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England v Pakistan

Wasim Akram explains why Pakistan should play Fawad Alam in the second Test against England

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Pakistan pace legend Wasim Akram has explained why the team needs to include Fawad Alam in their XI for the second Test against England, which starts on Thursday in Southampton.

The Pakistan team management opted to include both Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan in the first Test, with the pitch at Emirates Old Trafford thought to be susceptible to spin. However, the conditions at the Ageas Bowl are expected to be different.

That would mean Pakistan would discard a spinner, leaving a spot for an extra batsman in the side. Akram believes Fawad Alam is the perfect candidate to fill that gap.

Alam has a first-class average of 56.78, and despite not played Test cricket since 2009, Akram believes the 34-year-old is a shoo-in. “In the next match, you won’t find a turning wicket,” Akram told Samaa TV. “You will play with one spinner and you will have to play with an extra batsman.

“You need a middle-order batsman and Fawad Alam is the one. He is also a left-hander, so the team can have a left-right combination. He has an average of 56 in first-class cricket, has a hundred on Test debut, so you will have to give him a chance. So if I was the captain, I would include him in the middle order.”

Akram had also questioned Pakistan captain Azhar Ali for not being aggressive enough to break the 139-run stand between Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler, which proved a decisive factor in their defeat in the first Test.

“Winning and losing is part of cricket, but I think our captain missed a trick quite a few times in this game, as far as his leadership is concerned,” Wasim Akram told Sky Sports. “When Woakes came in, there were no bouncers, no short deliveries, they let him settle down and runs were coming easy.

“Once the partnership got going, nothing happened – the turn didn’t happen, swing didn’t happen – and Buttler and Woakes just took the game away.

“We’re not county bowlers who are just going to come and bowl line and length all day long. We’ve got a 17-year-old [Naseem], who bowls 90mph, a 20-year-old [Shaheen Afridi], who is around 88mph, and they should be bowling a lot more overs – 18-20 overs each innings, no matter the situation.”

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