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Pakistan, for long, have been in a search for an efficient batsman for its middle order particularly for No. 4 position. If the performance of last two years is examined, one would not find any batsman performing consistently at this position. On the contrary there are many batsmen in domestic cricket scoring prolifically, most prominent among them is Faisal Iqbal who has been playing long innings for his team Pakistan International Airline (PIA) as a middle order batsman for the last two seasons but has not come under selectors’ radar.

[caption id="attachment_250" align="alignright" width="205"]Faisal Iqbal represented Pakistan last time in early 2010 (Photo: AFP) Faisal Iqbal represented Pakistan last time in early 2010 (Photo: AFP)[/caption]

Iqbal last represented Pakistan in the devastating tour of Australia. He has been ignored for a long time but has not lost his morale and believes that his consistent performance in domestic circuit would pave way for his return to national side.

Faisal Iqbal started his international career in 2000 and has played 26 Tests and 18 one-day matches. However, he could not establish his place in the side due to the presence of Inzamamul Haq, Younis Khan and Muhammad Yousuf. He has cricket running in his blood, being the nephew of one of the greatest batsmen in Pakistan’s history, Javed Minadad. He also has traces of Miandad’s style of batting but due to this very connection, it is said in many circles, he has been constantly ignored and, for some, his inclusion in national side was nepotism. However, Iqbal has proved, with his performance in domestic cricket, that he has his own identity.

In an interview with Cricnama yesterday, Faisal talked about his performance and representing Pakistan. He said that not only he had been scoring runs in last two domestic seasons but had also performed internationally. He has scored 700 runs in seven matches of the recently held Bangladesh Premier League with a century and three fifties, and also did prominently well in a league organised in the United States. In the current season he played two consecutive match-winning innings, scoring half centuries for his side and he hopes to get back in national side on this performance.

Talking about his experience in playing international leagues, he said he had benefited from working with international coaches improving his batting skills. On the other side he has displayed his batting prowess in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and Pentangular Cup along with the National One Day Cup and has shown consistency in form.

He said that he was lucky for being monitored by selectors and all of his recent big innings were witnessed by selectors in the ground. He believes that as given to several senior players he would also get a chance again to show his skills.

Having played 26 Test and 18 ODIs, Iqbal believes there is no dearth of talented players in Pakistan. Several players have been scoring more than 1000 runs in every season consistently and there are many bowlers picking more than 50 wickets. In his opinion, hence it would be wrong to suggest that we do not have players, we just need to groom the available talent. He suggested that all domestic matches should be broadcasted live; it would be a step for better future of national cricket bringing out players to fans and experts.

Iqbal expressed his well wishes for Pakistan team and said that the responsibility would lie with batsmen, if they score big then Pakistan with their strong bowling can win the Asia Cup. Regarding the return of international cricket to Pakistan, he praised the positive steps taken by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf and expressed his hope to see the grounds of Pakistan booming soon.
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