Pakistan news May 13, 2012

Faisal Iqbal, Mohammad Ayub keen to impress

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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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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???

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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???

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • on May 14, 2012, 23:03 GMT

    why is ayub being given a chance. His record in list a and t20 is mediocre. First class career pretty good though. On top of that, the man is 32. More negatives than positives.

  • on May 14, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    I think the test playing xi shoulid b the same as it was in U.A.E against England and i dont think the team is bad but i would coment on IMRAN NAZIR he is so well inT20 and ODI he must be brought back in the side

  • SyedAbidHussain on May 14, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    Non-sensical !!! Looks like the primary criteria to get selected into Pakistan's national squad is to be 30+ years :P:P:P . Batting is Pakistan's 2nd biggest problem, but the BIGGEST problem is unarguably "Fielding" !!! They keep dropping 4 catches/miss 2 run-outs in a match on an average. Fawad, Shehzad & Umar Akmal are the best fielders they have got. These 3 guys are equally talented than those oldies and have an added advantage in their fielding abilities and ofcourse a long-term resource. Has PCB gone brainless completely !!! Farhat, Toufeeq Umar, Faisal Iqbal and Sami have been given innumerable chances in the past. But they have always failed. Even Afridi has a better Test record than these 4 players !! Now coming to ODIs, Is this not the right time to prepare for next world cup, coz these oldies might not be fit enough to play till next world-cup. But we dont find any young fast bowler being given chance in ODIs, on the contrary Hammad is drop

  • on May 14, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    Absolute Rubbish! An average of 26 after 26 matches. Even Afridi has it better in Tests, and he can bowl as well. Frankly, whenever Faisal Iqbal is selected, the whole teams goes down the drain..... @Ammar Saeed, Anwer Ali was a wonderful performer but he lost his energy and spike after moving on from the junior world cup.... Thats probably why....

  • Hassan.Farooqi on May 14, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    The only person who has really proved himself and yet is sitting out is Fawad Alam. I understand Mohsin had a grudge with his father Fawad Alam and still can not get over it, but now times have changed. The current selectors need not carry the bagge of Mohsin Khan.

  • on May 14, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    the selection of faisal iqbal is absolute rubbish. a test average of 26 after 26 tests. he has disappointed time and again. he should be replaced with the likes of ahmed shehzad and usman salahuddin.

  • on May 14, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    i think crick is always open for good player ayoub dont worry you are the best now we know but after time should every 1 know aboyt u

  • on May 14, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    @Ammar Saeed...Anwar Ali performed well in the junior cup.Yes! but has he even performed again ?? that was more of a one-match-wonder, he has been playing first class cricket since..and hasnt performed as well, despite the years. I dont hate Anwar Ali, but Seriously...dont just look at Facebook posts and start cursing ur own country as talent destroyers..literally

  • ARIF3011 on May 14, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Friends, Test team should have a blend of experience and youth. It's fair. But here we are talking about Faisal whose experience in test cricket is more of making comebacks than playing in it. Ayub being 32 cannot be taken as experienced because he is going there as debutant. Test cricket is different ball game. So a 22 years player with 10 test matches at his back will be treated as "experienced" in comparison to a 32 year old debutant. I would prefer not to play Ayub due to him being a dead investment for future. So, i dream for a team where 2 players from 19-20 age group making debut, 3-4 players with 50+ test experience and rest in mid-twenties with 20-25 test at their back. By the time seniors retire, middle group will take their position and juniors will move up to make way for more debutants. Will this dream ever come true?

  • _faraz on May 14, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    Third and may be the last comeback for Faisal but i believe that he is capable enough to answer his critics.

  • pak94fan on May 14, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    Agree with the comments here mostly, I'm not a fan of pushing youngsters immediately into the team though, but someone like Fawad Alam definitely deserves a chance over these guys... You gotta feel for him, performing day in day out in first class and limited overs at a consistently high level, then he isn't picked. He has the potential to be a top-class international (left-handed) middle order batsman, something the Pakistan team has had a serious lack of during the past few years. Oh well, hope the SL tour goes well... there is a lot of competition in the middle order and Younis and Shafiq specifically will be feeling the other guys breathing down their necks, might help them to become a little more consistent.

  • AB-14 on May 14, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    stark62,I totally agree with u . U also need to mention that AHMED SHEAZAD,YRS=20 AVG 45.AND pcb wants experience, fawad alam has 80 test matches PCB HAS GONE MAD!!

  • thair9999 on May 14, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    @ Hameed Sheikh BCCP????? Sure PCB needs to wake up and try some youngster and try to infuse new blood, these 30+ year are not for long run.

  • on May 14, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    Has anyone noticed??..there's a very talented bowler Anwer Ali, probably the same who performed excellently well in junior world cup....but has not been shortlisted...wht a waste of talent...we are master at destroying our own players...

  • on May 14, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    WAke up BCCP you are giving old hose chance again.Why dont you give chances to youngesters who are on the verge of knocking at the door of test cricket.Is Miandad so strong to surpass all facts and figure.Then better disband Selectors team and make Miadad Chief of everything.!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on May 14, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    mental toughness!!!!! Only Iqbal from Pakistaan

  • royalkda on May 14, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    M.Ayub is already 32yrs, wht he will do there?? Its might be Misbah 11. only recomanded peoples can be slected.its totally unfair.

  • on May 14, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    i ll go with experience in test team, so agree with Ayub & Faisal choce... ! Alam can be a great choice, he hit a away century in SL last time as opener...but Usman, Haris sohail, Yasin will have their chances after 5 years.

  • Meety on May 14, 2012, 1:02 GMT

    @stark62 - I am quite surprised Alam gets overlooked so much. IMO - when Pakistan had that disastrous tour of Oz a couple of years ago, he was far & away the most exciting batting prospect on show. He really looked the goods. I understand that there are a few new batsmen in the test team (Ali & Shafiq), who deserve a run, but cannot understand how he can't be in the squad. == == == Dropping Umar Akmal from the test team is not a bad thing, hopefully it should inspire him to improve (I think he can).

  • hamqad on May 14, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    Seriously? more deadwood? Faisal Iqbal, Sami, Ayub, is that the best a nation of 180m people has to offer? I fail to understand why we have such a defensive selection policy. Pakistan has always thrived on the exuberance of youth. Why do we have such a short term approach now? I can name 10 players who have done better in the domestic circuit than the likes of Sami, Ayub, Iqbal, are much younger, and have a brighter future. But i guess they will only be inducted in to the squad once they hit 30!.

  • Sinhaya on May 14, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    Shocking disgusting decision by the PCB! Why on earth is it that Usman Salahuddin, Babar Azam and Hammad Azam who are young promising batsmen and not given a chance?? These 3 I just said have the potential to make future Pakistani batting stronger as batting has been a week link of Pakistan! As a Lankan who adores Pakistan I am simply shocked and stunned not to see Usman Salahuddin in particular. @Starck62 I am fully with you.

  • bulldawgs on May 13, 2012, 22:28 GMT

    Stark62, these oldies were selected because their average age is higher! not their batting average

  • zaheerthetop on May 13, 2012, 22:00 GMT

    I think they should not think about Faizal Iqbal he is use less player for int standards. U.Salahuddin must get chance he is 21 years of old.Common PCB wake up

  • on May 13, 2012, 21:53 GMT

    Faisal Iqbal , common not again

  • on May 13, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    usman salauddin should get a chance

  • Shrekk on May 13, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    @Stark62 Thank god there are other people who think like me...PCB decisions started to convince me I was the insane one...Fawad Alam is the most promising long-term test prospect right now..and what do they do?? From what I rmbr, there was a certain tour where they didn't play him in the tests, they didn't play him in the ODIs, instead they played him in the t20 and when he somewhat failed there, they dropped him later for good...seriously WHAT IS WRONG? That guy is NOT a t20 or odi batsman but HE VERY MUCH IS a test player!! An avg of 57! What could've he done to be snubbed in favor of grandpa Ayub? Even in whatever irregular and unimportant matches he has played in, he averages 41 in tests and 38 in odis..where's a better batsman than this? And then Misbah still in the t20 team, and another chance for Faisal?? Inexplicable..

  • ejsiddiqui on May 13, 2012, 21:21 GMT

    I have not seen Ayub bat, but looking at his performances across many years, He should be a very good and experienced batsman.

    He deserves a chance, Other talented guys like Fawad Alam or Usman Salahudin have enough time to represent Pakistan.

    A batsmen should be selected after the performances in at-least 3 years of first class cricket.

  • on May 13, 2012, 21:02 GMT

    funny how the new pres is doing the same thing

  • Pak121 on May 13, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    @Stark62 its not even the fact that they are too old in faisal iqbals case, its the fact that hes been given 26 test matches to make his name and he only has an average of 26! thats the standard of a kenyan player or a netherlands player.To be honest though i doubt they will get a change to play, because shafiq and azhar are cemented at the moment and taufeeq is good against sri lankans

  • Stark62 on May 13, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    Let compare these guys average with some youngsters!

    Faisal- 30yrs, 40.33....Ayub-32yrs, 44.33////// F. Alam-26yrs, 57.43.....U. Salahuddin- 21yrs, 52.87........H. Sohail- 23yrs, 46.46.......N. Yasin-24yrs, 45.44

    So, why were these oldies chosen again?

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  • Stark62 on May 13, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    Let compare these guys average with some youngsters!

    Faisal- 30yrs, 40.33....Ayub-32yrs, 44.33////// F. Alam-26yrs, 57.43.....U. Salahuddin- 21yrs, 52.87........H. Sohail- 23yrs, 46.46.......N. Yasin-24yrs, 45.44

    So, why were these oldies chosen again?

  • Pak121 on May 13, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    @Stark62 its not even the fact that they are too old in faisal iqbals case, its the fact that hes been given 26 test matches to make his name and he only has an average of 26! thats the standard of a kenyan player or a netherlands player.To be honest though i doubt they will get a change to play, because shafiq and azhar are cemented at the moment and taufeeq is good against sri lankans

  • on May 13, 2012, 21:02 GMT

    funny how the new pres is doing the same thing

  • ejsiddiqui on May 13, 2012, 21:21 GMT

    I have not seen Ayub bat, but looking at his performances across many years, He should be a very good and experienced batsman.

    He deserves a chance, Other talented guys like Fawad Alam or Usman Salahudin have enough time to represent Pakistan.

    A batsmen should be selected after the performances in at-least 3 years of first class cricket.

  • Shrekk on May 13, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    @Stark62 Thank god there are other people who think like me...PCB decisions started to convince me I was the insane one...Fawad Alam is the most promising long-term test prospect right now..and what do they do?? From what I rmbr, there was a certain tour where they didn't play him in the tests, they didn't play him in the ODIs, instead they played him in the t20 and when he somewhat failed there, they dropped him later for good...seriously WHAT IS WRONG? That guy is NOT a t20 or odi batsman but HE VERY MUCH IS a test player!! An avg of 57! What could've he done to be snubbed in favor of grandpa Ayub? Even in whatever irregular and unimportant matches he has played in, he averages 41 in tests and 38 in odis..where's a better batsman than this? And then Misbah still in the t20 team, and another chance for Faisal?? Inexplicable..

  • on May 13, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    usman salauddin should get a chance

  • on May 13, 2012, 21:53 GMT

    Faisal Iqbal , common not again

  • zaheerthetop on May 13, 2012, 22:00 GMT

    I think they should not think about Faizal Iqbal he is use less player for int standards. U.Salahuddin must get chance he is 21 years of old.Common PCB wake up

  • bulldawgs on May 13, 2012, 22:28 GMT

    Stark62, these oldies were selected because their average age is higher! not their batting average

  • Sinhaya on May 14, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    Shocking disgusting decision by the PCB! Why on earth is it that Usman Salahuddin, Babar Azam and Hammad Azam who are young promising batsmen and not given a chance?? These 3 I just said have the potential to make future Pakistani batting stronger as batting has been a week link of Pakistan! As a Lankan who adores Pakistan I am simply shocked and stunned not to see Usman Salahuddin in particular. @Starck62 I am fully with you.