clamoring for the return of Fawad Alam for some time and I hope he gets ample opportunity

  • Sports4Youth on March 6, 2014, 14:35 GMT

    Sir, with due respect to your comparison of FAWAD ALAM with Asif Mujtaba, I think the difference is more apparent. Mujtaba had 24/26 as Tests/ODI averages. Fawad Alam has almost 42/40. I have been advocating for FAWAD since a long time. But I understand that Misbah does not like him. Just that FAWAd is a excitable charecter but with a First clas batting average of 55+ , I think FAWAD should have been a part of the Test team since atleast 4/5 years.

    I am sure that FAWAD and HARIS SOHAIL are much better than ASAD Shaifiq and AZHAR Ali. But somehow Azhar & Shafiq are getting a very long rope while FAWAD and Haris are getting Sore Eyes. I HOPE ATLEAST NOW FAWAD GETS A FAIR CHANCE ESPCIALLY IN TESTS. ALSO HARIS SHOULD BE SELECTED FOR TESTS.

    Batting Averages - Tests / Frist class

    M.HAFEEZ - - - 33.96 / 34.84

    AZHAR Ali - - 38.53 / 36.18

    ASAD Shafiq - 37.08 / 38.44

    FAWAD Alam - 41.66 / 55.75

    HARIS Sohail - - - - - - 52.01

    .

  • on March 6, 2014, 14:33 GMT

    Fawad is an efficient player whose run rate is always higher by good running unlike the so called dashers who block five balls and then hit a risky boundary.

  • on March 6, 2014, 14:32 GMT

    Its a sad reality that even though Imran brought unprecedented laurels for Pakistan cricket his tenure sowed the seeds of provincialism in Pakistan Cricket like never before. Asif Mujtaba is just one player, there were many other deserving talents like Qasim Omer, Tasleem Arif, Saeed Anwar, Rashid Latif who could not get an extended run in the team because of the way Imran used to make all decision including team selection during those days. You can write an article as long as this one on the achievements of each of those players.

  • on March 6, 2014, 14:27 GMT

    @Abrar Faisal Funny that you mention Fawad's "slow" 59 off 67 balls against SA, but fail to highlight Farhat's 47 off 86 and Shafiq's 43 off 74 in the same match.

  • malepas on March 6, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    I've seen Fawad playing in England in 2010 series, though he did score few useful runs in ODI's but he couldn't enforce the pace of the innings which is very important in ODI according to match situations, his game is to take quick singles but he didn't had big shots which is very important if you playing in middle order and had to play in power play overs or last 10 overs, that used to put extra pressure on other batsman to go for big shots, his technique was then found out by likes of Swan, he has a good head and he is a useful cricketer but I think needs to work on his big shots, though he surprised me with 2 sixes at the end of Bangla innings which was very crucial. I think his best position is no 3/4 where he can keep the one end secure and rotate the strike.

  • on March 6, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    i think pak can go with 2 such players. and can have misbah and fawad in same playing 11. because other batsmen we have are not consistent enough. ahmed is a bit better than others but he is always a slow starter and picks up late. rest of the lot; sharjeel is not good regarding technique. so wont last long. hafeez is also inconsistent. maqsood has always thrown away his starts. he is bit like umar akmal. so far in his career he has mostly thrown away his good starts.

    umar akmal is also umar akmal :). good but cant control himself. and finally afridi, we all know he wont be doing it regularly. its once in many type of thing. so most of these are not dependable. yes they can hit boundaries when required but also self destruct more often. so regarding fawad in playing 11 with misbah: i think its good. asad is history now. he was not good enough. need another dependable batsman in middleand fawad looks good choice with his good domestic record.

  • on March 6, 2014, 13:43 GMT

    Good article. Strange that we have many mediocre players given chances for a long time while players like Fawad who have earned their place and proven it, can't find their way back in the team. Only now.

  • muddassirqayyum on March 6, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    Plus, what we keep forgetting is that this batting side is a bit too one dimensional. You just cannot have Misbah, Asad Shafiq and Fawad Alam coming in at and 3,4 and 5. We saw what happens in the world cup semi finals. A perfectly good start was thrown away. Fawad Alam definitely merits a selection, but for me he can only replace Misbah in current line up. Yes, we are trying to find the balance in our batting order. However, for once we have a semblance of developing one, we have at least one regular opener, with almost a regular no 3. Misbah is at 4, Sohaib Maqsood at 5 and Umer Akmal at 6. Only person that you can replace in long run has to be Misbah and I do not see him being dropped in near future. Of course, you can drop Sharjeel and promote Hafeez to open and play fawad at 3. Again the problem will be that with Shahzad now taking his time at the start of the innings. If Hafeez gets out early, we will have to go through a patch of some thirty overs where run rate will be < 3

  • xylofon on March 6, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    It its understandable that people are talking about Afridi considering his once in a blue moon performance the other day (ok two of them including against India) but it puts Ahmed Shehzads peformance a bit under shadow as well as Fawad Alams. Ahmed Shehzad has taken a cowards approach lately to have a really low strike rate in the beginning of the matches which can pay off but could be disastrous if the gets out at 20-40 runs with strike rate 50 meaning having wasted space. With Fawad Alam however, he simply came in and starting taking singles and rotating strike. He means much more to Pakistans cause than Afridi. Some may not agree but techincally that is the way it is. Pakistan can rely on Fawads batting in a way they will never be able to with Afridi.

    How Fawad found the confidence to play such a hustling smart knock after such a long break I cannot understand. But thank you Fawad wherever you are!

  • Bilal_Choudry on March 6, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    I have seen all the matches mentioned above and what Osman doesnt mention is the amount of runs made by saleem jaffer in 86 ... that is the only game I remember him scoring runs ... as for fawad alam I think he might have a future now given that Swann has retired .. I am sure Osman would remember how Swann had fun with him more than once .... also somebody please find Alam a sponsor that can get a helmet and a bat his size

  • on March 6, 2014, 12:59 GMT

    it's fantastic to see the, pardon my language "lesser players" being written about, somehow the century maker and the always the 2nd quickest 50 scorer didn't manage so much footage.

    Great character great result.

  • dual.citizen on March 6, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    Wonderful article flows like a mountain stream. Only thing I want to add that Asif Mujtaba did not live upto his potential as dictated by first class averages, he one of minority cases who don't. Whileas, Fawd Alam has been successful in his short not to talk of big century on debut as against Asif who never scored a century in hn internals in his entire career. I was compelled to add this because some readers might think of Fawad being in the shadow of Asif, perhaps inferior a bit because of "clumsy stance" etc. Oh! he is a super batsman we direly need in the middle and upfront if one of the openers fails.

  • on March 6, 2014, 12:30 GMT

    Osama I like you article and I agree Fawad might be a good test player but not a good ODI player. Like most Pakistanis you also have a very short memory, Can you recall why is he dropped from pakistan ODI team in 2010. In third ODI between Pakistan and SA at dubai he scored 59 not out from 67 balls, Score might look ok but Pakistan lost the match chasing only 229 they end up getting 226. Fawad Alam was there till the end but he was not been able to hit a single boundary in his last 20 odd balls, slowing Pakistan till defeat. In next two matches he only managed 6 and 1 to his name. The difference between Asif and Fawad is EXACTLY that, Asif finished matches and Fawad Can't, Last innings was just against Bangladesh, wait and see how he crumble under pressure against quality attacks as he did many times in his 68 match career (and this figure 68 clearifies that fact that he was given enough chances)

  • on March 6, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    An apt comparison of 'work-man' like but under-rated cricketers Mujtaba n Alam...Fawad 's ings the other day can be summed up in one word:sensible...Javed Miandad, considering Fawad's ability, was the driving force in his selection and removal of 1 year ban after 8 months... Alam ings was a good lesson for Misbah about how to plan the chase as a typical middle-order bat..Hope he is allowed to play a couple of series ( and hopefully with some luck) to cement his place in the side...His inclusion means , MSB can play with a 3rd support seamer like Anwar Ali to further strengthen the weak batting , rather than his present flawed plan of 6 bowl and a loooonnng tail....

  • Morfi on March 6, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    Brilliantly done, Osman, once again - comparing him with a Pakistani legend of yore. Here is another comparison for fans - someone remember Neil Fairbrother of old? 1992 world cup for england as a case in point - Lefthended middle order batsman - socred a 100 without blinking an eye with almost no boundaries and at run-a-ball.

    Also, does Alam model himself against a batting giant? - his stance, not the least and his 168 on debut v Sri Lanka mirror a certain Shiv - Chanderpaul....

    dont think he deserves to be left out of this team for some time now - both in tests and ODIs. In tests he can be a vital no. 6 and bein leftie is an advantage in an all right (pun-intended) batting line-up esp w Asad Shafiq - another Karachi brother being a bit iffy

  • AH_USA on March 6, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    "How Pakistan, with that frail lower-middle order, have believed for so long they are better off without even giving him a run is the most remarkable thing in all this."

    Osman, you were too gentle in your underlying complain. When you have utter incompetent people like Ijaz Butt running the affairs of PCB, you would know that talent would starve. It was Ijaz Butt who had kept Younis Khan out because of his personal grudge against him. It all goes back to how politics has destroyed cricket in Pakistan over so many years. Ian Chapel had once said that in the past 20 years, the most talent has come out of Pakistan and he was dead right. We on the other hand, keep suffocating this talent by having incompetent people running the affairs and the sad thing is that it is not going to change.

  • Ubaidaleem on March 6, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    I am not sure Fawad is the right choice. I saw him struggle to the level of embarrassment against right arm off spinner (Swan in particular)

  • on March 6, 2014, 11:03 GMT

    I highly value Fawad's ability to rotate strike. This i s type of batsman you want on non striker end when your hitters are on wicket.

  • Impartialpk on March 6, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    Good article, excellent comparative analysis

  • on March 6, 2014, 10:19 GMT

    Fawad is a committed player and he should replace Malik in the squad. He is no Umar Akmal or Afridi who would on their day win the games single handed. He is a kind of guy who is going to provide the middle order some much needed stability and he brings in one thing no other batsman in our team has. Yes you guessed it right, to rotate strike and find the gaps. With this quality he can partner with the likes of Afridi, Akmal, Hafeez etc who look to play shots and need an anchoring person on the other end. Though he needs to work very hard on his bowling as it lacks bite, maybe he should look to flight the ball more and also develop an arm ball as well.

  • on March 6, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    Good read. Sir, you forgot Mujtaba's epic innings against SA in 1993, Pakistan's first tour to SA. At Port Elizabeth, I guess, Pakistan lost 3-4 quick wickets and then, he scored 70 odd. During that innings his partnership of 150 plus or around with Miandad (Who scored one of the best ODI centuries) was integral for Pakistan to hoist a reasonable target. Pakistan won that match.

  • on March 6, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    Very nice article , great to see Osmam writing a bit more frequently on cricinfo. Crafters must need more appreciation in Pakistan , be it Shoaib Muhammad, Asif Mujtaba or Fawad Alam. I remember that 6 against Austalia, and still rank it higher than Afridi's six , only 2nd to Javed's. Reason it was against Aust in Aust with no 11. Anyways Fawad must be given more chances even in Test cricket. we need a Bevan like role from him. (And i m from Punab) :) And well i always believe Moik khan should never have played when Rashid Latif was fit, atleast in tests. And i beleive Akmal brothers must be rested in tests, and Sarfraz should play.

  • on March 6, 2014, 9:39 GMT

    It still hurts me when I remember what they did with a talent like Basit Ali.

  • fair_paly_1 on March 6, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    Hassan Rafique Mir

    "a batsman should have the ability to hit boundaries when required"

    I don't think you know what you are talking about. After the match was over, Fawad was interviewed on TV. He said he was specifically told to keep taking ones and twos and stay there so he kept to the team plan. He said only when Umar Akmal joined him that he told Akmal that it's about time he starts playing big shots too. He hit two sixes after that.

  • AQ_786 on March 6, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Good article. Some very interesting points touched e.g. what strong captains like IK/MS-Dhoni want every player to fit their template... I think passion and commitment is the aspect of players like Fawad that adds an amazing spirit to the side.. attitude to me should have higher marks then brilliance. It also reminds me Asim Kamal, the guy with some talent we couldn't see much in action...

  • on March 6, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    While I agree with Hassan Rafique Mir, only will add here that the domestic players are good for asian conditions and opponents, however we must back complete batsmen to represent Pakistan in foreign conditions especially against Australia and South Africa. Some proven facts are that Shahid Afridi, Muhammad Hafeez,Khurram manzoor, Shoaib Malik and now Fawad Alam are automatic picks for Home and Asian series especially against Asian Opponents, but we need to nurture talents to follow in the lead of Muhammad Yousaf, Yunas Khan, Inzamam, Miandad and Saleem Malik to form the backbone of the batting unit. The best case among the availabe prospective list in my opinion include especially for bigger format, Azhar Ali, Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shahzad, Umer Akmal, Sarfaraz/Adnan Akmal as WK. We must consolidate our players except unusually.

  • on March 6, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    There was a territory of a batsman who can take singles on demand, lying vacant since ages in the middle order of Pak lineup, and that is one of the major reasons why Pak has not been able to succesfully chase down targets, but now I am hopeful that it is filled up by a very good batsman who can also bowl a bit when needed and not to forget he is a brilliant (probably the best in Pak) fielder as well...

  • jw76 on March 6, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    I am speaking from memory so not all the details are here. In the late eighties Pakistan A toured Zimbabwe in our pre-Test days. Zaheer Abbas was captain, but went home with an injury, and the captaincy was landed on Asif Mijtaba, aged about 19 or 20 and less than half the age of home captain John Traicos. Pakistan A won two of the one-day series, Zimbabwe won two. Everything in the end depended on the last ball of the last match; Pakistan A needed six to win and Mujtaba was facing. You can guess what happened without my telling you.

  • on March 6, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    Fawad Alam looks like Joe Root( England)....not physically but his cricket approach too..

  • Nasir_Mahmood_Malik on March 6, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    Fawad Alam's numbers are great in little chance he has got in Tests and ODIs. From his performance against Bangladesh in last game, and in order to have somebody solid but able to rotate strike, he is best option for number 3 in both tests and ODIs.

  • on March 6, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    An excellent piece. It is a pity that due to politics in our cricket set up talent of Asif Mujtaba not utilized properly. Same is happening with Fawad Alam. Fortunately he got another chance and it is a sigh of relief for his fan.s that he grab the opportunity with both hands. I think team should groom Fawad as a permanent No.4 with a clear mandate for him to try and play maximum overs and the power players can play around him with confidence that a player capable of holding the innings together is on the crease.Also time is now ripe to bring back Fawad in test squad.

  • bouncer709 on March 6, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    I remember that match when Mujtaba hit six of last ball, but unfortunately I was listening radio commentary and could not watch on TV. Fawad Alam is talented player, though he seems and people think he could not hit sixes but I think he can and then proved it after Afridi got out, and release all the pressure from new batsmen Umer Akmal too. Imran Khan observation abuout Saeed Anwar was also wrong, In Saeed Anwars early career Imran khan was thinking he is fluke and have no proper batting technique. Saeed Anwar got proper chances in team after Imrans retirement. and everyone know Saeed Anwar. Fawad Alam can have place in team in all 3 formats.

  • Salman_Shakeel84 on March 6, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    Fawad Played a superb knock in chase against Bangladesh. When Afridi was in middle, it was looking as if Fawad could not hit sixes (Even commentators were saying that he does not have material for sixes) but why not earth in the presence of In form Afridi , would some set batsman risk ? The order of the day was to give strike back to Afridi which Fawad did without any trouble at all. Very smart.

    When Afridi got out, Fawad switched ON his massive hitting mode. He hit two MASSIVE SIXES which were decisive blow on Bangladesh and from those two sixes , Pakistan never looked back.

    It was one of the most heroic efforts of Fawad Alam and he won so many hearts.

    I often say that Pakistan batting line up has immense talent but at the same time it lacks immense maturity and wiseness Where as Fawad definitely showed Maturity , wiseness in his brilliant innings.

    If Fawad is consistent in his performance, I foresee him as a future captain!Bravo Fawad , You made Pakis proud.Love and Respect!

  • on March 6, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    his first class avg is 55+,list A avg is 47+, he can bowl too, very handy player for pakistan

  • on March 6, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    World would never understand what the selection process in Pakistan cricket is exactly about.

    Fawad Alam is just one such example, amid truckloads of talented players lost to indifference of Selectors. There is chaos in Pakistan literally in every walk of life. And worst of all People seem to love this chaos, unmindful of the loss it incurs. The Rise Of Afridi as a hero (though he is one of my fav cricketers nonetheless) is one such case, he wreaks havoc and organises a chaos and people forget everything else. Hope this time Fawad is appreciated and given atleast a run of few series.

    Lets Hope!!!

  • on March 6, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    good article. fawad is a good cricketer. a busy batsman. thats what you want from your middle order batsman. he was almost scoring run a ball with out hitting too hard. his commitment on wicket was amazing.

    to me, the selection criteria should be domestic performance. there is no other way you can judge a new player or any player. and his selection in justified. having record domestic stats. been top performer for few seasons now. so he should have been selected. some on mentioned that he cant score boundaries at will. pakistans issue is that we have too many players who can score boundaries at will but unnecessary at times. look at last 17 matches, (SA, sa in sa, and sl & asia cup) we have lost about 5 matches from strong positions just playing silly shots and trying to hit. we dont need all batsman of same type.

    he should be selected in test side as well and should be given proper chances. cant select a batsman with 30 avg in domestic ahead of him.

  • on March 6, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    Fawad Alam is a much better batsman than Asif Mujtaba

  • on March 6, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    Amazing article. We as a nation are enchanted by the brash and the flashy (literally those who flash outside their off-stump). Only West Indies can tell that Chanderpaul is as important as is Gayle. We need to acknowledge the importance of the unassuming and the workmanlike. Fawad Alam perfectly fits the bill...

  • pakricketer on March 6, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Hafeez, Ahmed Shahzad, Misbah, Umer, Bhatti, Abdur Rehman, Umer Gul, Junaid Khan are not from Karachi bro....the writer just told some facts, even I can write an article about the discrimination from the birth of cricket in PAK but dont want to start a debate and totally agreed that a good domestic performer should make a place in the team but it hurts when a performer is continuously in and out of the NATIONAL TEAM. Just hate to see RAZZAQUE not a part of the team (Even he is not from Karachi)....Osman you really nailed it bro....Keep writing and researching.

  • on March 6, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    One innings from this guy and people have started writing articles about him. Seriously ?? If you understand cricket you can easily say that he gets stuck within himself if the bowler bowls at good line / length. His previous innings was really good and he played out of his skin for which eh should be applauded but I never ever want a batsman in the side who has to rely on others to clean his ...... What I mean to say is that a batsman should have the ability to hit boundaries when required. I am sure after a few matches his same vulnerability would be exploited big time when he faces better opposition which will put the pressure on others to take care of the run rate. Ironically Pakistan's most successful batsman in the series is batting at 7 which is totally insane. As far as selection is concerned, I think now its unfair to say that the kids from Karachi do not get a fair chance. Its totally ridiculous . Look at the Dolphins they have 9 international players so please stop this crap

  • on March 6, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    Fawad Alam looks like Ravindra Jadeja. For a moment i thought Jadeja switched teams. lol

  • on March 6, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    It was little unfair regarding Imran Khan.@fkhawaja, because of you guys Pakistan cricket is going down. You support only your cities, not the country which is shameful. Today, Dav whatmore said that this is detriment to Pakistan cricket team. Karachi lobby wants their player in team while Lahore lobby wants their player. And this people are ruthless, and not nationalist. Because of you people we have to tolerate player like imran farhat. There are a lot of great players from lower Punjab, luchistan, and Fata. They deserve to be in team, but they dont get in because of people like you. It should be a Pakistan team. If someone perform well he should play in national team, and justify himself.

  • pakricketer on March 6, 2014, 6:04 GMT

    "Also, he was versatile enough to defy specialisation. But mostly it was because he was the collateral damage of Imran Khan's idea of what a young player should be: brash and brave, extravagantly gifted; and Mujtaba was none of those. Javed Miandad, of course, loved him. In those two sentences alone is written many a career epitaph."

    The Best Part.. Best, I think is not the appropriate word...Anyways, Brilliantly written.....

  • on March 6, 2014, 5:45 GMT

    Osman great article...love reading the history ...

  • on March 6, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    Fawad Alam is one of my favourite players & it's great to see him back in the side. I really hope Pakistan keep him in the side & all going well he can transfer his domestic form to the international game.

  • fkhawaja on March 6, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    One would not like to discuss politics in pak cricket , but i think it remains a fact that lahore v karachi is a big isssue in selection. mostly the lahore people get more chances and karachi lads get looked over .

  • on March 6, 2014, 5:39 GMT

    very well written but I do believe Fawad Alam is capable of acheiving much more than Asif Mujtaba a century on debut as you mentioned is evidence of that given a proper chance he can end up scoring over 10,000 international runs.

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  • on March 6, 2014, 5:39 GMT

    very well written but I do believe Fawad Alam is capable of acheiving much more than Asif Mujtaba a century on debut as you mentioned is evidence of that given a proper chance he can end up scoring over 10,000 international runs.

  • fkhawaja on March 6, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    One would not like to discuss politics in pak cricket , but i think it remains a fact that lahore v karachi is a big isssue in selection. mostly the lahore people get more chances and karachi lads get looked over .

  • on March 6, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    Fawad Alam is one of my favourite players & it's great to see him back in the side. I really hope Pakistan keep him in the side & all going well he can transfer his domestic form to the international game.

  • on March 6, 2014, 5:45 GMT

    Osman great article...love reading the history ...

  • pakricketer on March 6, 2014, 6:04 GMT

    "Also, he was versatile enough to defy specialisation. But mostly it was because he was the collateral damage of Imran Khan's idea of what a young player should be: brash and brave, extravagantly gifted; and Mujtaba was none of those. Javed Miandad, of course, loved him. In those two sentences alone is written many a career epitaph."

    The Best Part.. Best, I think is not the appropriate word...Anyways, Brilliantly written.....

  • on March 6, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    It was little unfair regarding Imran Khan.@fkhawaja, because of you guys Pakistan cricket is going down. You support only your cities, not the country which is shameful. Today, Dav whatmore said that this is detriment to Pakistan cricket team. Karachi lobby wants their player in team while Lahore lobby wants their player. And this people are ruthless, and not nationalist. Because of you people we have to tolerate player like imran farhat. There are a lot of great players from lower Punjab, luchistan, and Fata. They deserve to be in team, but they dont get in because of people like you. It should be a Pakistan team. If someone perform well he should play in national team, and justify himself.

  • on March 6, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    Fawad Alam looks like Ravindra Jadeja. For a moment i thought Jadeja switched teams. lol

  • on March 6, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    One innings from this guy and people have started writing articles about him. Seriously ?? If you understand cricket you can easily say that he gets stuck within himself if the bowler bowls at good line / length. His previous innings was really good and he played out of his skin for which eh should be applauded but I never ever want a batsman in the side who has to rely on others to clean his ...... What I mean to say is that a batsman should have the ability to hit boundaries when required. I am sure after a few matches his same vulnerability would be exploited big time when he faces better opposition which will put the pressure on others to take care of the run rate. Ironically Pakistan's most successful batsman in the series is batting at 7 which is totally insane. As far as selection is concerned, I think now its unfair to say that the kids from Karachi do not get a fair chance. Its totally ridiculous . Look at the Dolphins they have 9 international players so please stop this crap

  • pakricketer on March 6, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Hafeez, Ahmed Shahzad, Misbah, Umer, Bhatti, Abdur Rehman, Umer Gul, Junaid Khan are not from Karachi bro....the writer just told some facts, even I can write an article about the discrimination from the birth of cricket in PAK but dont want to start a debate and totally agreed that a good domestic performer should make a place in the team but it hurts when a performer is continuously in and out of the NATIONAL TEAM. Just hate to see RAZZAQUE not a part of the team (Even he is not from Karachi)....Osman you really nailed it bro....Keep writing and researching.

  • on March 6, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    Amazing article. We as a nation are enchanted by the brash and the flashy (literally those who flash outside their off-stump). Only West Indies can tell that Chanderpaul is as important as is Gayle. We need to acknowledge the importance of the unassuming and the workmanlike. Fawad Alam perfectly fits the bill...