Should Fawad Alam be dropped for next Test series?

Fawad Alam had a miserable display against Australia as he only managed 33 runs in four innings

Should Fawad Alam be dropped for next Test series? PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

For someone who was voted in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Team of the Year 2022, Fawad Alam failed miserably in the recently concluded Benaud-Qadir Trophy.

What is a telling sign? Well, if your premier batsman is amassing lesser runs than bowlers who are part-time batters at best - that could be one.

Fawad Alam was ranked 17th in the list of most run-getters during the series against Australia. The left-hander amassed lesser runs than Sajid Khan, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, and Pat Cummins.

Fawad did not get to bat in the first Test match which was played in Rawalpindi as Iftikhar Ahmed was promoted up the order in the first innings while the openers led Pakistan to an expected draw in the second innings after posting 252-0 on the board.

The second Test match saw Alam return to the pavilion on the first ball after Mitchell Starc swung one back while the skipper Cummins's emphatic spell ended his stay at the crease after 52 minutes in the following innings. Although Pakistan managed to draw the match thanks to Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, Fawad Alam's contribution was next to non-existent. His dismissals would have been highlighted even more had everybody not had been busy delivering well-deserved praise to skipper Babar who broke several records to help Pakistan to a draw.

The third and deciding Test match demanded players to step up as it had a lot riding on it; Pakistan were one-off top-ranked Australia in the World Test Championship points table.

Despite what was at stake, Fawad's performances were once again forgetful. Similar to the second Test match, Fawad fell prey to Starc and Cummins once again as the duo delivered a memorable pace spell that had grit, determination, and quite a bunch of reverse swing.

Fawad Alam vs. Australia: 

  • Innings: 4
  • Runs: 33
  • Highest Score: 13
  • Average: 8.25
  • Strike Rate: 31.73

Should Pakistan Stick with Fawad Alam?

The answer to this question will always be subjective; this is the reason why everyone has an opinion on the matter. However, having an opinion does not or should not mean that it is the right approach.

There is no denying that Fawad had a forgetful series but does one series warrant leaving out a player who was included in the ICC Team of the Year? See, when you put it like that, the entire conversation changes.

Fawad scored 571 runs in 9 matches at an average of 57.10 which also included three centuries against South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the West Indies; the centuries he scored came in tough conditions which should not be conveniently ignored after one bad series.

It is true that Fawad Alam faced a lot of trouble against orthodox swing as well as reverse swing during the series as all four of his dismissals were by either Pat Cummins or Mitchell Starc. However, this should not mean that the player is incapable of playing swing bowling as a whole.

Sachin Tendulkar's words while commenting on Virat Kohli's woeful form in England can be used for Fawad Alam as well. Tendulkar claimed that once a player is not in form, they either move too far across or stop moving their feet -- both things were on display in Fawad's case against Australia.

"When anxiety levels are high, you tend to overcompensate for your movements. When a batsman isn't in good form you either go too far across or don't move your feet at all. That happens to everyone. Form is also your state of mind along with the body working in harmony," said Tendulkar.

The answer to this question is not only subjective but also a complex one; if Fawad is to be dropped then does Pakistan have a reliable backup option readily available? The only names that spring to mind are Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Asad Shafiq — all of whom have had very mediocre performances.

Another approach could be an introduction of a promising youngster. However, for a team that is already lacking in experience - it might not be the most logical approach.