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November 11, 2012
Fawad Alam scored a century in his debut Test for Pakistan in 2009, making 168 out of a total of 320 against Sri Lanka in Colombo after Pakistan were shot out for 90 in the first innings. He finished third on the batting charts in Pakistan's premier domestic first-class tournament in 2011-12, with 945 runs at 67.50 for National Bank of Pakistan. This season, after six matches, he's on top of the run-scorers' table, his 446 runs coming at 51.77.
Yet Alam has only three Tests to his name, the last of which was in November 2009. Three Tests, 27 ODIs and 24 Twenty20s. He is considered more of a limited-overs player, despite not having made much of a mark in the shorter formats and despite his fine numbers in first-class cricket, which show his technique isn't flawed and he has the temperament to succeed in the long form.
'A cricket university at home'
Alam quashes the notion that he is a short-format player, and puts his lack of Test caps down to luck. "I've always wanted to be prominent, and I want gain this prominence by scoring heavily. I think my first-class career is evidence enough to dispel this false perception," he told ESPNcricinfo. "I have scored runs in difficult situations and won my national place in 2007. If I am away from the national side, it is perhaps because of my luck; otherwise I have scored enough.
"I don't even buy this point, that I am only getting a chance in the wrong format. Yes, I have more success in longest format of the game, but I have been scoring in all formats. Now I am doing everything I can to make a comeback. You ask in which format? That is what selectors have to decide. I just want to focus on my cricket."
So what kept him from cementing his place in international cricket? He's payed 51 limited-overs games between May 2007 and December 2010. Former and current selectors believe that Alam was short-changed when compared with the other well-established limited-overs players in the team. "In the presence of the [Shahid] Afridi, [Abdul] Razzaq, Umar Akmal it was bit hard for him to step up and match them in limited-overs cricket," a former selector said. "These days ODI and T20 cricket demand some big hitting, which we need to see from Fawad. Otherwise he is good all-round cricketer in the longer format of the game. His temperament is well-suited for multiple days of cricket."
Alam leads National Bank of Pakistan in the President's Trophy, and is clear about the importance of his role as captain. "I believe cricket carries a lot of emotions and the captain is like a mother who always backs even if you are falling and that is a key to thrive. My hundred on debut was the result of Younis bhai's trust in me. Being a captain, he worked hard with me and helped me in the nets. I don't think any captain does that these days - he is legend and a great human being."
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