Se­lec­tors’ faith in Ali is jus­ti­fied

SHUNNED: LATE BLOOMER WAS ONCE TOLD HE WAS TOO FAT

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport - Rawalpindi

Abid Ali was once shunned by Pak­istan se­lec­tors who thought he was over­weight, but his per­sis­tence and pa­tience paid off as he set a world first in the home­com­ing Test against Sri Lanka.

Ten years af­ter a mil­i­tant at­tack on Sri Lanka’s team made Pak­istan a no-go zone for for­eign sides, Abid was the hero in an oth­er­wise dis­ap­point­ing re­turn for Test cricket to the cricket-mad na­tion.

A weather-hit draw failed to set pulses rac­ing but Abid com­pleted the unique feat of scor­ing hun­dreds in both his ODI and Test de­buts, hit­ting 109 not out in Rawalpindi fol­low­ing his 112 against Aus­tralia in his first one­day in­ter­na­tional in March.

In­ter­na­tional suc­cess has come late for Abid, 32, who has per­se­vered de­spite con­stant snubs by se­lec­tors and coaches alike.

At one point Abid, who like leg­endary fast bowler Wasim Akram comes from La­hore’s Mozang area, was even dis­carded by city se­lec­tors.

He re­sponded by play­ing out of the Islamabad re­gion – and piled up the runs, 1 083 in the 2012/2013 sea­son.

But de­spite his pro­lific bat­ting, na­tional se­lec­tors con­tin­u­ally over­looked Abid, say­ing he was car­ry­ing too much weight and lack­ing in fit­ness.

The most re­cent snub came at this year’s one-day World Cup, where Abid was left out of Pak­istan’s squad af­ter be­ing dis­missed for just five against Eng­land.

It meant that Abid missed a rare chance to meet his idol, In­dian bat­ting great Sachin Ten­dulkar,

to whom he is some­times com­pared be­cause of his skill and diminu­tive stature.

“I had never grum­bled on be­ing ig­nored,” said Abid.

“I could not meet Ten­dulkar be­cause I did not play the World Cup,” he added. “I had pa­tience and I had a be­lief that my time will come and then I will prove what I am ca­pa­ble of.”

Abid smashed 249 not out for

Sindh in the Quaid-e-Azam tro­phy. earn­ing a place on Pak­istan’s Test tour of Aus­tralia.

But he missed out on a place in the team for both Tests, which Pak­istan lost heav­ily.

Fi­nally, he was handed a green cap last week in Rawalpindi, the first Test in Pak­istan since the 2009 mil­i­tant at­tack that left eight peo­ple dead and sev­eral wounded. – AFP

Pic­ture: AFP

PA­TIENT. Pak­istan’s Abid Ali cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing a cen­tury dur­ing the fi­nal day of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi.

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