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Azhar Ali

Name: Azhar Ali

Birth date: 1985-02-19
Hometown: Lahore, Punjab
Teams: Pakistan, Khan Research Laboratories, Lahore, Lahore Eagles, Lahore Lions, Pakistan A
Debut: Test: Jul 13-16, 2010 ODI: May 30, 2011
 

Azhar Ali started his cricketing life as a leg spinner who batted in the lower/middle order. However as his leg spin became less and less utilised at KRL, Azhar had to work even harder on his batting to retain his spot in the KRL starting eleven and gradually he was moved up the order with a decent amount of success. His confidence with the bat grew in the top order and whilst his leg spin became an afterthought, his batting developed and progressed. Consistency in his batting became more apparent and this brought recognition with a couple of “A” tours, including one to Australia.

 

If domestic records are the be-all and end-all of international selection then Azhar may never have got his chance. Azhar’s first class batting average hovered around the 30 mark for many years and it was only down to the foresight of the selectors in 2010 that he was given his international chance in the absence ofthe experienced duo of Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf - and Azhar has not looked back since.

 

Azhar scored his first Test fifty at Headingley while Pakistan were chasing 180 against Australia. He then scored nine more fifties before registering his maiden Test hundred. Displaying immense temperament and application, he scored a hundred against England in a low-scoring game in Dubai in 2011-12. He finished as the only batsman from either side to average more than 50 in the series, thereby cementing his number three spot in the Test side. Twice Azhar has passed the 150 mark, on both occasions reaching 157, once against England in Dubai in February and the other occasion in Colombo against Sri Lanka.

 

Azhar's first few years in international cricket have shown that he has the fortitude and mental aptitude for a battle. Whilst he has made four half-centuries in the 14 ODIs he has played, many are unconvinced that Azhar is the right man to be opening in the fifty over format.

 

[Last updated on: 24/12/2013]