Pakistan has recalled 34-year-old middle-order batsman Fawad Alam for the first time in 10 years for the test series against Sri Lanka.
Chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said Saturday that the lefthanded batsman was selected because of his recent prolific scoring in domestic cricket. The series, which is part of ICC's World Test Championship, starts at Rawalpindi next Wednesday. Karachi will host the second test from Dec. 19-23.
Alam last played a test match against New Zealand at Dunedin in 2009, eight months after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus at Lahore that shut the doors of international cricket on Pakistan. Alam scored a century in his debut test against Sri Lanka in July 2009 and has scored over 12,222 runs in a 16-year first class career at a healthy average of 56.84.
His last test was a test defeat to the Black Caps where he faced a bowling attack of Shane Bond, Ian O'Brien and Chris Martin, dismissed by Bond twice in the 32-run defeat. The only Black Caps player who played in the test still playing cricket is Ross Taylor, who has played 76 tests since Alam last played for his country.
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Alam is one of the two changes Pakistan selectors have made from the 16-man squad that lost the two-test matches against Australia.
Alam has replaced Iftikhar Ahmed while leftarm fast bowler Usman Shinwari comes in in place of young fast bowler Mohammad Musa. Misbah said Musa will remain with the test squad and will continue working with bowling coach Waqar Younis.
"Our thinking is that we need consistency in the team and that's the reason we didn't make a lot of changes for the series against Sri Lanka," Misbah said. "There should be continuity so that players get confidence. We made changes where we feel it's necessary."
Misbah was given three responsibilities — chief selector, head coach and batting coach —when the Pakistan Cricket Board removed head coach Mickey Arthur and batting coach Grant Flower after the World Cup while chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq stepped down.
"The perspective is that it's a one-man show," Misbah said. "I think there should be a clarity on this, there are six selectors who closely watch players in domestic cricket and also do work with the players on their technique. They know all the minus and plus of these players very well and my prime job is the head coach."