Pakistan news August 29, 2013

Faisal Iqbal hopes to carve out spot for himself

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Another tour, another opportunity and more hope for middle-order batsman Faisal Iqbal to find his identity within the Pakistan team. Since his debut in 2001, Faisal operated mostly as a "replacement player", in the shadow of Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq, and was never able to cement his place in the team.

He has played 26 Test matches over the past 12 years. He last played for Pakistan in 2010 but was part of the Test squad for last one year without being part of the playing XI. He was retained in the squad for the two-match Test series against Zimbabwe but uncertainty looms over his chances to play. Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq and Misbah-ul-Haq ahead of Iqbal in the pecking order to occupy the middle-order spots, while Mohammad Hafeez and Khurram Manzoor will mostly be preferred to open the innings. Should he get the chance, the Zimbabwe Tests, he knows, could be crucial for his career.

"I always have been treated as a replacement in past. I was actually groomed to take over from Inzamam or Yousuf once they were done with their careers, but unfortunately I have been deprived," Iqbal told ESPNcricinfo. "For most of my career, since my [international] debut, I have kept waiting for a proper slot so that I could play as a permanent player, and I am obviously disappointed. But I am always optimistic and ready to grab the chance.

"It would be great to get games in succession to prove myself. I obviously won't be looking at Zimbabwe as an easy opponent as, for a batsman, it's all about one good ball. They are after all an international side and every run is important against them. I have plenty of experience and even scored an ODI hundred in Zimbabwe, so things won't be alien for me."

Iqbal, who is a nephew of former captain Javed Miandad, had a prolific career at junior level, from his time with the Under-15s. But his time with the seniors has, for the most part, been overshadowed by allegations of nepotism, something Faisal describes as a "daunting factor" and one of the major blows for his career.

"I might have been victimised in past and things have not been fair for me," he said. "I am a professional player and have never taken my cricket for granted. I have scored runs on the ground with my own hands, haven't I?"

He has often impressed on comeback: after his first recall in 2002, he scored 83 against Australia; then came 139 against India - the highlight of his career - which helped Pakistan to a 341-run victory in Karachi in 2006. In that fateful series against Sri Lanka in early 2009, he scored a half-century in his first innings back. His problem, though, has been consistency. A lack thereof has resulted in him being repeatedly dropped.

Faisal will be hoping to get his chance on September 3, when Pakistan face off against Zimbabwe in Harare for the first of two Tests. This time, he'll hope to make that good start and go on to build on it.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on September 2, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    @Asma Ahmad Virk - If you think Junaid Zia had potential, you don't know jack about cricket. The only part of your comment that I agree with is "Junaid Zia disappeared because of the same issues". That's right, but let me tell you what the issues were: 1) The guy wasn't good enough. 2) He simply wasn't good enough. 3) He just wasn't good enough. He shouldn't have played even school cricket with his flawed bowling action. He was a blatant chucker. He probably did it to add to his pace but despite throwing the ball instead of bowling it, he wasn't that quick. He was a medium pace chucker. He managed to play a few international matches courtesy of his father, but that is only as far as his father could take him. From there on, he needed to perform to survive which he couldn't. Although Faisal Iqbal is a little better cricketer than Junaid Zia, I think he's had his fair share of chances. Nonetheless, if he does well in the domestic circuit consistently, he has every right to be selected.

  • Crick_Expert on September 2, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    PAK TEST team should as 1)Hafeez 2)Nasir 3)Ahmed Shahzad/Shan Massood 4)Younis Khan 5)Misbah 6)Umar Amin/Soaib Maqsood 7)AFRIDI/Rehman/Ajmal 8)Sarfraz 9)Junaid 10)Wahab/Irfan

    Please don't include Asad Safiq, Sohail Tanvir, Fasaial Iqbal, Fawad etc..

  • Omar-Briganto on September 1, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    Neither Faisal Iqbal nor Fawad Alam deserve a chance in Pakistan team, they both are no good. Instead of these old tried and tested no talent players, they should be giving chances to other young guys.

    Fawad Alam had enough chances when Afridi and younas were captains and he could not prove that he is a top class player.

    They should have given a chance to Nasir Jamshed as an opener and make him train like a soldier because I feel he is lazy and does not train hard, he need to shed some serious amount of weight. He need some hard training plan, I am afraid he is on his way becoming a mini inzi.

  • on September 1, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    I have been missing Fawad Alam lately, his magnificent 168 did not deserve to be underrated to a large extent. Faisal Iqbal has been around here for like decades yet he is to settle down his pillars in the middle of the ground and score a technically correct hundred. I have seen him a long time ago and on different occasions. His 139 was a good knock and his ability to loft fast bowlers straight down the ground with minimal footwork is a highlight and has often led to his downfall. Still, I feel he should be given a chance, I would also like to see Fawad back in the squad but it would be hard to accommodate them in the line-up. Lets see what happens and I feel Mark Vermeulen should get another go at the Test level.

  • on September 1, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    There were too much expectations from this boy namely Faisal iqbal but he had never been to any close to that , he is of a little showman type player who want to be big on the others shoulder , and whenever he is fifty up he thinks he has done wonders and you can see a sea of changes in his attitude on the ground, he was given undue share of media and he never prove to be what we were expecting from his talent , disappointment and again given him another chance,AAH the selection.

  • avmd on August 31, 2013, 1:58 GMT

    I'm very worried, what if he scored some runs against the weak Zim bowling, we'll be stuck with him for another year or so and a talented young batsman will miss his chance.

  • musa7100 on August 30, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    I don't know on which performance they are taking Faisal Iqbal .he is taking the place of young fawad alam who averages 55 in first class.why they not are recommending fawad alam.

  • on August 30, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    there is such a good team in Pakistan but no one says anything Sami aslam, babar azam, Mohammed hafeez, Misbah up haq, Fawad alam hammad azam, Mohammed rizwan, Mohammed Amir, junaid khan, Mohammed Irfan, Rasa Hassan

    12 man haris sohail

    there is no need for ajmal and Afridi when you have four quality fast bowlers(Amir, azam, Irfan, unpaid) and an economical and wicket taking YOUNG spinner (hafeez and Hassan) and youngsters are willing to play cricket for there country, not for there salary

  • JungleGym on August 30, 2013, 3:14 GMT

    He was being groomed to replace Inzi? Faisal Iqbal was and remains a joke; no wonder people raise eye brows whenever he makes yet another comeback to the squad. Took us multiple series failures to finally get rid of Shoaib Malik! Back to square one... It's unfortunate!

  • Fahd on August 30, 2013, 3:08 GMT

    Faisal Iqbal, you don't deserve to be playing for Pakistan or playing International cricket. I wanted you to succeed when you started playing cricket, but you never justified your team selection. 26 test matches and 44 innings and only 1 century. How can that be a case to be included? You are lucky and Asim Kamal was unlucky. He proved to be a much better player than you in only 8 matches, but unfortunately, his career was also ruined by PCB. Fawad Alam seems to be another career that PCB is set to ruin. I would like to see talented players like Hammad Azam give more test chances for the future of Pakistan cricket. I hope Asad Shafiq plays instead of you in Zimbabwe.

  • on September 2, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    @Asma Ahmad Virk - If you think Junaid Zia had potential, you don't know jack about cricket. The only part of your comment that I agree with is "Junaid Zia disappeared because of the same issues". That's right, but let me tell you what the issues were: 1) The guy wasn't good enough. 2) He simply wasn't good enough. 3) He just wasn't good enough. He shouldn't have played even school cricket with his flawed bowling action. He was a blatant chucker. He probably did it to add to his pace but despite throwing the ball instead of bowling it, he wasn't that quick. He was a medium pace chucker. He managed to play a few international matches courtesy of his father, but that is only as far as his father could take him. From there on, he needed to perform to survive which he couldn't. Although Faisal Iqbal is a little better cricketer than Junaid Zia, I think he's had his fair share of chances. Nonetheless, if he does well in the domestic circuit consistently, he has every right to be selected.

  • Crick_Expert on September 2, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    PAK TEST team should as 1)Hafeez 2)Nasir 3)Ahmed Shahzad/Shan Massood 4)Younis Khan 5)Misbah 6)Umar Amin/Soaib Maqsood 7)AFRIDI/Rehman/Ajmal 8)Sarfraz 9)Junaid 10)Wahab/Irfan

    Please don't include Asad Safiq, Sohail Tanvir, Fasaial Iqbal, Fawad etc..

  • Omar-Briganto on September 1, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    Neither Faisal Iqbal nor Fawad Alam deserve a chance in Pakistan team, they both are no good. Instead of these old tried and tested no talent players, they should be giving chances to other young guys.

    Fawad Alam had enough chances when Afridi and younas were captains and he could not prove that he is a top class player.

    They should have given a chance to Nasir Jamshed as an opener and make him train like a soldier because I feel he is lazy and does not train hard, he need to shed some serious amount of weight. He need some hard training plan, I am afraid he is on his way becoming a mini inzi.

  • on September 1, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    I have been missing Fawad Alam lately, his magnificent 168 did not deserve to be underrated to a large extent. Faisal Iqbal has been around here for like decades yet he is to settle down his pillars in the middle of the ground and score a technically correct hundred. I have seen him a long time ago and on different occasions. His 139 was a good knock and his ability to loft fast bowlers straight down the ground with minimal footwork is a highlight and has often led to his downfall. Still, I feel he should be given a chance, I would also like to see Fawad back in the squad but it would be hard to accommodate them in the line-up. Lets see what happens and I feel Mark Vermeulen should get another go at the Test level.

  • on September 1, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    There were too much expectations from this boy namely Faisal iqbal but he had never been to any close to that , he is of a little showman type player who want to be big on the others shoulder , and whenever he is fifty up he thinks he has done wonders and you can see a sea of changes in his attitude on the ground, he was given undue share of media and he never prove to be what we were expecting from his talent , disappointment and again given him another chance,AAH the selection.

  • avmd on August 31, 2013, 1:58 GMT

    I'm very worried, what if he scored some runs against the weak Zim bowling, we'll be stuck with him for another year or so and a talented young batsman will miss his chance.

  • musa7100 on August 30, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    I don't know on which performance they are taking Faisal Iqbal .he is taking the place of young fawad alam who averages 55 in first class.why they not are recommending fawad alam.

  • on August 30, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    there is such a good team in Pakistan but no one says anything Sami aslam, babar azam, Mohammed hafeez, Misbah up haq, Fawad alam hammad azam, Mohammed rizwan, Mohammed Amir, junaid khan, Mohammed Irfan, Rasa Hassan

    12 man haris sohail

    there is no need for ajmal and Afridi when you have four quality fast bowlers(Amir, azam, Irfan, unpaid) and an economical and wicket taking YOUNG spinner (hafeez and Hassan) and youngsters are willing to play cricket for there country, not for there salary

  • JungleGym on August 30, 2013, 3:14 GMT

    He was being groomed to replace Inzi? Faisal Iqbal was and remains a joke; no wonder people raise eye brows whenever he makes yet another comeback to the squad. Took us multiple series failures to finally get rid of Shoaib Malik! Back to square one... It's unfortunate!

  • Fahd on August 30, 2013, 3:08 GMT

    Faisal Iqbal, you don't deserve to be playing for Pakistan or playing International cricket. I wanted you to succeed when you started playing cricket, but you never justified your team selection. 26 test matches and 44 innings and only 1 century. How can that be a case to be included? You are lucky and Asim Kamal was unlucky. He proved to be a much better player than you in only 8 matches, but unfortunately, his career was also ruined by PCB. Fawad Alam seems to be another career that PCB is set to ruin. I would like to see talented players like Hammad Azam give more test chances for the future of Pakistan cricket. I hope Asad Shafiq plays instead of you in Zimbabwe.

  • on August 29, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    For the love of everything that is holy, why isn't fawad Alam in all 3 squads. He is the only guy who can replace misbah in all 3 squads. How can u ignore his stats over a period of 7 years in the making. Unfortunately like everything in pak it's who u know n not wot u know. If this guy was continued with from the beginning like Akmals, azhars n asads he would have better stats than all 3 of them. Pls note that Iv compared him to the best talent in pak cricket in all 3 formats n not the usual crap we r seeing day in n out. Fawad if you reading then pls get a contract with a county team or something coz waiting for international call will waste another few years of your life. I'm surprised that your fellow Dawate Islami brethren have ignored you, namely misbah n co

  • Guduji71 on August 29, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    I don't know how can you compare him with the class of Javed Miandad. Faisal was given chance in 26 test matches what else do you need to prove yourself. He was not given chances consistently bec. his own performance was never consistent. His average at domestic level is not good enough was he not given chances consistently at first class level? He is one of those guys who just vinge like a suck baby. I think selectors should give chance to Umar Akmal in test matches and not let that good player go waste. Faisal was given chances when Inzi, M.Yousuf & Younus were in the middle order who should have selectors left out for Mr Faisal Iqbal. He is not even equal to half of their talent.

  • spellbinder76 on August 29, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    Buddy- you are lucky to be in the side ciourtsy Javed Miandad, Iqbal Qasim and Salim Jafer the three Karachiates. But in doing so they have injustice to budding youngsters like Fawad Alam. @What a shame.

  • Mel-waas on August 29, 2013, 18:00 GMT

    I think Faisal Iqbal will cement his place in the side on this tour and do a wonderful job of carrying drinks and towels. After this great performance, he will become a permanent 12th man in Pakistan side for a long time to come. Faisal Iqbal Zindabad.

  • on August 29, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    Personally I am not even sure why he is in the test squad. He has had his opportunities for Pakistan both in tests and ODIs and his record is very average. Instead of Faisal Iqbal I would have preferred if batsmen like Umar Akmal, Nasir Jamshed, Haris Sohail and possibly Fawad Alam are given opportunities to play in the test XI. In his case and probably in most cases it is not necessarily your talent which gets you into the team. For example I do not think Mohammed Hafeez or Adnan Akmal should be in test team. In place of Adnan Akmal I would have Sarfraz Ahmed. It is unfair to Sarfraz that he went on a tough tour to South African and Adnan Akmal is given opportunity against minnow Zimbabwe. He is more likely to score runs against Zimbabwe and if he does he will end up being selected against Sri Lanka and South Africa later in the year. In my opinion Sarfraz looks a better batsman than Adnan and he should be given a longer run as wicket keeper / batsman in the test XI to proof himself.

  • on August 29, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    Sorry Faisal you cant make the team now..! Azhar,Asad,Yunus and misbah will bat at 3-6....! And Fawad alam,Usman Salahuddin,Umar Amn and Haris are in line after anyone in Above names gets injured..! I dont know why they didnt pick Fawad alam at Faisal Iqbals place. O_o

  • on August 29, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    hmmmm. i dont think he can. fawad alam, umar akmal, and many other youngsters like haris sohail, are in line. and in current squad i dont see him in playing 11 unless some one is injured. he is a replacement player mainly in for some unknown reasons.

  • MurtaMac on August 29, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    Nothing against you but if you represent my country you need to be at least a decent player. You have major flaws. You whip everything on the on side and your play is virtually non existent on the off (besides upishly driving and nicking off to slip / keeper). If you do well in this series, you will only hold the National team and a budding young cricketer down for the series against SA and SL. Once again nothing against you or Khurram Manzoor but you both have had way too many opportunities and are simply not good enough for this level.

  • on August 29, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    after an average of about 26 from 26 tests its clear Faisal Iqbal doesn't have what it takes to produce runs on a consistent basis. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq have done reasonably well. and IMO Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam are next in line once Misbah and Younis retire. Faisal Iqbal is a good FC cricketer but not good enough for test cricket.

  • on August 29, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    When he first came on the scene there was a remarkable likeness in his batting to that of Javed Miandad. The way he played Warne was impressive, and the way he carried himself on the field was 'Miandad-esque'. He was someone to compare with M Clarke. A batsman who had the ability to use his feet against the spinners and succeed.

    He hasn't been consistent, thats his biggest flaw. But the selection hasn't been consistent as well. And we can't forget that a dressing room like that of Pakistan would obviously have issues with Miandad's nephew. The management and the board staff would too. Thats how cricket is played in Pakistan. Junaid Zia disappeared because of the same issues, it wasn't that the guy had no potential to succeed. There was just too much against his father going on then.

    If he is given a chance, he has to grab it now. He is one of the really talented players Pakistan has wasted. I hope they manage to squeeze out whats left in him.

  • sramesh_74 on August 29, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    It must be really easy playing the role of Pakistani selector. Have a roster of 20 to 25 players. Keep rotating them every few years. Simple!!! Otherwise how can you explain the repeated appearance of players like Iqbal, Sohail Thanveer and Imran Farhat???

  • 11_Warrior on August 29, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    In about 4 months time he will turn 33. He has very poor test and ODI records. He is averaging less than 41 in FC cricket. Pak must invest in a player who is in the early or mid twenties rather than him.

  • on August 29, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    I wish he get a duck in every inning he plays.

  • anver777 on August 29, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    12 years in the international scene will certainly help him for a strong comeback.... hope he uses this chance & cement his spot permanently in the XI..... wishing him good luck !!!

  • on August 29, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    Has an average of 26 in Tests and 22 in ODI and he thinks that he has been victimized. Others have performed way better than him in domestic circuit and couldn't get a chance. He thinks he was groomed to take the place of Inzi and Yousuf .. said who ?? his uncle ofcourse !!!

  • on August 29, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Haven't done enough to be selected and have been given a golden chance and favor by selectors due to the influence of his uncle Mr Javed who is working at PCB. I think its unfair to people who have performed better than him in domestic circuit. He thinks of being victimized but I believe that because of him alot of others have been victimized !!!

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  • on August 29, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Haven't done enough to be selected and have been given a golden chance and favor by selectors due to the influence of his uncle Mr Javed who is working at PCB. I think its unfair to people who have performed better than him in domestic circuit. He thinks of being victimized but I believe that because of him alot of others have been victimized !!!

  • on August 29, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    Has an average of 26 in Tests and 22 in ODI and he thinks that he has been victimized. Others have performed way better than him in domestic circuit and couldn't get a chance. He thinks he was groomed to take the place of Inzi and Yousuf .. said who ?? his uncle ofcourse !!!

  • anver777 on August 29, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    12 years in the international scene will certainly help him for a strong comeback.... hope he uses this chance & cement his spot permanently in the XI..... wishing him good luck !!!

  • on August 29, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    I wish he get a duck in every inning he plays.

  • 11_Warrior on August 29, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    In about 4 months time he will turn 33. He has very poor test and ODI records. He is averaging less than 41 in FC cricket. Pak must invest in a player who is in the early or mid twenties rather than him.

  • sramesh_74 on August 29, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    It must be really easy playing the role of Pakistani selector. Have a roster of 20 to 25 players. Keep rotating them every few years. Simple!!! Otherwise how can you explain the repeated appearance of players like Iqbal, Sohail Thanveer and Imran Farhat???

  • on August 29, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    When he first came on the scene there was a remarkable likeness in his batting to that of Javed Miandad. The way he played Warne was impressive, and the way he carried himself on the field was 'Miandad-esque'. He was someone to compare with M Clarke. A batsman who had the ability to use his feet against the spinners and succeed.

    He hasn't been consistent, thats his biggest flaw. But the selection hasn't been consistent as well. And we can't forget that a dressing room like that of Pakistan would obviously have issues with Miandad's nephew. The management and the board staff would too. Thats how cricket is played in Pakistan. Junaid Zia disappeared because of the same issues, it wasn't that the guy had no potential to succeed. There was just too much against his father going on then.

    If he is given a chance, he has to grab it now. He is one of the really talented players Pakistan has wasted. I hope they manage to squeeze out whats left in him.

  • on August 29, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    after an average of about 26 from 26 tests its clear Faisal Iqbal doesn't have what it takes to produce runs on a consistent basis. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq have done reasonably well. and IMO Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam are next in line once Misbah and Younis retire. Faisal Iqbal is a good FC cricketer but not good enough for test cricket.

  • MurtaMac on August 29, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    Nothing against you but if you represent my country you need to be at least a decent player. You have major flaws. You whip everything on the on side and your play is virtually non existent on the off (besides upishly driving and nicking off to slip / keeper). If you do well in this series, you will only hold the National team and a budding young cricketer down for the series against SA and SL. Once again nothing against you or Khurram Manzoor but you both have had way too many opportunities and are simply not good enough for this level.

  • on August 29, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    hmmmm. i dont think he can. fawad alam, umar akmal, and many other youngsters like haris sohail, are in line. and in current squad i dont see him in playing 11 unless some one is injured. he is a replacement player mainly in for some unknown reasons.