Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Pakistan chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has explained that all-rounder Fawad Alam was not picked in the Test team for the upcoming tours of Ireland and England since he has seen “better players in the last three years”.
The decision to snub Alam has been widely criticised as he has been one of the most consistent performers on the domestic circuit.
Alam’s average for the past four seasons of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy has been 40.71, 55.54, 56 and 71.90.
“Fawad Alam is an outstanding player but in the last three years there are others at the top of the list,” Inzamam told ESPNcricinfo. “We got him here in the nets but we found Saad Ali to be better, and the decision to prefer Saad was unanimous, with input from all the coaching staff and captain.
“Fawad is a good player and we obviously can’t ignore his career average; that is why he was brought into the camp. During my tenure, I have given 12 to 14 players an opportunity and none of them have disappointed us. If you look back in the past three seasons, there are players who have scored more runs than Fawad Alam.
“Dropping any player doesn’t mean we are disregarding them. It’s easy to pick players following scorecards or statistics, but there are many more things we take into consideration. I am not sure why Fawad wasn’t picked in the past before me but if you ask me about my tenure as chief selector, I have seen better players.”
Questions have been raised about the influx of uncapped young batsmen that have been included in the side. Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, who is Inzamam’s nephew, Usman Salahuddin, Saad Ali and Faheem Ashraf are the new faces in the team.
“I am not taking away anything from Fawad, as he has scored a lot of runs in domestic cricket at a great average. When there is a competition, some players get left out, but that doesn’t mean their career ends there,” Inzamam added. “We haven’t ignored him, we have actually given an opportunity to a few others we thought were more suited to English conditions.
“Last season, we had tough bowling conditions in the QeA, and Saad Ali was a stand-out performer, and that is why he was preferred. I have spoken to Fawad on many occasions and given him the confidence to keep on working hard.
“I know people are very critical about his non-selection but we need to see things in perspective. People have expectations and they want to see their team win every game which brings a lot of responsibility on us. I have nothing against any player.
“We have a responsibility and what is important is we do not fail it. We must select players on merit. I am lucky that most of my picks so far are paying off well, and we now have a bigger pool of players.”
When asked about the decision to pick Imam, Inzamam said: “Picking Imam is a tough decision but this is one decision I didn’t take. People might be cynical about this but the head coach [Mickey Arthur], batting coach [Grant Flower] and other selectors made the decision to select Imam.
“I am the part of the discussion group, but I didn’t say anything about it. The report given by trainers and coaches about him showed a significant improvement in his skill and fitness levels. He was already in the system even before my becoming selector, so associating me shouldn’t be a point of discussion.”