Waugh backs inclusion of Fawad, Wade for India tour

Sydney, Jan 4 (IANS) Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh on Wednesday called for the inclusion of Pakistan-born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed for the upcoming four-Test tour to India next month.

After a forgettable year in Tests, the Kangaroos had picked themselves up towards the later part of 2016, by taking a 2-0 lead over Pakistan in the ongoing three-match rubber.

Waugh also backed the inclusion of wicketkeeper Matthew Wade for the upcoming tour, despite the southpaw being out of touch with the willow.

While the 34-year-old Fawad’s inclusion is still unclear, Nathan Lyon, Steve O’Keefe and Ashton Agar will be the most likely picks for the India tour.

However, Waugh felt that the leg-spinner could succeed in the subcontinent although he is still out of the equation.

“Someone like Fawad Ahmed I’d like to see in the picture but he doesn’t seem to get a mention. I think he could do really well on Indian pitches but he seems to be a fair way out of calculation,” Waugh was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

“Agar, he’s a huge talent and did well in his first Test match (in 2013). He says he’s an all-rounder so he’ll add something to (the squad).”

Fawad gained Australian citizenship on the eve of the 2013 Ashes and, while he didn’t make the Test squad for that series, made his international debut in a Twenty20 clash against England in August that year.

Meanwhile, Waugh also asked the Cricket Australia (CA) selectors to stick with Wade as the stumper despite the 29-year-old’s poor run with the willow.

“(The selectors) obviously believe (Wade) is a good keeper as well (as a good batsman),” Waugh said.

“To replace Peter Nevill, you wouldn’t do that without thinking it through because Nevill’s a fantastic keeper and a good batsman.”

“They obviously believe Wade can keep well and he’s done a pretty good job so far.”

“I’m a big believer in backing someone until you believe there’s someone better to replace them. They’ve picked him and he’s done OK. He needs some runs to stay in the side but I don’t think they change a winning side,” the legendary batsman added.

The Steve Smith-led Australians will play a four-Test rubber against India, with the first Test starting in Pune on February 23.