Monday, July 13, 2009

Is Fawad Alam's Century The Worst Thing That Could Have Happened To Him?

Just a thought:

Fawad Alam is not an opener. He's never opened in his life, at any serious level of cricket, before this match. The fact that he scored a hundred in trying circumstances is a testament to his temperament and skill. But he may well have done a disservice to himself. This performance will lead our extremely-low-IQ management to think: "Excellent! We've found ourselves an opener!" when he really isn't one.

Bottomline: Fawad should be in the middle order, in place of either Malik or Misbah, depending on your point of view. We should have two openers who've actually played as openers in first class and U-19 cricket. If Fawad is persisted with at the top, he may well end up failing more than he succeeds, and summarily dismissed a year from now. And that would be a travesty.

16 comments:

Ali K. said...

Not Just Fawad Alam Khurram Manzoor does not have the technique to be an opener as well. But i'd give Asim Kamal a shot in the middle before anyone else.

Q said...

Well said Ahsan.. Fawad has been the best middle order batsman in the country for 3-4 years now and it will indeed be a great travesty if he was dropped for failing as an opener..

I wrote about caution when judging Fawad Alam as an opener, which people will not do and will regard him as the solution... he made the most of the opportunity given to him and I hope he can continue in the same vein..

I completely agree abt the openers.. we need specialists and we need Fawad at 5 or 6..

Having said that.. If Australia could turn Langer and Katich into openers, and India could do the same with Sehwag, no reason why we can't do it with Fawad...

I wouldn't risk it though...

Aasim said...

I agree with Ahsan. I recently read that Aamir Sohail too was not an opener by choice, but started opening in first class cricket because he was outright told that he will not make it to the national team in the middle order cos of batsmen like saleem malik, miandad etc. I think the same is true for langer and katich. Who could they have replaced? Faadi, on the other hand can play in place of shoaib malik or misbah.
I really dont see why Shoaib Malik playes tests.
I haven't racked Yasir Hameed's performance lately, but I don't think he was given a prolonged enough run at the top of the order. Maybe bring him in and open with him.

Ahsan said...

Asim Kamal? Yasir Hameed? I didn't know we had been transported back to 2004. Come on guys. We can do better than that. Asim Kamal was unjustifiably dropped, yes, but he never performed in domestic cricket after he got dropped and is too old to give another shot now. Yasir Hameed against spin is truly a sight to behold -- watching him against Kumble a couple of years was quite something. We need to move on.

I say we keep looking for youngsters and seeing what pops up.

I see the point about the Katich/Langer/Sehwag/Aamir Sohail/Saeed Anwar (who started as a middle order bat, slow left arm bowler in his youth). But here's the thing:

1. Langer was a number 3, and a number 3 and an opener are basically the same thing.

2. Sehwag is a once-in-a-lifetime player. No one will ever be able to do what he's done at the top of the order in test cricket.

3. Saeed and Aamir? Yes, they were converted successfully. But that's no guarantee that we can convert Fawad successfully. Much better to give him Malik's slot at 5/6 in tests, and keep looking.

Aasim said...

Agreed on Asim Kamal. The guy hasnt done anythign recently in domestic cricket, and now that i looked at Yasir Hameed's stats, his test average would be sub 30 if you remove bangladesh from the picture. I guess we can just sit back and wait for the day we get a half decent opener.

bubs said...

I would completely disagree about dropping Shoaib Malik. His batting has greatly improved and the guy is very responsible. Same with Misbah.

But I have to agree that Fawad is totally unsuited to opening the batting. His footwork against fast bowling is suspect and he is much better against spinners.

How likely is it that Fawad will meet a fate similar to that of other Pakistanis who made centuries on debut? In recent years, we have had Yasir Hamid , Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Mahmood, Mohammad Wasim and Ali Naqvi (remember him?) score centuries on debut. The only Pakistan player since Saleem Malik and Miandad to have a successful career after starting with a century is Younis Khan.

8585 said...

Keep an eye for Umar Akmal, who is scoring century after century in Australia for Pakistan 'A'. He's 19, and yes, he is Kamran's younger brother.

Q said...

Asim Kamal and Yasir Hameed are past their sell by date.. the former was left out without justification but he's past his best.. he hasn't even played domestic cricket for a long time.. the latter failed to live up to the expectations.. was given many chances...

Its highly unlikely that Fawad Alam goes the same way as the some of the more recent debutant centurions or the way of other openers tried in the past for the simple reason that Fawad is a much more accomplished batsman than anyone named here...

The likes of Taufeeq Umar, Yasir Hameed, Imran Farhat, Ali Naqvi, etc had a very heavy domestic season behind them, which got them international caps... On the other hand, Fawad has 4 years of highly successful domestic competitions, Pakistan A yours, and Pakistan Academy tours. His first-class record is unmatched.

He has the potential to be a great batsman for Pakistan. I only hope that opening does not minimize this potential in the longer run.

Q said...

@8585: Yep I have been following Umar's stint in Australia with Pakistan A and he is another promising talent.. I'm not sure about the age cos he looks a lot older but he's one awesome bat. He had a very good domestic season, his first, last year where he hit a 250 and a 150 in consecutive games at better than a run a ball..

He hit 2 centuries in the 2 tests against Aus A and then another in the 1st ODI..

He's a middle order batsman and should be around the international scene soon...

karachi khatmal said...

if all of us are so convinced that fawad alam is accomplished, then why not let him open?

i hate to break it to you, but without a solid opening partnership we will never be a good test side. and as far as i am concerned, pakistan's test prospects are far dearer to me than fawad's career.

personally, i don't think fawad would make it as an opener with that shuffle, but then maybe he could do a katich/chanderpaul thing and make it huge.

Q said...

KK, Katich has made it as opener with that shuffle so no reason why Fawad can't..

BUT i am not a fan of makeshifts.. will never be.. we need solid opening batsmen who are opening batsmen cos thats what they want to be, cos thats what they have been doing, those who have been opening at different levels before international...

Ahmed Shehzad is a promising prospect.. as is Azhar Ali.. Maybe if Khurram is given a prolonged run he could be a good one too, though he lacks in technique..

As for Fawad.. he has a great future ahead for Pakistan but in the middle order..

karachi khatmal said...

considering how well the middle order has been playing, i think fawad as opener would be the best thing to come out of this godforsaken match

el gaffer said...

One of the reasons debutants score centuries is because opponents haven't had the chance to figure out their weaknesses. Batsmen then either fail to improve or they aren't given the chance to.

I'd be tempted to go with one of the "U-19" guys - Ahmed Shahzad and/or Umar Amin at the top of the order. Shahzad looked poor during the T20 but he made 170 against E-U19's a couple of years ago in trying circumstances. Amin reminds me of Sangakara.

Also, for all the Fawad Alam talk you can handle (and more), visit theoffsidetrap.com !

Ahsan said...

Well that was fun. I watched it until Malik got bowled through the gate, and switched it off. Good times. Few thoughts and reactions:

1. Just because someone shuffles doesn't make them technically suspect. In a way, EVERY batsmen in the world shuffles. Some just look better at doing it than others. Think about Lara -- what do you think that little hop across his stumps was? A fucking shuffle, that's what. He just looked beautiful doing it, so no one called it that. A shuffle is just a series of trigger movements to get you in position to play the ball, and I've yet to see any player at any level in the game who doesn't have it.

2. Upon further reflection, I think we should leave it up to Fawad himself. If he doesn't have any problems with it, maybe he should continue to open. As a commenter above said, maybe his faults will be worked out, but I trust him to work through it. And in a weird way, being an opener will give him a longer leash -- think of how many times the likes of Yasir Hameed and Taufeeq Umar staged combacks. When you're a Pakistani opener, the national team is never too far away. So even if he suffers a dip in form, he'll be given more allowance than if he was in the middle.

3. Speaking of which, time for Malik to go. He adds absolutely nothing to the team. You guys seem to be talking about Umar Akmal, ok then bring him in. Anyone, really. Young guys tend to do well under Younis, so let's give him a young team.

4. Misbah...you're on your last warning.

Q said...

Ahsan,

You r right abt the shuffle.. plenty of batsmen have it and Lara's was the most pronounced one.. but there r some who don't.. Mohammad Yousuf for one stands more still than anyone else till the ball comes to him.. Sehwag is another, he hardly moves..

As for Fawad and opening, I guess ur right.. if he feels he can do it then he might as well, but I would still want specialists to come in particularly because we have tours to NZ, Aus, and Eng lined up in the next 12 months and nothing short of specialist openers will work there.. Fawad will be invaluable in the middle order on those tours...

Anonymous said...

fuck misbah as well, if fawad is to play in the middle with specialist openers (and with the impending return of afridi) both misbah and malik have to go.

as far as last chances go, i think akmal has to be right up there, if u check the scorecards from the A team tour to australia, sarfaraz ahmed has been one of the best batsmen (in addition to being a better keeper than akmal)