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  1. #1
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    "I would love to play 100 Tests for Pakistan" : Azhar Ali

    Regarded as one of Pakistan's most dependable Test batsmen, Azhar Ali has had to contend with the added responsibility of being regarded as one of the natural successors to the two retired Pakistan greats, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.

    In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Azhar Ali spoke about reasons behind the dip in his current form as witnessed in the recently concluded Test series in England, his hopes of playing in the 2019 World Cup for Pakistan, the need for patience to allow the Pakistan Test squad to regain its previous form, qualities that youngsters can learn from Virat Kohli and his aspirations to play 100 Tests for Pakistan.





    PakPassion.net: Were you satisfied with your own performance during the recently concluded Test series against Ireland and England?

    Azhar Ali: To be honest, I wasn’t satisfied with how I played during this series. I felt that my balance at the crease was not right as was the way I played the straighter balls during my time in England. I am currently working on improving myself in both these areas and hope to show better results in the future. Of course, one cannot take away the credit for bowling really well by England's bowlers who will always be very strong in their own conditions as they showed in the second Test match. Having said that, we also played well as we defeated them at Lord’s. We did that with a very young team and against an experienced outfit which is a very impressive achievement as well.


    PakPassion.net: Does constant criticism from media and fans also have an effect on your performance?

    Azhar Ali: As such, this type of criticism should have no real effect on a player’s performance as any cricketer has to be able to deal with such comments. However, people making such comments need to realise that no player becomes a really bad cricketer just because he has performed badly in one or two matches. His abilities are not suddenly reduced due to a temporary dip in form. In my case, there were some comments made along the lines of myself not being able to handle the pressure due to the added responsibility of becoming a senior batsman in the absence of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan. As far as the idea of the stress of responsibility is concerned, I would like to point out that I have been performing well for the past 2 years in almost every country we have played in and have scored the most runs in Tests for Pakistan in that period, so I will do my best to get back into that same sort of form in the near future.


    PakPassion.net: After a great start in ODIs, your form seems to have dipped, why is that?

    Azhar Ali: I don’t agree with the view that my form has had a dip in any one form of cricket as the fact of the matter is that my form has suffered in general in the recent past. One of the reasons for this in the past was due to a troublesome knee injury which has now improved so that I could play in the Test series in Ireland and England. I suppose, it’s now simply down to playing more cricket and batting as much as I can which should help me regain my form as well as confidence.


    PakPassion.net: Is the 2019 World Cup a realistic target for you?

    Azhar Ali: That is absolutely my target to find a place in the Pakistan squad for the 2019 World Cup. I understand that I need to work hard to get into the team but that remains my aim and it will be an honour to represent Pakistan at such a big stage if given the opportunity.


    PakPassion.net: It must be a great time to be a Pakistani cricketer at the moment with the team enjoying some extraordinary successes?

    Azhar Ali: We are in the middle of an excellent period with the number one ranking in T20Is as well as attaining success in the Champions Trophy last year. Looking back to the time when I took over the reins of the ODI team, we had a new side and at that time it seemed that our performances were not up to the mark as the results showed. But by the time I moved away from captaincy, we had quite a few players who had started to settle in and it was simply a matter of time when we would be able to improve and take our performances to a new level. Thankfully, we have now seen that elevation in the level of performances as we have now started to play so well in T20Is and of course that win in the Champions Trophy was also very special, not only for the team but for the nation as well. We are regularly winning more matches and series and I feel that our cricket in the white ball format in particular, has improved tremendously. Whether its bowling or batting, we are doing very well in the shorter formats of the game. In terms of players, there may be one or two places in the team which are still open to change but there are enough good quality back-ups available who can easily fill those positions as and when needed. So overall, we are in a fantastic place as far as Limited-Overs internationals are concerned and one hopes that this will be the case for a long time.


    PakPassion.net: Pakistan may be number one in T20Is, as well as Champions Trophy winners but how can they improve in Test cricket?

    Azhar Ali: I believe we need to have more patience as far as the Test team is concerned. You have to realise that two very senior players have left this side and like any other side in the world facing such a situation, the challenges are many for us. Any new player who comes into the side will take his time to settle in and to understand his role in the team. Make no mistake, we have some talented players, but it is too much to expect them to become a Younis Khan in no time at all. This transformation can only happen with the passage of time and a new side will take its own time to become a settled unit. Having said that, we must appreciate the fact that this young and inexperienced side came over to Ireland and England and won two Tests of the three that they played there. Let’s be honest about the fact that even winning the Test against Ireland on their own home-turf was not an easy task which this team accomplished. The entire credit for this goes to the team and if they can continue at this rate then there is no doubt in my mind that we will be back to the level of performances which we were used to before. But, as I said, a lot of patience needs to be shown by the media as well as the fans during this process. The selectors are already showing a lot of patience in the way they have persisted with some of the youngsters and have also defended their decisions with great passion which must give confidence to the selected players. We have seen the results of such confidence shown in abilities by the selectors in the way players like Babar Azam have developed over time or in the way Hasan Ali and Fakhar Zaman, although he has yet to play a Test, are being helped along to become more established players.


    PakPassion.net: What can young players learn from a player such as Virat Kohli?

    Azhar Ali: I believe the most important ingredient of Virat Kohli’s success is his determination to succeed. His composure in any situation is simply amazing. The level of professionalism that he shows in the game is comfortably the best in the game. His attention to fitness is exemplary and how he has steadily improved game year on year is just incredible. So, it’s all down to his hard-work and his desire to improve his fitness to the extent that I do not believe that any batsman in the world can match him in that aspect. His fitness is demonstrated by the amount of long innings he plays seemingly without being tired. All these qualities are great examples for any youngster to appreciate and are things that they can learn from Virat Kohli to become better cricketers.


    PakPassion.net: Which team do you feel will win the upcoming Test series between England and India?

    Azhar Ali: The prevailing warm weather conditions in England at the moment seem to favour an India victory in the Test series in my view. They are after all, ranked as the number one Test side in the world and the only thing England have in their favour is the fact that they are playing on their home grounds. England may have a good bowling attack for home conditions but in good batting conditions, the Indian batsmen will prosper and can easily put their team in a winning position when the series starts.


    PakPassion.net: You must have been impressed by your new opening partner, Imam-ul-Haq?

    Azhar Ali: He is one of the most hard-working players I have ever seen, and I am really impressed by the way he has steadily improved himself and raised the level of his game to a point that he has now been selected for the Pakistan side in two formats. He had been very good in One-Day cricket but for the last year or so, he has also been playing very good cricket in the longer format of the game. I hope that he will continue to work as hard as he is doing now and become an important member of the Pakistan team.


    PakPassion.net: How has your experience been of playing under Head Coach Mickey Arthur?

    Azhar Ali: It's been a great journey and an amazing experience with Mickey Arthur. One excellent aspect of his coaching style is that he always explains in great detail the reasons for all his decisions. This is a great quality of Mickey and something that youngsters and seniors appreciate a lot in the dressing room. On top of that, he is also producing excellent results and the team is gelling well together.


    PakPassion.net: Do you have the target of achieving 10,000 Test runs in your mind?

    Azhar Ali: At the moment, I don’t have any such goals in my mind. What I am looking forward to is to play as long as I can for my country. In doing so, I would love to play 100 Tests for Pakistan. I have already played 65 Tests so far so there are another 35 to go before I can I achieve that goal. At that point, I will see where I stand in terms of runs. Obviously to get to any such milestone such as the 100 Test mark, I will have to perform very well and once that happens, anything is possible.
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 13th July 2018 at 14:37.


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  2. #2
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    lol he is not getting to 10,000 runs

    good interview though


    #MPGA

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    lol he is not getting to 10,000 runs

    good interview though
    Who knows, anything could happen who knew Misbah would get so many runs after nearly considering retiring in 2010.

  4. #4
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    You got this brother. I wish you the best of luck.


    Gangster rap made me do it.

  5. #5
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    honest comments .


    New Era of Team Pakistan

  6. #6
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    Good interview. One of the good guys of Pakistan cricket. Given his all during his period of playing international cricket. Hopefully he returns to form.

  7. #7
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    Great interview and good comments by azhar. Class player

  8. #8
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    Might limp to 100 Tests because of the lack of alternatives, but 10,000 runs are well beyond his capabilities.

    However, if a miracle happens and he gets there somehow, he will comfortably surpass Younis as the worst batsman in history to score 10,000 Test runs.

    A mediocre player who had one good season, but his best is behind him now.

  9. #9
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    A good interview and I hope Azhar returns to his best soon.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    Might limp to 100 Tests because of the lack of alternatives, but 10,000 runs are well beyond his capabilities.

    However, if a miracle happens and he gets there somehow, he will comfortably surpass Younis as the worst batsman in history to score 10,000 Test runs.

    A mediocre player who had one good season, but his best is behind him now.
    Pakistan should consider giving you Sitar-e-Imtiaz


    [QUOTE=Mamoon;9742871]Don't see us ascending from 7th/6th in the near future. 5-0 in England and South Africa awaits us, we will be lucky to even draw one match. [/QUOTE]

  11. #11
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    Good that he realises he needs to work on some technical issues.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    Might limp to 100 Tests because of the lack of alternatives, but 10,000 runs are well beyond his capabilities.

    However, if a miracle happens and he gets there somehow, he will comfortably surpass Younis as the worst batsman in history to score 10,000 Test runs.

    A mediocre player who had one good season, but his best is behind him now.
    ok..so negative.....OH my God.

  13. #13
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    Fakhar Zaman and Saad Ali were part of the Test squad but still haven't debuted. Maybe neither will succeed in the format if they get chances.

    Moreover, Sami Aslam would've played in the recent England Tests if Sfarshi-ul-Haq wasn't picked ahead of him.

    Azhar could very well retain his spot and score runs, but could he do that for 4 years without injury to make 100 Tests?

    Age isn't kind of to batsmen, and at 33, time isn't on Azhar's side. With two talented young batsmen who can open, and one in the middle order who could require shuffling around him, I wouldn't bet if Azhar falls well short of 100 Tests.

    If I were a selector Azhar wouldn't get a rope beyond 2 bad series.

  14. #14
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    https://m.hindustantimes.com/cricket...OB0TGNPIJ.html

    Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali has backed India to win the upcoming five-match Test series in England.

    In an interview with PakPassion.net, Ali said the prevailing warm weather conditions in England give India an advantage for their batsman would prosper in good batting conditions.

    “The prevailing warm weather conditions in England at the moment seem to favour an India victory in the Test series in my view. They are after all, ranked as the number one Test side in the world and the only thing England have in their favour is the fact that they are playing on their home grounds.

    “England may have a good bowling attack for home conditions but in good batting conditions, the Indian batsmen will prosper and can easily put their team in a winning position when the series starts,” he said while talking to the Pakistan website.

    KOHLI, THE BEST

    The 33-year-old, who holds the distinction of being the first batsman to score a triple hundred in Day/Night Tests, was all praise for Indian skipper Virat Kohli, dubbing him the fittest cricketer in the world.

    “I believe the most important ingredient of Virat Kohli’s success is his determination to succeed. His composure in any situation is simply amazing.

    “The level of professionalism that he shows in the game is comfortably the best in the game.His attention to fitness is exemplary and how he has steadily improved game year on year is just incredible.

    “So, it’s all down to his hard-work and his desire to improve his fitness to the extent that I do not believe that any batsmen in the world can match him in that aspect.”

    Attributing Kohli’s ability to dish out long inning with ease to his super fitness, Ali said the Indian captain is the perfect role model for young cricketers from across the world to emulate.

    “His fitness is demonstrated by the amount of long innings he plays seemingly without being tired. All these qualities are great examples for any youngster to appreciate and are things that they can learn from Virat Kohli to become better cricketers,” the right-handed opener said.

    100-TESTS TARGET

    Ali, who is among the most experienced players in Pakistan Test team after the retirement of veterans Misbah-Ul-Haq and Younis Khan, has set his eyes on playing 100 Tests for the country. He also wants to be part of Pakistan’s 2019 ODI World Cup team.

    “What I am looking forward to is to play as long as I can for my country. In doing so, I would like to reach the 100 Tests milestone for Pakistan. I have already played 65 Tests so far so there are another 35 to go before I can I achieve that goal.

    “At that point, I will see where I stand in terms of runs. Obviously to get to any such milestone such as the 100 Test mark, I will have to perform very well and once that happens, anything is possible,” he said.

    He also praised Pakistan youngsters Babar Azam, Hasan Ali and Fakhar Zaman for performing admirably in limited-overs format and hoped they would be able to establish themselves in the country’s Test team as well in near future.
    Last edited by hadi123; 14th July 2018 at 09:12.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    Might limp to 100 Tests because of the lack of alternatives, but 10,000 runs are well beyond his capabilities.

    However, if a miracle happens and he gets there somehow, he will comfortably surpass Younis as the worst batsman in history to score 10,000 Test runs.

    A mediocre player who had one good season, but his best is behind him now.
    Pujara got a good chance to over take him.

  16. #16
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    Very poor comments here (bolded part).

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    PakPassion.net: It must be a great time to be a Pakistani cricketer at the moment with the team enjoying some extraordinary successes?

    Azhar Ali: We are in the middle of an excellent period with the number one ranking in T20Is as well as attaining success in the Champions Trophy last year. Looking back to the time when I took over the reins of the ODI team, we had a new side and at that time it seemed that our performances were not up to the mark as the results showed. But by the time I moved away from captaincy, we had quite a few players who had started to settle in and it was simply a matter of time when we would be able to improve and take our performances to a new level. Thankfully, we have now seen that elevation in the level of performances as we have now started to play so well in T20Is and of course that win in the Champions Trophy was also very special, not only for the team but for the nation as well. We are regularly winning more matches and series and I feel that our cricket in the white ball format in particular, has improved tremendously.
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 15th July 2018 at 14:42.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mak36 View Post
    Very poor comments here (bolded part).
    He was given the ODI captaincy which was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

    If he was smart like Mian Malik, he would have said no and quietly walked away from the game. Instead, in interviews like these where he makes statements like he can still play LOI, it makes him appear desperate.
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 15th July 2018 at 14:42.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManFan View Post
    He was given the ODI captaincy which was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

    If he was smart like Mian Malik, he would have said no and quietly walked away from the game. Instead, in interviews like these where he makes statements like he can still play LOI, it makes him appear desperate.
    What's worse is he is basically saying there was nothing wrong with his captaincy and the improvement in the ODI team since he left the role and Sarfaraz took over is down to luck. It would be laughable if it wasn't so ridiculous.

    How can you improve if you don't acknowledge your failures/limitations?

    Asian players in particular don't seem to like admitting their captaincy failures and seem blind to the fact captaincy is a skill.

  19. #19
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    Best of luck to him , currently pakistans best test batsman.


    It is either a heartache or a headache ..Argh relationships.

  20. #20
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    Selfless but limited. Seems like someone who is a gentleman and plays cricket in the right spirit.

    I hope he does get back his mojo after a few rough tours. We need him more than ever.


    it's written. an akmal will never be a hero.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mak36 View Post
    Very poor comments here (bolded part).
    Well he’s not wrong. The likes of Babar and Hasan were first given a proper chance under Azhar. They flourished further when Sarfraz took over. Don’t think he’s taking the credit for the recent success by any stretch of the imagination though.

    Good interview. Don’t see anything wrong with any of his comments. One of the more sensible and better spoken Pakistani cricketers.

  22. #22
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    A good guy, solid batsman who has served Pakistan well.

    100 Tests - you never know as his fitness is very good.



  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    Might limp to 100 Tests because of the lack of alternatives, but 10,000 runs are well beyond his capabilities.

    However, if a miracle happens and he gets there somehow, he will comfortably surpass Younis as the worst batsman in history to score 10,000 Test runs.

    A mediocre player who had one good season, but his best is behind him now.
    Younis is better than Mahela, Chanderpaul and Cook among the 10K runs-scorer.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ab Fan View Post
    Younis is better than Mahela, Chanderpaul and Cook among the 10K runs-scorer.
    I was going to say the same in regards to Younis > Chanderpaul and Mahela, however I disagree with him being better than Cook.

    What Cook has achieved as an opener on English wickets against the duke where virtually all of his other have partners struggled (except Strauss), signals his superiority. Would have averaged 50+ if he was opening the bat against the kookaburra on flatter pitches easily I reckon.
    Last edited by topspin; 31st July 2018 at 16:17.

  25. #25
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    Debuted in 2010 and since then has missed a few tests with 5,200 runs so far to this name. He will need to play for at least 6-7 years if he's going to reach 10,000 runs, and at 33 it is not realistic for him to keep this up until 40. Younis at least was a monster against spin bowling which is what kept his runs coming in Asia.
    Last edited by topspin; 31st July 2018 at 16:21.


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