Surely, a night of excitement, pressure, and curiosity for Fawad Alam and his fans as the left-handed batsman is likely to mark his Test cricket comeback after more than 10 years. It’s obvious when a lot of people look forward to you, you definitely get butterflies in your stomach, so does Fawad if he was told to be playing the second Test.
Let’s take a flashback to last decade, a tough period for the cricketer who scored a 100 on Test debut, nevertheless, he was dropped from the team just after three matches. During this time, a lot of occasions came where he could have been selected but god knows whether was his technique wrong or he had marred by like-dislike culture.
With 10,000+ runs under his belt in first-class cricket, Fawad was probably one of the unluckiest cricketers not only in Pakistan but across the world. Averaging 56.78 in FC cricket, Fawad knocked the doors of selectors in every reign but was given ‘lollypop’ often.
In the 2019/20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Alam scored 781 runs in 10 matches for Sindh. He ended the season with a fine average of 71, and a high score of 211 against Southern Punjab in November. His performances earned him a call-up to the Test squad when Sri Lanka toured Pakistan, and hopes were high that his wait would end. That wasn’t to be, and he went on to be overlooked from the XI for the one-off Test against Bangladesh as well.
Now, after reports suggesting Fawad’s comeback, once again the debate has started whether Fawad will shut the mouths of all the people who ignored him in the past or not. But, it must be noted here that he doesn’t have a magic wand through which he can bring laurels immediately with just a wave.
Here are a few reasons why you better not expect too much from Fawad at this stage:
Comeback after a long gap
First and foremost, it is not easy for any player to score 100s, 200s and 300s immediately without playing an international match for last five years. You can’t expect too high from him scoring runs in his first match, maybe he does score but why don’t you remain at the safer side, because if he fails, you will have courage to give him another chance instead of utter disappointment.
Fawad last played an ODI against Bangladesh at their backyard on April 22, 2015. Since then, international cricket has changed a lot and it has become more advanced, so Fawad may need some time to settle in if he gets the Test cap again tomorrow.
Fawad’s batting stance has remained debatable in every selector’s regime and this was probably one of the reasons why he didn’t make his way into the national team. However, with the same stance, he scored 10,000+ runs in domestic cricket which means he doesn’t have any issues in scoring runs with this stance.
But, international cricket is totally a different world. Here, a player takes some time to get settled down and later on he gains rhythm. Fawad will also need ample chances to deliver at his full otherwise, people will look for other options as he is already 34.
It is not easy for Asian batsmen to score runs easily in England. We recently saw an example of how Pakistani batsmen slipped in second inning of the opening Test despite putting up a strong total in the first inning.
According to former cricketer Ramiz Raja, conditions in England change every single day so you can’t expect a team doing equally good throughout the whole Test.
It is unfortunate for Fawad that he will have to face Stuart Broad and James Anderson on his comeback. But surely this is not an excuse, he should carry on the domestic form.
Fawad will be carrying plenty of hopes on his shoulders. His fans will be glued in front of the screen to see their Fawad waving the bat once again in international cricket. It would be interesting to see how Fawad handles pressure if he is given chance in Southampton. All eyes are now on the clock, the game is on!