Fawad Alam makes long-awaited return as Pakistan name Test squad for Sri Lanka series

Sport360 staff 14:03 07/12/2019
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Fawad Alam.

Fawad Alam has finally earned an international recall after the left-handed batsman was named in the Pakistan squad for the upcoming Test series at home against Sri Lanka.

Alam recently became the second-quickest Pakistan batsman to bring up 12,000 first-class runs with only the legendary Hanif Mohammad breaching that landmark in fewer innings.

The 34-year-old’s impressive consistency in the domestic circuit over the last few years has finally been rewarded with his inclusion for the two Tests against the islanders. The southpaw’s last Test appearance for Pakistan came all the way back in November, 2009 against New Zealand and he was dropped subsequently despite averaging more than 40 in his three appearances.

While he did make a brief limited-overs return to the Pakistan squad in 2015, a Test call-up had continued to elude Alam until now. Pakistan’s abject display in the series whitewash on the tour of Australia seems to have forced head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq’s hand with the veteran replacing all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed in the squad.

He is one of the two changes in the squad which went down 2-0 to Australia with pacer Usman Shinwari being the other old face to return. Shinwari replaces 19-year-old Muhammad Musa who had a forgettable Test debut in Adelaide.

“Congratulations to Fawad Alam. His selection’s a reward for his continued hard work, perseverance & dedication,” Misbah stated while announcing the squad.

“His selection isn’t only a lesson to emerging players but also a testament of our policy of valuing domestic cricket & rewarding consistent performers.”

16-year-old teenaged pacer Naseem Shah has retained his place in the squad after impressing in patches in the Brisbane Test while Haris Sohail is lucky to survive the chop despite a string of poor displays in Australia.

Meanwhile, Azhar Ali continues to lead the side after replacing the axed Sarfraz Ahmed as captain for the tour of Australia. The first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka gets underway in Rawalpindi on December 11 while the final clash will begin in Karachi on December 19.

The hosts will be up against a familiar face in the historic series with their former head coach Mickey Arthur now appointed as the new Sri Lanka boss. The series will see Test cricket return to Pakistan after more than a decade with the last five-day game in the country taking place all the way back in 2009 against Sri Lanka itself.

It was during that series that the Sri Lankan team bus came under attack from terrorists in Lahore, leading to the tour being called off midway. That horrific incident saw international cricket in the country come to a standstill with Pakistan being forced to play subsequent home matches in the UAE.

Pakistan squad

Azhar Ali (c), Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Fawad Alam, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Kashif Bhatti, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Imran Khan, Usman Shinwari, Shaheen Afridi.

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