LAHORE: There is no truth in rumours that Fawad Alam was dropped due to either his batting technique or issues with the management, Sarfraz Ahmed clarified on Saturday, adding that it was a unanimous decision to include youngsters instead.
Talking to a press conference in Lahore, Pakistan’s all-format captain said, “This is completely false that Fawad was not picked up on the bases of techniques, management issue or any other fault in him.”
Sarfraz told media that other players performed better than Fawad according to the selector’s standards which is why the left-handed batsman was dropped.
“Fawad has not played a Test since 2009 but he was called to the camp as one of the probable players who could’ve been selected for the upcoming tour. Just because he was called it does not mean it was a done deal that he would be selected for the team. Since Usman Salahuddin and Saad Ali performed better, hence they were picked,” he explained.
He further said, “We have four selectors, a coach and a captain. Whenever a squad is being formed everyone offers their opinion and then the final side is picked with mutual understanding and cooperation. Squads aren’t selected unilaterally or without consultation — it doesn’t work that way.”
Sarfraz rejected the idea that Inzamam-ul-Haq, the chief selector, was behind the decision.
‘BEST OF THE BEST’:
Sarfraz Ahmed brushed aside criticism saying that the 16-man squad selected for the tour is the “best of the best”.
Pakistan have picked a fairly young Test squad, with five uncapped players: Fakhar Zaman, Faheem Ashraf, Imam ul Haq and Usman Salahuddin. While Alam’s exclusion caused widespread debate in Pakistan, the team continued to train in Lahore as per normal, undergoing extensive drills in preparation for the tour.
“There is no pressure, but there is a will to form a squad with the best players,” Sarfraz said. “Invariably, a few will get left out, and only 16 make the squad, but there is nothing to worry. There is no problem for those who are not selected this time around, and it’s not like they will never be picked again. My hopes are very high and I am optimistic with these new boys. The best thing about them is that they are willing to perform on the big stage.
The Pakistani middle order was once again questioned, with the 16-member squad going to England consisting of four opening batsmen and a spinner and a wobbly middle which could turn dangerous for Pakistan against a team such as England. Shahdab Khan being the only spinner in the team could also be a cause for concern.
However, Sarfraz shared that they had called four spinners to the camp, of which Shahdab Khan had been the best.
“Whenever there is an England tour, the conditions are always tough,” said Sarfaraz. “On our previous tour in 2016, we played matches in July, but this year we are starting a bit earlier, so obviously it will be difficult to some extent. But we are working hard to give these boys as much confidence as possible and prepare ourselves. We have two practice games and we have prepared well here [in Lahore]. The way our batsman and bowlers are doing their hard work to enhance their skills, I believe this is going to get us good results.”
With the conditions in England being cold, Sarfraz hinted that there was a possibility that they might bench the spinner and instead rely on a non-regular leg-spinner such as Haris Sohail and Asad Shafiq.
The Pakistani captain also added that he was looking forward to their encounter against Ireland who would be playing their first ever Test match.
Pakistan will take on Ireland in a test match on May 11, before playing a two-match test series against England on May 24 and June 1.