Selectors’ faith in Ali is justified
SHUNNED: LATE BLOOMER WAS ONCE TOLD HE WAS TOO FAT
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
PATIENT. Pakistan’s Abid Ali celebrates after scoring a century during the final day of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi.