Fawad set to play first Test since 2009 after being recalled for Pakistan’s Test series against Sri Lanka

Fawad Alam recalled to Pakistan Test team for the series against Sri Lanka cricket

Fawad Alam last played Test cricket in November 2009

Image courtesy of: Pakistan Cricket Board

Veteran Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam is set to feature in his first Test match since 2009 after being recalled to the Test team for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.

There had been mounting calls for Fawad to be picked for the upcoming series, which begins on Wednesday, since the 34-year-old has been in superb form in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, where he has scored 781 runs in 10 matches for Sindh, which includes four centuries and two fifties, at an average of 71.

Fawad has replaced Iftikhar Ahmed, who only scored 44 runs in the two-Test series against Australia at an average of 11.

The other major change was the call-up of left-arm seamer Usman Khan Shinwari, who has represented Pakistan in 17 ODIs and 16 Twenty20 Internationals, but has yet to make his Test debut.

Shinwari will replace 19-year-old seamer Muhammad Musa, who made his Test debut in the second Test against Australia in Adelaide, where he went wicketless and conceded 114 runs off 20 overs.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old pace bowler Naseem Shah, who made his international debut in the first Test against Australia and dismissed David Warner for 154, kept hold of his place, while Kashif Bhatti, the uncapped left-arm spinner, also retained his spot in the side despite not being picked for either of the two Tests against Australia.

“Our target and our thinking is that we need consistency in the team and the continuity will give player confidence they need,” Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “We don’t need a lot of change and we haven’t done much either. Overall, only two changes in the squad, which was necessary.

“This series holds a lot of importance in many way as the Sri Lanka series is marking the revival of Test cricket in the country. The results in this series will help us to regain our winning streak, so we have considered many aspects and taken important decisions. I am satisfied the team we have selected is based on a winning combination.

“It’s not that he (Fawad) was written off for any reason or so, but there is a narrow line where decisions are made. We had picked Iftikhar Ahmed because of his strengths and it’s not like someone else is overlooked intentionally. We sometimes don’t go by numbers, but the ability in certain conditions as well. We needed a player at No. 6 and we think Fawad can fill in.

“His performance isn’t about just one season, as he has been performing and maintaining his average for over many seasons. I don’t know what happened in the past but for now we are considering him and going to use his form.”

Misbah also admitted that he is worried about the fact that Test captain Azhar Ali and veteran batsman Asad Shafiq are not scoring enough runs and leading by example.

Azhar amassed 62 runs at an average of 15.50 in the Test series against Australia, while Shafiq made 142 runs, which included two fifties, at an average of 35.50.

Pakistan’s upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka will be historic as it will be their first Test series on home soil in over 10 years.

The two Tests will be held in Rawalpindi from December 11 to 15 and Karachi from December 19 to 23.

Pakistan’s Test Squad: Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah, Usman Shinwari

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