Why not Fawad and Zohaib?

May 29, 2016

Ignoring Fawad Alam and Zohaib Khan for the tour of England come across as a stunning decision

Why not Fawad and Zohaib?

Ignoring Fawad Alam for the tour of England is a stunning decision, particularly because he has not been named even in the country’s A team. Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said he was a good player but could not be preferred over such players as Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan and Azhar Ali. That is all right. Fawad is not better than these three. But he is definitely much better than Iftikhar Ahmed who has been selected as a middle-order batsman.

Fawad averages a staggering 56 runs per innings at first-class level and has been out of the Test side only because Misbah, Younis, Azhar and Asad Shafiq have been performing very well for the last six years. He deserves to be with the Test side at least if he cannot find a place in the playing eleven. Iftikhar averages less than 35 and has much less experience than Fawad.

Similar is the decision to ignore 32-year-old Zohaib Khan who played a key role in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s triumph in the recently-concluded Pakistan Cup. He was among the high scorers of the tournament with 176 runs that he scored at an average of 44. And he was the second highest wicket taker with 11 wickets from five matches.

He scored 82 in the match against Balochistan whose bowling squad was led by Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir and Saeed Ajmal -- all have played for Pakistan for a long time.

Zohaib averages 36 in first-class and 33 in List A cricket with the bat. He has 172 wickets from 82 first class matches and a staggering 100 wickets from just 64 List A games.

However, the selectors did the right thing when they picked Asif Zakir. He was phenomenal in the National One Day Cup in January this year as he scored back-to-back centuries against Peshawar and Islamabad.

In the series against England Lions later that month in the UAE he played a match-winning innings of 68 not out.

He has been playing first-class cricket since 2002-03 and scoring consistently. He was the highest scorer in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2015-16 with 791 runs at an average of over 56 runs. He scored three centuries and four fifties. He has 16 centuries and 29 half centuries in his 113-match first-class career.

Some people might say that he is 32 years old but the Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq is about to turn 42, but will lead Pakistan in Tests at least till the end of this year. So there should be no concern about his age.

Why not Fawad and Zohaib?