Pakistan recalls forgotten Fawad Alam for Sri Lanka Test

In this file photo, Pakistan cricketer Fawad Alam raises his bat after he scored a century during the second day of the second Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Colombo on July 13, 2009. (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2019

Pakistan recalls forgotten Fawad Alam for Sri Lanka Test

  • Alam, after hitting a debut century in 2009, was discarded after playing just three Tests
  • The first Test starts on Wednesday, a match that marks the return of Test cricket to Pakistan after 10 years

KARACHI: Pakistan recalled forgotten batsman Fawad Alam on Saturday for the upcoming two-match Test series against Sri Lanka, after a gap of ten years following the left-hander’s prolific form in domestic matches.
The 34-year-old hit a debut century against Sri Lanka but was discarded after playing just three Tests in 2009.
But Alam hit four hundreds in the current Quaid-e-Azam trophy — piling up 781 runs — and boasts a first class average of 56.84, 22nd highest in the world.
And chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq said Alam’s form is not spread over one year.
“Alam has been performing so well at the domestic level so we have recalled him for a chance and we hope he delivers,” said Misbah, also the team’s head coach.
Pakistan is smarting from last week’s 2-0 defeat — both by an innings — in Australia that left not only Misbah but new captain Azhar Ali under tremendous pressure.
Middle-order batsman Iftikhar Ahmed, who managed just 44 runs in four innings in Australia, and the teenage pacer Mohammad Musa Khan were left off the newly announced squad list.
The first Test starts in Rawalpindi from Wednesday, a match that marks the return of Test cricket to Pakistan after ten years.
They were forced to play home matches in the United Arab Emirates after the 2009 terror attacks. The country hosted international limited over matches between 2015-2019 although no team has yet agreed to play five-day matches.
Sri Lanka, who also played three one-day internationals and as many Twenty20s in Pakistan in September-October, arrive on Sunday.
Left-arm pacer Usman Shinwari, 25, is also drafted in the squad and may play a Test for the first time.
Meanwhile, 16-year-old pacer Naseem Shah is also retained despite being selected in Pakistan’s Under-19 squad for next month’s Junior World Cup in South Africa.
Yasir Shah and uncapped left-armer Kashif Bhatti will be the two spinners in the 16-man squad.
The second Test will be played in Karachi from December 19.

Squad: Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Naseem Shah, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah, Usman Shinwari


‘Baby don’t go’: American singer Cher in Pakistan to bid farewell to Kaavan the elephant 

Updated 27 November 2020

‘Baby don’t go’: American singer Cher in Pakistan to bid farewell to Kaavan the elephant 

  • The 'world's loneliest elephant' has languished in the Islamabad zoo for 35 years and lost his partner in 2012
  • Cher and animal rights groups have campaigned for years for the elephant’s better treatment and freedom 

ISLAMABAD: American singing sensation Cher called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday during a visit to Pakistan to celebrate the departure of Kaavan, dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant,” who is all set to leave an Islamabad zoo for a sanctuary in Cambodia.

Cher and other rights groups have for years lobbied for the better treatment and release of Kaavan, who has languished in the Islamabad zoo for 35 years. He was diagnosed by veterinarians as both overweight and malnourished earlier this year, and also suffers behavioral issues. He will leave for Cambodia on Sunday.

“Appreciating her efforts in retiring Kavan to an elephant sanctuary, the Prime Minister thanked Cher for her campaign and role in this regard,” a government handout said. “The Prime Minister observed that it was indeed a happy moment for all of us that after giving joy and happiness to the people of Islamabad and Pakistan for about 35 years, Kavan will now be able to retire with other elephants in a specialized sanctuary in Cambodia.”

Khan also invited the singer to contribute towards the government's initiative to expand its tourism and environmental programs, “to which she kindly agreed.”

“On this occasion, Cher applauded the Prime Minister for his government's key initiatives for ensuring a cleaner and greener Pakistan,” the statement added. “She also offered her support for furthering the green initiatives through her organization 'Free the Wild' and thanked the Prime Minister.”

Cher took up Kaavan’s cause and has been a loud voice advocating for his resettlement. Four Paws International, a Vienna-based animal welfare group, has also led the charge to save Kaavan and provided the medical treatment needed before he can travel. The battle for his relocation began in 2016.

Even after he’s in Cambodia, Kaavan will require years of physical and even psychological assistance, Four Paws' representatives have said.

Because of the abysmal living conditions blamed on systemic negligence, Pakistan’s high court in May ordered the closure of Marghazar Zoo in the capital of Islamabad, where Kaavan has lived for much of his life. A medical examination in September showed Kaavan’s nails were cracked and overgrown — the result of years of living in an improper enclosure with flooring that damaged his feet.

The elephant has also developed stereotypical behavior, shaking his head back and forth for hours, which the medical team of wildlife veterinarians and experts blamed on his utter boredom.

For the past three months, a Four Paws team including veterinarian Dr. Amil Khalil and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board has been readying Kaavan to leave. Members of the welfare group will also accompany him to the sanctuary.