Posts Tagged ‘fawad alam’

After their shocking display in the first innings, Pakistan fought back in their second innings of the Second Test against Sri Lanka, closing day 2 on 178/1, having clawed back the first day’s deficit through impressive displays with both bat and ball.

First, it was Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal who took the game by the scruff of the neck, finishing with four wickets each as Sri Lanka were restricted to 240 all out, having been 164/3 overnight. Gul in particular was instrumental, kick-starting the comeback with the wicket of Sangakkara and ending with figures of 4-43 and as the cheapest of Pakistan’s bowlers.

After the innings break, it was debutant Fawad Alam (one of my ‘ones to watch’ from last year, albeit as an all-rounder – this was the first time he had opened the batting, as far as I can tell, in any form of the game) who took over, erasing criticisms and memories of his first innings failure with a fine knock, ending the day unbeaten on 102.

Pakistan are still only 28 runs ahead in the match, but the turnaround since yesterday has been dramatic -yet another compelling argument for the continuing primacy of Test cricket.

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A number of sides have left it until the last minute to announce their squads for the upcoming World Twenty20 (the final deadline is May 5), but Pakistan’s has grabbed a couple of headlines for the inclusion of relative unknowns Shahzaib Hasan (scorer of 607 runs in ten matches for Karachi in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy) and Mohammad Aamer (who has taken 56 first-class wickets in ten matches for Rawalpindi this season).

The rest of the 15 is as follows: Younis Khan (the captain), Salman Butt, Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Fawad Alam, Shoaib Akhtar (who may be lucky to be included given continuing doubts over his fitness), Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat and Saeed Ajmal.

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It’s more than a year now since I named my 11 to watch, so it’s probably time to weigh up (briefly) who’s lived up to their potential and who hasn’t:

Nasir Jamshed is still under 20, but had little chance to impress this year given Pakistan’s effective exile from international cricket; Virat Kohli made some waves, and is still well-placed for a call-up to the Indian Test side after some good ODI performances and a strong showing in domestic cricket; Tamim Iqbal has shown some promise, but Bangladesh’s continued position at the bottom of the cricketing pile has frustrated his ability to shine; Fawad Alam is probably the one that got away; Steve Davies has finally been called up to the England side, and looked good for a while when he got his chance; Adil Rashid has also won some recognition from the ECB, and will probably play Test cricket in the next year or two; Beau Casson has sunk from the international picture seemingly without trace; Sulieman Benn gave England a torrid time in the Tests and looks set to be a part of the Windies side for some time to come; Tim Southee hasn’t quite lived up to the early hype but still shows promise; Ishant Sharma continues to scare batsmen (especially Ricky Ponting) the world over; Mitchell Johnson continues to do the same to everyone that isn’t Australian.

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It’s been four months since I plucked these eleven young cricketers from various levels of obscurity and cursed them with the tag ‘ones to watch’. How have they been getting on?

  • Tamim Iqbal is over in England at the moment with Bangladesh A, but there hasn’t been much news of him recently. Hopefully there will be more to report soon.
  • Sulieman Benn has overcome the apparent West Indian anti-spin bias to show some promise whilst going for quite a lot of runs, but he needs to play more cricket against sides that aren’t Australia before he can be properly assessed.

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The last two of my XI to watch:

That completes the XI. Now watch me squirm as they fade from view.

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