KARACHI - Former batting great Younis Khan has thrown his support behind the long-ignored Fawad Alam, saying that the all-rounder would have been in his Test team if he were captain.

Lamenting the continuous non-selection of the all-rounder, Younus said it is tragic that Fawad has been excluded from Pakistan’s Test squad for the upcoming England and Ireland tours despite performing consistently in domestic cricket. “He is unlucky that, despite scoring massive runs in first-class cricket, he is being ignored,” said the former batsman, who retired in 2017 after becoming the first Pakistani to score 10,000+ Test runs.

Expressing his reservation at the 16-member Pakistan Test squad announced for the tours next month, Younus pointed out that even experienced teams have struggled in the cold, wet conditions of Ireland and England. “When we toured England in 2016 under Misbah captaincy, we managed to draw but didn’t win the series,” the cricketer recalled, adding that the younger team, led by Sarfraz Ahmed, could struggle in the English conditions.

According to Younus, there is no merit to the criticism that often surrounds Fawad Alam’s batting technique. “I refuse to believe it,” he said, pointing out that every player performs with his particular technique. He recalled that many people thought he would fail in England and Australia, but he proved them wrong with a batting average of 50.63 in 6 Tests he played in Australia, and 50.52 in 9 Tests in England.

As far as the age factor is concerned, for him, it’s just a number. “It would be wrong to make age an excuse to decide someone’s career,” he said. Fawad Alam is 32 years old, with most of his years spent waiting for a chance to play in the national side. Misbah played for Pakistan till he was 42 years old, and he himself played till the age of 39, Younis said, pointing out that age was never a hurdle in his performance and records.

The veteran remarked that the coach, selectors and captain should always make decisions in the wider interests of the team. Assuming that any one person’s opinion is correct, does not yield any benefit when you’re a coach, selector or captain, Younus added.

FAWAD ALAM READY FOR NEXT CHALLENGE: Fawad Alam has said that it does not matter if he was picked or not, he will keep working on his fitness. He said he was not disheartened about not being picked since that is part of the game. "It's not like everyone who plays gets picked, it is part of the game," he added.

Alam also said that there is plenty of domestic cricket to look forward to and he is working on his fitness at the moment. "For me, the next thing is keeping fit and continuing to be a part of the domestic circuit. I have Grade-II semifinal for Karachi coming up followed by Pakistan Cup," he added.

He said although he wasn’t picked despite performing well in the domestic cricket, yet it doesn’t mean he will leave the game. "Cricket is our bread and butter and I do not know anything else besides that. What else am I going to do besides play cricket?"