Originally printed in Dawn 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.
In the age of individuals tearing down statues of one tradition’s previous heroes resulting from their sins towards one other, it’s shocking that Gaddafi’s title nonetheless stands right here as a monument of nationalistic satisfaction.
Whatever your views on naming your house 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 beneath the floodlights in his sensible facial hair.
Another Pakistan Super League (PSL) match has been accomplished. The Lahore Qalandars, the T20 franchise with the worst win-loss report 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-discipline battles. The PSL has lengthy rejected him. T20 globally has rejected him. He hasn’t performed a franchise match anyplace on the planet since 2018.
What does Fawad Alam nonetheless should do to show himself? Will essentially the most-well-known cricketer who by no means will get picked lastly get an opportunity to point out his value within the upcoming England tour?
He is now starting his apprenticeship as a submit-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 want to be better in front of the camera, like 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 Big Bash commentator by way of a Twitter personal message. I bear in mind exhibiting that message to a good friend on the time to examine that somebody wasn’t pranking me.
It’s a chilly evening in Lahore. I blush and pause for a second to think about how irrational Fawad’s feedback are.
“The best advice I was ever given was to take acting lessons,” I reply. “It is amazing how well they help you present to an audience you cannot see through a lens.” It is the very best I may provide you with. I’m no media starlet. What would I do know?
Months later, Fawad would seem in a Pakistani sitcom. I wish to assume that our dialog that evening perversely helped him get there.
We keep it up the dialogue and share experiences for a number of extra minutes. I’ve received to know Fawad considerably by way of this PSL season as we had ran into one another right here and there.
He’s a quiet and humble man. Dedicated to health and onerous work. His cricketing story is one of unrequited love with the Pakistani nationwide groups. But he doesn’t level the finger, supply excuses or place blame on others.
“Insha’Allah, I’ll play for Pakistan again.” He says these phrases with a cheeky smile. Many others in his scenario, in that trustworthy second, would have mentioned it forlornly.
But Fawad isn’t like many others.
June 2016 – Lahore
The military camps are full. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spent practically US $100okay on them. This is critical stuff.
Coach Mickey Arthur mentioned that his squad wanted to deal with health with correct respect. No extra biryani. More time within the weights room. Cultural change is the purpose.
Thirty-one gamers had been despatched to the camp. Half of the squad didn’t go the health checks. However, Fawad Alam, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan handed with flying colors.
Two of these gamers would in the end journey to England and go away a legacy that cricket will always remember. Salutes. Push-ups. Hundreds and double tons of. A 2-2 Test sequence draw away from house.
A couple of months later, Pakistan could be ranked the primary Test crew on the planet.
Fawad Alam missed out on choice for that tour. Iftikhar Ahmed took his spot. The official PCB line was that Iftikhar supplied an off-spin possibility. Apparently, half-day off-spin is a crucial ability required for a batsman.
For the report, Fawad Alam’s First Class bowling strike price is best than Pat Symcox’s Test bowling strike price.
When I requested Mickey Arthur straight why Fawad Alam wasn’t chosen for the tour, he informed me that his approach wouldn’t stand as much as Anderson and Broad. Apparently, his approach isn’t world class sufficient.
It was a troublesome message to simply accept.
Fawad averaged 56 within the Quaid-e-Azam trophy in the course of 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 thought of the strategies of Chanderpaul, Katich and Steve Smith?
Sri Lanka journey to Pakistan in December 2019 to play a two-Test sequence.
Fawad Alam is chosen within the squad on the again of one more large First Class season, loads of optimistic media consideration and endurance.
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 tell me anything. There’s no explanation. 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 as a result of of Covid-19 considerations.
The final time Fawad performed a Test match was in 2009.
He was 23 then. He is 34 now.
Who is aware of how he’ll carry out this time? If playing weren’t haraam, I’d guess my home that Fawad will probably be competing with Babar Azam and Shan Masood for the main runs scorer of the sequence.
It’s a simple guess to make. Fawad Alam is a silky, monotonous run-making cyborg.
It is possible that Fawad may very well 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.
Maybe Fawad will probably 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 greatest Test crew.
Remember, 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.

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