Stats: 1001 runs, 5 tons, 2 titles. Status: FORGOTTEN

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 May 2018 11:18:40


By Rahul Dixit

PLYING his trade in domestic cricket for years, Vidarbha captain Faiz Fazal has definitely learnt the ‘art of living’ — living the life of an unsung hero. He always left it to the destiny which did shower kindness on him but very sparsely. Mostly it has played a truant with Fazal. Another one came on Tuesday when the national selectors slipped into a memory loss and kept Faiz Fazal — the run machine of last domestic season — out of India squads declared for various tournaments.For the records, which the selectors led by Chairman MSK Prasad seem to have simply overlooked, Fazal was the second highest scorer last season after Mayank Agarwal. During the historic fairytale run of Vidarbha team in Ranji Trophy Fazal was the cornerstone, scoring a whopping 912 runs. Add to that the 89 he made against Rest of India for the Irani Trophy triumph.

Over 1000 runs, five centuries including a double, leading a bottom-placed team to two historic titles would have made any player an automatic choice for India ‘A’ tour to England next month but as luck would have it Fazal has yet again been kept waiting by the wise men.
While Mayank Agarwal has rightly found a place in the team the selectors choosing R Samarth of Karnataka and Abhimanyu Easwaran of Bengal over Fazal defies logic. Samarth played a good part with Karnataka scoring 673 runs but Easwaran’s tally of 564 is almost half of what Fazal achieved last season.

Such choices rings Prasad’s words of rewarding players for their domestic performances hollow. After the selection meeting Prasad went to the press claiming that tracking domestic cricket was on the their strong points while selecting the ‘A’ teams.“Credit to my colleagues because one thing that I am very proud about our committee is that we keep track of every match. We have designed a strategy where match referees give their reports on those matches, which we have not watched. So we keep track of every domestic match played in India,” Prasad was quoted.
Had it been the case then the 32-year-old Fazal would have found himself in the India ‘A’ team. The selectors have simply ignored the plusses Fazal brings to the table.
While he had been fantastic in the last season for Vidarbha, Fazal is a regular in English counties for last three seasons. In fact, the southpaw is currently playing for Truro Cricket Club in the Cornwall Premier League.

“Knowing the English conditions would have given a huge advantage to Faiz during the India ‘A’ tour. Sad he has yet again been ignored,” an official of the Vidarbha Cricket Association summed up the mood. While they rejoiced the selection of young pacer Rajneesh Gurbani in the ‘A’ team, the mood was spoiled by Fazal’s exclusion.Fazal has been a relentless trier in domestic cricket for years together. He waited for his chances but did not give up. The India dream was realised two years ago when Fazal was picked for the Zimbabwe One-Day series. He got to play just one match where the Vidarbha skipper scored an unbeaten 55. Others in the team were the likes of Karun Nair and KL Rahul. Both have got ample opportunities since then but Fazal was confined to domestic duties after just one ODI.
Perhaps, the selectors’ tracking system failed to read Fazal’s telling numbers.