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The Curious Case of Fawad Alam

Initially revealed in Daybreak 13/7/2020


 

Early March 2020 — Gaddafi Stadium

Fawad Alam sits alone on the dreary concrete steps in entrance of the press field at Gaddafi Stadium.

Within the age of individuals tearing down statues of 1 tradition’s previous heroes because of their sins in opposition to one other, it’s shocking that Gaddafi’s title nonetheless stands right here as a monument of nationalistic satisfaction.

No matter your views on naming your property cricket stadium after a non-cricketer with a polarising background, it doesn’t change the truth that sitting right here on these dreary concrete steps, Fawad Alam’s beard oil is glistening below the floodlights in his good facial hair.

One other Pakistan Tremendous League (PSL) match has been accomplished. The Lahore Qalandars, the T20 franchise with the worst win-loss file within the historical past of all T20 leagues globally, has simply defeated the present title-holders Quetta Gladiators.

Fawad was not concerned in any of the on-field battles. The PSL has lengthy rejected him. T20 globally has rejected him. He hasn’t performed a franchise match wherever on this planet since 2018.

What does Fawad Alam nonetheless need to do to show himself? Will the most-famous cricketer who by no means will get picked lastly get an opportunity to point out his value within the upcoming England tour?

He’s now starting his apprenticeship as a post-match host. Tiny insignificant interviews, that hardly final two minutes, with a participant after the match for a sponsor that we’ve already forgotten.

I’ve gotten to know Fawad throughout this PSL and sit subsequent to him.

“I wish to be higher in entrance of the digicam, such as you,” he says to me.

It’s not usually {that a} cricketer means that they wish to be taught something from me.

Adam Gilchrist as soon as requested me for suggestions on his first few matches as a Huge Bash commentator through a Twitter non-public message. I bear in mind displaying that message to a buddy on the time to examine that somebody wasn’t pranking me.

It’s a chilly night time in Lahore. I blush and pause for a second to contemplate how irrational Fawad’s feedback are.

“One of the best recommendation I used to be ever given was to take performing classes,” I reply. “It’s wonderful how effectively they enable you to current to an viewers you can not see by means of a lens.” It’s the finest I might give you. I’m no media starlet. What would I do know?

Months later, Fawad would seem in a Pakistani sitcom. I prefer to suppose that our dialog that night time perversely helped him get there.

We feature on the dialogue and share experiences for a couple of extra minutes. I’ve received to know Fawad considerably by means of this PSL season as we had ran into one another right here and there.

He’s a quiet and humble man. Devoted to health and exhausting work. His cricketing story is certainly one of unrequited love with the Pakistani nationwide groups. However he doesn’t level the finger, provide excuses or place blame on others.

“Insha’Allah, I’ll play for Pakistan once more.” He says these phrases with a cheeky smile. Many others in his state of affairs, in that sincere second, would have mentioned it forlornly.

However Fawad will not be like many others.

June 2016 – Lahore

The military camps are full. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spent almost US $100okay on them. That is severe stuff.

Coach Mickey Arthur mentioned that his squad wanted to deal with health with correct respect. No extra biryani. Extra time within the weights room. Cultural change is the goal.

Thirty-one gamers had been despatched to the camp. Half of the squad didn’t cross the health checks. Nevertheless, Fawad Alam, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan handed with flying colors.

Two of these gamers would in the end journey to England and depart a legacy that cricket will always remember. Salutes. Push-ups. A whole lot and double a whole bunch. A 2-2 Take a look at sequence draw away from residence.

A couple of months later, Pakistan can be ranked the primary Take a look at crew on this planet.

Fawad Alam missed out on choice for that tour. Iftikhar Ahmed took his spot. The official PCB line was that Iftikhar provided an off-spin choice. Apparently, part-time off-spin is a vital ability required for a batsman.

For the file, Fawad Alam’s First Class bowling strike charge is best than Pat Symcox’s Take a look at bowling strike charge.

Once I requested Mickey Arthur immediately why Fawad Alam wasn’t chosen for the tour, he instructed me that his approach wouldn’t stand as much as Anderson and Broad. Apparently, his approach isn’t world class sufficient.

It was a tough message to just accept.

Fawad averaged 56 within the Quaid-e-Azam trophy throughout the previous sequence. In truth, Fawad averages over 56 in his First Class profession. He has revamped 12,000 runs within the format. The stats present that Fawad passes 50 each third innings that he performs.

These are the numbers of a world class batsman.

I’m wondering what Mickey considered the strategies of Chanderpaul, Katich and Steve Smith?

Sri Lanka journey to Pakistan in December 2019 to play a two-Take a look at sequence.

Fawad Alam is chosen within the squad on the again of yet one more huge First Class season, loads of constructive media consideration and persistence.

Fawad Alam doesn’t play a match.

I ask Fawad if Chief Selector and Coach Misbah-ul-Haq defined to him why he wasn’t chosen to play.

“No. He didn’t inform me something. There’s no rationalization. I don’t know why.”

July 2020 — UK

The Pakistani squad land in England.

Amongst them is Fawad Alam.

He’s been chosen and is predicted to bat at quantity six as a result of the incumbent Haris Sohail refused to journey due to Covid-19 considerations.

The final time Fawad performed a Take a look at match was in 2009.

He was 23 then. He’s 34 now.

Who is aware of how he’ll carry out this time? If playing weren’t haraam, I’d wager my home that Fawad might be competing with Babar Azam and Shan Masood for the main runs scorer of the sequence.

It’s a straightforward wager to make. Fawad Alam is a silky, monotonous run-making cyborg.


It’s possible that Fawad could possibly be again in England six years from now. Being 40 years of age doesn’t imply something to Pakistani cricketers.

Ask Misbah, Younis or Afridi.

Possibly Fawad might be doing push-ups at Lords. Shan Masood will lead a army salute in entrance of the entire crew. Pakistan would be the world’s finest Take a look at crew.

Keep in mind, we’re speaking about Pakistani cricket right here so it’s clearly a reputable situation.

You thought Fawad Alam was completed as an inter­nationwide cricketer?

I’m telling you that he’s simply beginning.

Comply with @denniscricket_

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