A question was raised after Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan announced their retirement from test cricket. ”Who will replace them?”. For years Misbah and Younis anchored Pakistan’s middle-order together. No matter what the situation used to be, everyone used to have their expectations high until they were not dismissed. Both served the team in a lot of tougher situations and the team got very dependent on them and their retirements left a huge whole in the team’s middle-order. Fawad Alam is rated as the best replacement of Misbah who can still serve the team with few years left and can carry on with the team’s middle-order but despite of all the impressive performances by Fawad, he was still left out of the squad. Haris Sohail got a call for the two tests against Sri Lanka in UAE in September 2017.
Haris came into the picture out of proportion. No one really considered him for tests as Fawad Alam was highlighted by the media more than Haris was. But calling up Haris seemed to be a great deal as he had a decent debut series scoring 176 runs and taking 5 wickets in two tests. Him being part of the team turned out to give a positive sight for the future. But, on the same side Babar Azam’s failure in the test format continued and he failed to contribute, again. Many want to give him some space and want him to carry on with test cricket while, some suggest he should play some First-Class cricket to improve his red ball cricket. It all depends on the coaching staff and the selection committee whether he should still be a part of the test team or not. In the meantime, Pakistan has alternatives as well.
One is, obviously, Fawad Alam. A decent strong middle-order batsman with a healthy average of 55 in First-Class Cricket and is known for playing recovering knocks as well, which Pakistan needs a lot since the top-order can collapse out of nowhere. The best thing about Fawad is the consistency he has. It’s like a gift from God! He is already considered as one of the senior cricketer in the country and youngsters admire him for the way he guides them. He can have a good impact in the team. This season he scored 570 runs with an averages on 40.71 in tough conditions. He’s probably in the form of his life and he might just give the anchor Pakistan is currently lacking in the middle-order. The 32 years-old awaits for his return in the national team.
But Fawad Alam isn’t the only one out there aiming to be a part of the test squad. The 24 years old Saad Ali from Karachi is said to be one of the most competitive batsman in the race to be selected for the national test team. The ambitious left-handed batsman was also the highest run scorer of the recent season of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy 2017. Saad scored 957 runs at an average of 68.35 for UBL. His recent good performances paved his path to Islamabad’s squad in the National T20 Cup where he scored a quick fifty in one of the match of the tournament. Over the years Saad has been developing his cricket very well and aims to be a part of the national team very soon. He has played with the current national cricketers like Babar Azam and Imam ul-Haq in the under-19 team. He is also selected by Quetta Gladiators for the third edition of PSL and he hopes he can carry on with his form to pave his way to the national side through PSL.
Both are currently the best options and its up to the selectors to get the best out of them. Saad is young and can offer a long-term cricket for Pakistan. He has a unique style of playing and is a player who can play all three formats according to its nature. He has a healthy strike-rate in the T20s and List A games as well. While Fawad offers experience he has gained throughout the years and can play a very good role in the team.