LAHORE: Batsman Fawad Alam returned to Pakistan’s Test squad for the upcoming two-match series against Sri Lanka. Alam has made a return to the longest format of the game after a decade. He last played a Test match against New Zealand in 2009. The last time he featured for the Pakistani side was in 2015, when he played an ODI against Bangladesh.
Alam has been one of the most prolific and consistent batsmen in Pakistan’s domestic circuit, having scored 672 runs in the 2015-16 season, 499 runs in the 2016-17 season, 570 runs in the 2017-18 season, 699 runs in the 2018-19 and 781 runs in the ongoing 2019-20 season.
Apart from Alam, left-arm pacer Usman Shinwari also finds a spot in the squad. Shinwari took 15 wickets in six Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2019-20 first-class matches at an average of just over 25.
Iftikhar Ahmed, who played against Australia in the two-match series, failed to make it to the side.
Pakistan squad for Sri Lanka Test series: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, HarisSohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah, Usman Shinwari.
Chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said in an official statement: “I want to congratulate Fawad Alam on his selection for the Sri Lanka Tests. It is a reward for his continued hard work, perseverance and dedication to the game. His selection is not only a lesson to the emerging cricketers but also a testament of the selectors’ policy of valuing domestic cricket and rewarding consistent performers.”
This series will provide Pakistan a chance to grab 120 points in the World Test Championship standings. The first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka started at Rawalpindi from December 11 to 15.
Pakistan will play their first Test on home soil after a gap of ten years.
In 2009, the Sri Lankan team was on their way to Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore for a Test match with Pakistan, when terrorists fired indiscriminately on their bus. That attack left eight people dead and injured seven Sri Lankan players and staff.
Since then, international cricket had eluded Pakistan with no high-profile team visiting the country for a full-length tour.