Fawad Alam last played a Test in 2009.
Fawad Alam last played a Test in 2009. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistan has recalled 34-year-old middle-order batsman Fawad Alam for the first time in 10 years for the Test series against Sri Lanka.

Chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said Saturday that the left-handed batsman was selected because of his recent prolific scoring in domestic cricket.

The series, which is part of ICC’s World Test Championship, starts at Rawalpindi next Wednesday. Karachi will host the second Test from December 19-23.

Alam last played a Test match against New Zealand at Dunedin in 2009, eight months after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus at Lahore that shut the doors of international cricket on Pakistan.

Alam scored a century in his debut Test against Sri Lanka in July 2009 and has scored over 12,222 runs in a 16-year first class career at a healthy average of 56.84.

Fawad has been one of the most prolific batsmen in Pakistan’s domestic circuit, having scored 672 runs (average 56) in the 2015-16 season, 499 runs in the 2016-17 season (55.44), 570 (average 40.7) in the 2017-18 season, 699 (average 69.9) in the 2018-19 and 781 (average 71) in the ongoing season.

Alam is one of the two changes Pakistan selectors have made from the 16-man squad that lost the two-Test matches against Australia. He has replaced Iftikhar Ahmed while left arm fast bowler Usman Shinwari comes in place of young fast bowler Mohammad Musa. Misbah said Musa will remain with the Test squad and will continue working with bowling coach Waqar Younis.

“Our thinking is that we need consistency in the team and that’s the reason we didn’t make a lot of changes for the series against Sri Lanka,” Misbah said. “There should be continuity so that players get confidence. We made changes where we feel it’s necessary.’’

“The Australia tour was well below our expectations and has affected our pride. We prepared as best as we possibly could but just couldn’t convert those preparations into on-field performances. We are now seeing Australia as a huge learning experience and will make all out efforts to overcome the weaknesses that have been identified”, said Misbah.

Misbah was given three responsibilities — chief selector, head coach and batting coach when the Pakistan Cricket Board removed head coach Mickey Arthur and batting coach Grant Flower after the World Cup while chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq stepped down.

“The perspective is that it’s a one-man show,” Misbah said.

“I think there should be a clarity on this, there are six selectors who closely watch players in domestic cricket and also do work with the players on their technique. They know all the minus and plus of these players very well and my prime job is the head coach.’’

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, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah, Usman Shinwari.