Aamb Chupo

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He has scored 840 runs in 16 innings so far in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy at an average of 70. He has scored 3 hundreds and a fifty, at an impressive strike rate of 71. He has had another stellar season on the domestic season, but Fawad Alam still finds himself out of the national team. The lean run-making machine is despised by fans of pajama cricket, on the bogus postulation of his un-ability to hit boundaries. Fawad has played some very valuable innings for Pakistan, in spite of the constant mistreatment of his abilities by the team management – he has it in him to be a solid all-round cricketer in Test and ODI cricket. Yet, he gets dropped for his shortcomings in a format ill-suited to the brand of cricket he plays.

Scoring 168 on test debut, away from home, from an unfamiliar position – where the rest of the team crumbled around you, is a significant feat. Such is the misfortune of Pakistan cricket that the precious talent found him out of the test team after just 2 more tests. He was presented to New Zealand as a sacrificial goat, due to the cowardly attitude of the senior players (read: Shoaib Malik) in the team, who refused to bat at #3 on a green top in New Zealand.

Fawad has represented Pakistan in 54 international matches in all three formats of the game; almost half of those have been T20I – a format of the game which is not suited to his approach of batting when sent at #6 or 7. Out of the 17 innings he has played in T20’s only 4 of them have been at his natural position of #4, 5. His two most noteworthy contributions in T20I cricket were his; 8-ball-23 against Sri Lanka in Canada, and his run out of Albie Morkel in the semi-final of the T20 WC 09.

Fawad along with Umer Akmal was the solitary bright spot during the Australian shambles of 2010. After being ignored for the first 2 ODIs, Fawad complimented Umer well, and formed superb partnerships with the Lahore Dynamite, which were a treat to watch from a Pakistani fans point of view. He came in to bat under complicated circumstances when the team was 4 down for as little as 39 runs, but ran hard, took singles and built partnerships.

In the sheer gloominess of the tour wash, he was being looked as a steadfast and responsible young talent, with a sane head. He averaged 39 in ODI’s against Australia, made valuable contributions in the England ODI series after the spot-fixing trauma, with an important 64 in the Umer Gul ODI. He also played a very useful hand at Abu Dhabi, in the Razzle Dazzle Show. Nearly got Pakistan home in the 3rd ODI against Saffers and was then unceremoniously dropped from the team in New Zealand after one T20 failure.

Another substantiation of his grown-up attitude can be found in his absolute silence on the issue of his non-selection. He has thrown no tantrums unlike other ‘stars’ in Pakistan, has not run his mouth off in the media, has not blamed anyone – but has promised to try his level best to get back into the team, on the basis of his domestic performances. Boy has he delivered on those promises.

Those who rubbish his domestic performances are naïve. Averaging 58.60 (the highest ever) in the history of Pakistan cricket is no mean feat, at any level of cricket. There is no point of having a domestic structure if you are not going to select players on the basis of how well they have done there.

His critics often question his lack of a proper technique as a reason why he shouldn’t be in the team. To them I say, aamb chupo.

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