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Faisal Iqbal, Mohammad Ayub keen to impress

Umar Farooq

May 13, 2012

Comments: 40 | Text size: A | A

Faisal Iqbal drives straight down the ground, Australia v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Sydney, 2nd day, January 4, 2010
Faisal Iqbal: "I have been surviving only because of my mental toughness." © Getty Images
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Faisal Iqbal, a middle-order batsman who is set to make his third comeback to the Pakistan team when they tour Sri Lanka this summer, is eager to cement his place in the Test side once and for all this time. Meanwhile Mohammad Ayub, who is set to debut on the same tour, is wary of the 'tight competition' in Pakistan's middle order.

Iqbal has played 26 Tests across the past decade, the last of which was in January 2010 and, he said, it took mental discipline to keep him going. "I have been surviving only because of my mental toughness," Iqbal told ESPNcricinfo. "In the past I have been playing mainly as a replacement player [in the national team], which is why I wasn't able to cement a permanent place. But now I think I can make it."

This recall has been triggered by Iqbal's steady performance in the Quaid-e-Azam 2011-12 season, where he averaged 46.87. He also scored two hundreds in the two games he played for Sind in the Faysal Bank Pentangular Cup, aggregating 263 runs at an average of 87.66 in the tournament.

"The last two years have been tough but I kept my fingers crossed and was optimistic, believing that Pakistan's doors are never shut on any active player," Iqbal said. "I kept my fitness levels high, never experimented with my position and scored all the runs as a specialist middle-order batsman."

Being the nephew of former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad only added to the pressure on him, Iqbal said, insisting that he didn't take any shortcuts as a result of this connection. "Being a nephew of Miandad, you [journalists] knew very well how my cricket suffered. It's very tough to cope with such pressure.

"I was a soft target for many and my selection was criticised on grounds of nepotism though my performance was a convincing one. All these things were setbacks to my career but at the same time I was getting mentally strong."

Ayub, 32, has been close to national selection for several years, having been among the top performers on the domestic circuit and having scored heavily since 2009. He was in contention even before the series against England in the UAE earlier this year.

"My performance was satisfactory for the last few years but being selected for national side wasn't in my control," Ayub told ESPNcricinfo. "Though my call-up to the national squad is a bit late, I think the chance being offered to me is fair enough and I am happy. I have been disappointed before and was hurt too each time I was snubbed, but remained optimistic that I will be rewarded for my hard work."

"The process of learning has never stopped. My cricket has matured, the key to my success is the experience I have got from playing an ample amount of first-class cricket."

Ayub understands that the Pakistan Test team is currently in good shape and he doesn't have too much time to establish himself. "Expectations are high and the competition is tight, but have faced a similar situation for many years. You have competition at every level. I have worked very hard and I deserved this chance, and I will live up to the expectations."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by codegreen on (May 16, 2012, 9:53 GMT)

And now after faisal iqbal and imran farhat, there remains only one man who is desperately required :Khurram Manzoor :-D

Posted by AB-14 on (May 16, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

@fawad22-why rameez raja jnr,he avg only 30 in list a while 27 in first class

Posted by   on (May 16, 2012, 8:32 GMT)

I agree with majority of the comments made, why does Pakistan pick players again and again that have failed over and over again.. E.g. faisal iqbal, imran farhat.. going by this I'm surprised they didn't pick kamran akmal AND make him captain

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (May 16, 2012, 5:24 GMT)

Faisal iqbal is waste of space.. why couldnt they add umer akmal or yousaf in his place???

Posted by Iddy on (May 15, 2012, 21:27 GMT)

I agree with most comments made about keep bringing back failures. One thing that i can never work out is someone please tell me why i repeat why is Imran Nazir not selected for odi and t20????????? he is absolute tailor made to open in the batting powerplays, a great fielder and young. Please don't waste anymore time than what has already been lost and give him a decent run in the odi's and t20's immediately.

Posted by   on (May 15, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

fawad alam should be given the chance instead of imran farhat.and imran nazir definately deserve a chance after his wonderful performance in bpl and domestic t20 league

Posted by saabir786 on (May 15, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

i cant understand the selection policy of pak absolutely non sense and very very poor guys like farhat,taufeeq omar,ayub and faisal iqbal are selected at this age.time to bring some more young talented players in the side

Posted by fawad22 on (May 15, 2012, 12:57 GMT)

Why Not Sadaf Hussain - he has 18.70 RPW. where is Sharjeel Khan and Rameez Raja Jr, PCB needs to give a FULL complete chance to a new player. players should be selected on 6 months basis to show their Talent and must give them chances in playing 11

Posted by   on (May 15, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

What has Fawad Alam done wrong, he has a very good international and domestic average and has the grit and determination to accumulate runs. He's not a fluent stroke maker but does get scores and plays for the team and hes the best fielder that pakistan has.

Posted by   on (May 15, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

Faisal again, Sami again, Farhat again, what on earth do the selectors think of the future of Pakistan cricket? they should go forward instead of doing silly things like that. The inclusion of new faces like Ansar, Raza Hassan, Rahat Ali an others is good, Ayub too is a bit late, infact very late.

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