“Pressure is a lot at the international level, especially making a comeback after a long time” – Fawad Alam

Veteran Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam has said that he was under tremendous pressure coming into the series against South Africa, as has made a comeback to the team after almost a decade.

Batting first in the first Test in Karachi, South Africa were bowled out for 220. In response, Pakistan were tottering at 27-4; but Fawad Alam‘s third Test century helped the hosts take a significant 158-run lead en route a seven-wicket win.

Speaking in the post-match presentation ceremony, Fawad Alam provided a sneak peek of his thought process when he arrived at the crease in the Pakistan first innings.

“Very important knock. The team was 27/4. The better we did in the first innings, the easier it would’ve been. Pressure is a lot at the international level, especially making a comeback after such a long time,” Fawad Alam said.

Thanks to Fawad Alam’s exploits with the bat in the first innings, Pakistan only needed to chase down 88 runs. They did that for the loss of three wickets to take a 1-0 series lead, with Fawad Alam fittingly hitting the winning runs.

The 35-year-old expressed happiness after making a successful comeback to the team.

Fawad Alam explained how he focussed on playing each ball to its merit and didn’t think too far ahead of himself. The tactic surely helped.

The veteran batsman forged key partnerships with the likes of Azhar Ali and Faheem Ashraf to bail his team out of trouble and deservedly won the Man of the Match award.

“I’m enjoying my time in the dressing room. Pitch had double (variable) bounce, double pace; there were rough patches. But the talk was about applying yourself, going with the flow and not think about what’s happening off the pitch. That was my thinking — to apply myself,” Fawad Alam asserted.

Fawad Alam’s century against South Africa has come just a few days after his fabulous hundred against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui. Despite nearing the twilight of his career, the 35-year-old has looked the most comfortable of all Pakistan batsmen against both pace and spin.

After making his Test debut in 2009, when he became the first Pakistan player to score a hundred away from home in their first Test, Fawad Alam found himself inexplicably on the sidelines for a decade.

Making his comeback after almost a decade, Fawad Alam scored a four-ball duck in the second Test against England in June last year.

However, as fate would have it, the veteran left-hander was persisted with for the tour of New Zealand. He responded with a gritty century in Mount Maunganui before producing a match-winning effort in Karachi.

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