The curious case of Fawad Alam, the new Pakistani star at bat in Tests

Pakistani centurion Fawad Alam picks up a limit in his legs during day three of the second test against the West Indies at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica on Sunday.
Image credit: AFP

Kolkata: Fawad Alam, the Pakistani southpaw who had been key to lend an element of steel to their batting order in Tests, is one of a kind. The sport doesn’t have too many examples of a player who was recalled after being out in the cold for almost 11 years (yes, you heard it right) and almost overnight, became the one of their favorite people. in crisis.

Take the second test underway against the West Indies in Kingstown, Jamaica, for example. After losing part of a first test by a wicket, Pakistan were again in dire straits in this one as they were down three with just two points on the board when Fawad, 35, came out to join the skipper. Babar Azam. By the end of the day, the Karachi man had blunted the attack to the pace of the Caribbean to forge an undefeated and life-saving 158-point partnership with his captain.

When he finished his fifth century tryout with a mid-wicket pull on Sunday, he set a record by being the fastest among Asian batsmen to reach five centuries trying in his 22nd inning – though none come close to taking as much real-time time as Fawad, whose first hundred debuted in 2009.

First selected in 2009, Fawad looked destined for greatness when he scored his Test debut with a second set 168 on 259 balls against Sri Lanka at P Sara Oval in Colombo.

However, much to his regret, the 24-year-old found himself out of the camp two Tests later, abandoned halfway through the Pakistani tour of New Zealand. In his four innings since the century, he had an average of 16.5, passing 20 just once, but he could be forgiven if he had expected more patience so early in his career and after leaving a such a strong impression in his first game.

He would wait 10 years and 259 days for his next test, missing 88 matches for Pakistan at that time – only six players in history have missed more test matches between appearances. During his absence from Test Cricket, he did all he could to make his way through the squad, helping himself to 26 hundred first class and nearly 8,000 runs at an average of 56.48.

After the wait of a lifetime in which he had represented the country on and off, Fawad finally had a chance against England in the second test match on August 13, 2020. However, he started his new journey with a duck.

His detractors sharpened the attack with an I told you but this time he was unwilling to let the opportunity pass. Fawad quickly made his mark by scoring a century against New Zealand in the very next series and followed up a hundred against South Africa in Karachi earlier this year, as they visited Pakistan for the first time since 2007.

“It wasn’t written in my destiny, every time God wrote it to make it happen for me, it will come to me. I have always followed this belief. I don’t know what I would have lost or won if I had played for the past 10 years. I will get whatever is written for me, and no one can take it away from me, ”he said after his third century against the Proteas.

Surely, Fawad – whose celebration inspired by Ottoman leader Ertugrul after reaching the century against the Proteas has gone viral, can now inspire dozens of cricketers who often wait in the wilderness.

The monuments of Fawad Alam

* Fawad has now scored five centuries of testing in fewer innings than Indian heavy hitters Sourav Ganguly (25), Sunil Gavaskar (25) Cheteshwar Pujara (24) and Vijay Hazare (26).

* He also became the sixth Pakistani drummer to score a century at Sabina Park, joining Imtiaz Ahmed (122; 1958), Wazir Mohammad (106; 1958), Asif Iqbal (135; 1977), Younis Khan (106; 2005) and Inzamam -ul-Haq (117 unreleased; 2005).


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