Promising Karachi youngster Fawad Alam is expected to be included in Pakistan’s squad for next month’s three-match One-day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.
The News has learnt through reliable sources that the talented 21-year-old batsman is being seriously considered for the Abu Dhabi series by national selectors who are scheduled to announce the national team on May. The series against Sri Lanka is to be played from May 9-15.
Fawad was included in a 39-man list for a training camp to be held in Lahore from April 28-May 4 in preparation for the ODI series.
Pakistan are likely to make a few changes in their squad because of the absence of experienced batsmen Inzamam-ul-Haq and Younis Khan while a few more players who were a part of a disastrous World Cup campaign will also miss the matches in Abu Dhabi. Selectors have already decided to drop medium pacer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.
Pakistan are likely to bring back openers Imran Farhat and Salman Butt besides recalling Yasir Hameed, this time as a middle-order batsman.
Selectors have been promising an infusion of young blood in the squad and one of the players likely to benefit from this promise is Fawad. Fawad is currently making his bones as a reliable stroke-player who has the added advantage of being a left-arm spinner and a good fielder. He made his presence felt in last year’s Twenty20 Championship in Karachi and since then has been performing consistently at the domestic level.
According to sources, selectors are convinced that this is the right time to try out a promising youngster like Fawad because Pakistan need to consolidate their middle-order.
Inzamam, who was the backbone of Pakistan’s middle-order, announced his retirement from one-dayers after leading his team to a humiliating World Cup exit last month. Younis, also a key batsman, made himself unavailable for the series in Abu Dhabi because of county commitments with Yorkshire.
Another reason why Fawad is expected to be preferred over more experienced batters is because he has proved himself to be a valuable Twenty20 player. He was the best player of the Twenty20 Cup. He has had a good start to his first-class career and in 28 matches has scored 2047 runs at 47.60 with the help of three centuries and 14 fifties.
Two more batsmen are also under consideration.
Faisal Iqbal, 25, may earn the selectors nod after being ignored for the World Cup. Then there is Test discard Naved Latif who is in the selectors radar after a prolific first-class season.
Mohammad Asif, Pakistan’s top strike bowler, is all set to make a comeback in Abu Dhabi after missing the World Cup because of fitness and doping-related problems. Asif has told the selectors that he is fully fit and is looking forward to return to the Pakistan line-up.
However, the lanky medium pacer is still under a cloud because the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) can begin proceedings of a doping case against him any time now.
Asif and fellow fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar tested positive for banned anabolic steroid nandrolone last September and were banned by an inquiry committee appointed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). However, the pair was cleared of doping charges by an appeals tribunal a decision that was challenged by WADA in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, April 27th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket, Cricket Stars.
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