The last time Pakistan defeated Bangladesh was in the dramatic finish that we all attributed to Shahid Afridi’s heroics. Yes, he was the hero of the match, making millions of Bengalis cry with his blistering innings which ultimately won him the Man of the Match award. With him was the ‘Man of Crisis’ – not talking about Misbah-ul-Haq – who made sure Afridi had the freedom to strike big without worrying about the other end. The man was Fawad Alam, whose 74 from 70 was as important as Afridi’s match-winning knock.
The thrashing defeat at the hands of Bengalis made Fawad’s absence felt – so did Afridi’s. But, Afridi has retired and Fawad is being wasted; he puts on piles of runs, smashing century after century, season after season, but to what avail?
Fawad scored yet another century in his most recent 4-day match in Quaid-e-Azam trophy, scoring an important 153 for Sui Sothern Gas Company (SSGC) against Lahore Blues to earn his side a thumping victory by an innings.
The Numbers Game
In 149 first-class matches, Fawad now averages 55.77, the third highest among the currently playing cricketers. Steven Smith, the former Australian Captain – currently serving a 1-year ban for a ball-tampering scandal – averages 57.35, while India’s Hanuma Vehari averages 59.06.
It is worthwhile to note that the two other players having such high averages have already played for their countries; Smith has captained Australia, while Vihari made his test debut against England in the recently concluded series.
Here is a comparison of the first-class numbers of the three cricketers.
While Fawad has also played for Pakistan, but the last time he played a test match was in 2009, T20I in 2010 and last ODI in 2015.
In his three test matches, he averages 41.66 with a career-best score of 168, which he scored on debut against Sri Lanka at Colombo.
While there were speculations about his inclusion in Pakistan A squad for the tour match against Australia, Fawad wasn’t picked despite performing consistently in the domestic circuit.
One might raise questions over the criteria for national selection. How can a player with over 11,000 runs in first-class cricket, averaging over 55 get ignored, again and again?
He has the defensive technique, the right stamina, the temperament and above all, numbers to earn him a test call-up. If that isn’t the criteria, we all wonder, what is.
The best thing about him is that he never gives up; gets back to playing domestic cricket every season, scoring runs at will, winning matches for his side, still hoping to get that one phone call, congratulating him for his selection. Will he ever get one? The clock is ticking and he is already 32 years old!
Misbah did get a late call and his success at the world level is a known phenomenon, isn’t it?
Fawad might not be a good enough limited overs cricketer, but he is DEFINITELY the best longer format player in the domestic circuit.
Do you think he should be included in the test squad? Let us know in the comments section.