Monday, July 13, 2009

Fawad Alam Makes me Proud

I don't have to tell you that I have been talking about Fawad Alam for two years now.

You all know how much I have written about him; how much I have called for him to be included in the Pakistan XI; how much I have rated him.

I was surprised to see some people question what Fawad Alam had done to demand a place in the Pakistan XI.

Well for those who follow Pakistan's domestic cricket and Pakistan A team tours know that Fawad Alam has been the best batsman in the country for about 3-4 years now.

He first caught my eye when he was the leading scorer in a domestic 20-20 tournament in 2005-06.

Since then, Fawad made strong waves in all formats of the game; 20-20, List A, and First-Class; one doesn't muster up a first-class average of 57 by being mediocre.

Throughout this time, I never thought he demanded a place in the XI. I thought he commanded one!

All that is in the past now, for Fawad Alam has just become the 10th batsman in Pakistan's history to hit a century on test debut.

He makes his way into an elite list, which includes Pakistani greats such as Khalid Ibadullah, Javed Miandad, Saleem Malik, and Younis Khan.

On top, Fawad became the first Pakistani to hit a century on test debut away from Pakistan.

He played a chanceless knock in a pressure situation and in a game in which Pakistan looked down and out almost as soon as it began.

Fawad may not be the most gifted stroke player nor the most technically correct batsman, but he is a fighter who grinds his way through situations as was apparent in his innings today.

He is not a big hitter of the ball but he still scores his runs at a fairly decent pace, mostly through his nudges into the gaps and running between the wicket.

Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal brought Pakistan back into this second test against Sri lanka; but if Pakistan go on to win this match, it will be because of the lead they muster up on the back of Fawad's innings.

His job is not over yet, but he has done me proud. I'm sure he has done a lot of others proud too.

This century may lead a number of people to speak Fawad up as the solution to the opening problem; though I am not sure about that.

This is the first time in his entire career that Fawad has opened in any form of the game.

He has made the most of the opportunity given to him and Pakistan have definitely found a great batsman; a great opener or not, only time will tell.

I still think Pakistan needs to find specialist openers and fit Fawad into the middle order where he has spent his career so far.

That's a thought for later; for now lets savour this brilliant innings from Fawad Alam.

Make your pitch on this post...



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30 Pitched:

  1. straight point said...
     

    I was surprised to see some people question what Fawad Alam had done to demand a place in the Pakistan XI.

    i thought you know me Q... ;-)

    that was just a curious question...which more than you... fawad alam has answered and that too in style...

    but i hope ppl at pakistan leave it at that only...coz there has been quite a few pakistani batsmen who have scored century on debut only to melt in oblivion some time later...

    i hope fawad breaks the mold and will be consistent...

  2. khansahab said...
     

    Q

    Very well written. He is a middle order batsman, not an opener. But whether he follows to become a Miandad or a Yasir Hameed, time will tell.

    This knock was not about extravagant shots or technique. It was about mental resilience and passion for the country. I don't have words to describe how well he played and how important this knock is, keeping in mind the context it was played in.

  3. Q said...
     

    Haha.. ofcourse I know you SP ;-)

    I know it was a curious question and boy am I glad to see Fawad's innings today...

    You are right abt people in Pakistan keeping it in perspective.. this is just the start and we hope he can live up to the expectations..

    Which is why i mentioned the cautionary note so that people don't think of him as an opener... he is a well established middle order player, I don't know if he can transform the same as opener.. he has done well now.. hope he continues in the same vein.

  4. Q said...
     

    Khansahab,

    You are right about that. And he is not an extravagant stroke player.. this is how he plays, which is a welcome change for Pakistan.. we don't have many batsmen who get most of their runs by running hard between the wickets...

    Fawad has always been about fighting and mental resilience as you mention and he just displayed the same today.

    I am way too happy for him.

  5. Gala said...
     

    Fighting every step of the way.

    Nothing is conclusive, but at least we are leading right now, though only by 28. Certainly an exciting series. Good luck to Fawad Alam and Younis Khan tomorrow!

    Photo of the day: http://www.cricinfo.com/slvpak2009/content/image/414080.html?object=403361

    Sums it all up :)

  6. khansahab said...
     

    SP

    This guy is a middle order batsman. If you want to question his ability, please do so when he bats in the middle order. He deserves all the glory and praise for doing this as an opener.

    It shows he is a tough nut to crack. Pakistan should never drop him, if he can do this, then he has the ability to become Pakistan's best batsman of all time.

  7. khansahab said...
     

    The first time I realised that Alam was a great in the making, was during the ABN AMRO 2006 Cup when he was the only player from Karachi who could match the players from Sialkot. In the final he got injured, he was limping but he was playing the likes of Mohammad Asif like they were club bowlers.

    When he got out after a superb 50, he got a standing ovation from the Sialkot players. They all stood in a line and applauded as he left the ground. It is the only time I have seen something like that in domestic cricket.

    I did not care whether people called me a racist, or anti Punjab, as I kept supporting who I knew can be a great player for the country. I knew I was right. And today he proved me right in his first Test. The only problem was that prior to this he was never batting before no 7, so he wasn’t getting proper chances to perform. Some players are above batting technique or shot selection- it is the resilience that counts.

    He was so hungry to prove his talent- he did a “Sadja” after his 50. I have never seen anyone doing Sajda after getting a 50. He got that century at a very good Test strike rate- 66.66.

  8. Stani Army said...
     

    Excellent century but let's hope the idiotic team management don't now try to make him into an opener.

    His game is suited to the middle order.

    This is his first significant international contribution. He's bought himself some time and needs to take his chance and build on it.

  9. raj said...
     

    Well, if Pakistan win this test, would it convince certain bloggers that the rest of the world needs to help them?
    Or would it mean that the T20 win wasnt a fluke?
    LOL!
    Shows why one should never predict or comment on Paki cricket in haste, isnt it Q?

  10. Q said...
     

    Gala,

    Yep we are in the lead.. if Pakistan can extend this to 200-250 atleast, I think we stand a great chance.

  11. Q said...
     

    Khansahab,

    That 20-20 cup innings that you mention is the same tournament that I have mentioned in my post.. that is the first time i noticed him also.. after that he has never looked back.

  12. Rayden said...
     

    Congrats Q - Your man has come good for Pak. I give Pak the edge now for this match.

  13. Q said...
     

    Stani,

    This is also his first significant international chance :-)

    Regarding the opener.. I too think that he should be a part of the middle order but I don't know what the future will hold...

    If Australia could turn Langer and Katich into openers, if India could turn Sehwag into an opener, no reason why Fawad can't turn into one..

    But again time will tell...

    And I'm not comparing Fawad to Langer or Sehwag, they r just examples of middle order batsmen turned openers... as for Katich, Fawad's technique does resemble the krab.

  14. LiB said...
     

    Q, well written!

    to me the best part being.. "Fawad may not be the most gifted stroke player nor the most technically correct batsman, but he is a fighter who grinds his way through situations as was apparent in his innings today."

    that is the best way to sum up his abilities, this fighting spirit to me is more important than being technically correct..

    now to the interview that you missed, this is what Fawad had to say, so apparantly before the test began, Younas had spoken one on one with fawad during a nets session and told him u'd play and u'd open the innings, Younas went on to say that when he had begun his career he too was batting at number 7 or 8 and it wasnt until he came up the order that he became a permanent fixture and the batsman that he is today..so this is your chance to cement your place in the team..

    Fawad went on to say that lastnight Younas Khan in his room had written on a tapeball that Fawad Alam would score a century, after the days play Younas gave the ball to Fawad!!

  15. Q said...
     

    Raj,

    LOL! Well said man.. I just don't understand some things.. hahaha..

  16. Q said...
     

    Rayden,

    Thanx man.. Hope Pakistan can build up on the lead..

    And I like how you call Fawad "your man" ;-)

  17. Q said...
     

    LIB,

    Thanx for repeating that for me.. I missed it.. I was too excited when the play ended that I turned the TV off.. went to my balcony.. lit up my smoke and wrote this!

    I'm glad that Younis had said all that to Fawad before the game and he wasn't thrust into the opening position unknowingly..

    I hope Younis writes on a tape ball tonight that he will get a 100, Pakistan will get a massive lead, Aamer will get 5, and Pakistan will win.

  18. Naked Cricket said...
     

    Fawad needs to get on the phone and first speak to you, then his folks.

    Go party, go Colombo, Q.

  19. Q said...
     

    NC,

    Haha.. maybe I'll ask Damith to drop by and give Fawad my number..

  20. SM said...
     

    "Yo Man" surely has made one and all proud . He has answered his critics in some style .What an innings from him at a time when Pak needed the most, would someone disagree ? His Sajda after 50 showed how he felt from within to prove his talent and also hsi century strike rate 66 was great .I hope Karachi produces more sons like him . I wouldnt be surprised if Pak can pull though this match and go on to win it from here . Posssible and Pak can do it . Would love and rather am confidently waiting to see Misbah score a gritty 70 - 80 this match . Congrats Q once again .

    I have some questions for you on my blog regarding a comment from Inzamam-ul-Haq on Silly Point

    Thanks SM

  21. Q said...
     

    SM,

    I just hopped over to Silly Point and answered your query to the best of my knowledge...

    As for Fawad.. he has done us proud.. and why Khi? I hope Pakistan produces more sons like him :-)

    I too think Pak can do it from here.

  22. SM said...
     

    My mistake Q , Sorry I correct my self . Not only Karachi ..Pak should produce more such sons to make them proud every day .

    I am waiting for the day praying to see Pak and India getting back to cricketing ways was soon .. I am a firm believer that the ashes rivalry as they say is teh mother of all rivalries and all others are too bland before an Indo Pak cricket isnt it .
    Thanks for revertng me on Silly Point .

  23. straight point said...
     

    Q...my two cents on fawad and also my revenge... :)

  24. Obaid said...
     

    Fawad played a great innings, no doubt. But I have seen my fair share of Zahid Fazal's, Asim Kamals and Yasir Hameeds. I just hope we all have the patience as a nation to bear his failures. The board answers to no one, so its hard ot expect anything from them

    Anyways, it this just shows how sad the state of our opening situation is. Openers get a 50+ partnership and we all celebrate like there is no tomorrow :D We've only leveled the match, it'll take much sustained application, concentration, good fielding and bowling etc to win this match.

    Lets hope for the best and some good cricket

  25. Q said...
     

    SM,

    The Indo-Pak rivalry is wayy bigger than the Ashes.. any day!

  26. Q said...
     

    Obaid,

    The celebration was not only cos of the 50+ opening partnership but Pakistan's great comeback in this game.. at 90 all out with SL ahead by 73 with 7 wickets in hand at the end of day 1, if someone told me that Pak would be ahead by 28 at the end of day 2, I would have said I'd dance naked on tables if that happens...

    Thank heavens no one said that but that is quite a big turnaround, which dare I say only Pakistan is capable of.

    Tomorrow we might mess it all up but today was a day to rejoice!

  27. pakistani_grrl said...
     

    Bangla's won!

  28. smk said...
     

    There's definitely a bit of chanderpaul and katich in his batting...hopefully he can live up what the former's achieved at this level. Would hate to see him turn into another hameed, t umar, i farhat, (butt?) the list goes on...

  29. Q said...
     

    Pak Girl,

    Yes they have!

  30. Q said...
     

    SMK,

    I hope he isn't compared to those like cos they were all openers, he isn't one and I hope Pakistan don't make him into one.

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