August 2, 2012

'People expect more from me now'

Legspinner turned top-order batsman Azhar Ali talks about becoming dependable and adapting to limited-overs cricket
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You transformed yourself from a legspinner to a top-order batsman. Do you think that has worked out?
Perhaps as a legspin bowler I could not have reached this far because my bowling wasn't effective enough to excel. It's not like I wasn't putting in all the required efforts to be a better bowler, but opportunities were limited. I played national Under-15 and Under-19 as a specialist legspinner but it didn't work and that was frustrating.

When you invest most of your time in cricket and the outcome isn't what you were hoping for, there is obviously a problem and you have to have to figure it out honestly. Sitting out, watching the team play without me, was painful, so I decided to be a batting allrounder, and my department, KRL [Khan Research Laboratories], supported me.

I have no regrets. It was the right decision at the right time. Otherwise my career might have finished years before, or I might have ended up as a mediocre cricketer playing domestic, or playing league cricket in England at the most.

How did you get into cricket? Did you have any heroes early on?
My family was very involved in cricket. My father and brothers were good athletes - they played good club cricket, so I was encouraged from the start. I can't say if I had heroes as such, but my idol is Inzamam-ul-Haq. I always admired him and grew up watching him a lot, though that does not mean I followed him. Ultimately you develop your own style. Apart from Inzamam, I love watching [Jacques] Kallis.

You have played plenty of Test cricket. Have you started developing a sense of responsibility and a sense of being ready to play a lead role for the team?
When you represent your country it's always important to have a sense of responsibility. If you are in the XI it means you are important and there to play your part, but it's true the burden was less and the level of expectation was not so high in my first year. It has increased now. When you keep performing well, the expectations start to rise.

Before me, Inzamam and Mohammad Yousuf were the batsmen the team depended on a lot. I can't match the class of such great players but I try to guide the team in tough situations and play my part.

You were part of the Pakistan tour to England in 2010, which ended with the spot-fixing fiasco. How did you cope?
It wasn't easy, especially because it was my debut tour. I had to concentrate hard and make myself understand that it's cricket and nothing else. It was hard but I focused on my game because I was out there to prove myself and it was my chance, so I had to keep myself away from controversy and do what I was chosen for.

As a player you travel to different countries and have to gain the trust of the people, but it became so hard in that scenario - because you start thinking about what people are thinking about you. It distracts you. Sometime you have to bear the hostile crowd, who say anything. But for me, I am always concerned about my name and about the country.

What does representing your country mean to you?
When I was young I looked at representing Pakistan as one of the greatest things. I remember in my club cricket days, anyone who had even played one Test had such a lot of respect. They were stars. I used to imagine a Test cricketer as being someone from another world. For me, playing for Pakistan is a prestigious honour, and once you have done it, you are different from the rest of the population.

You have played against every team except India. Do you think your CV is incomplete without playing India?
At the moment I am very confident. I think I am in form to score runs against any team. Playing against India is always testing because of the added pressure, but for me it's more about scoring runs no matter who the opposition is. There are always high feelings when you perform against India. It will be an important time for me and I am ready to face their bowlers.

"When I was young I looked at representing Pakistan as one of the greatest things. I remember in my club cricket days, anyone who had even played one Test had such a lot of respect. They were stars. I used to imagine a Test cricketer as being someone from another world"

With your batting temperament, which is more suited to Test cricket, do you think you can ever make it into the limited-overs side permanently?
I am not sure about T20 cricket but I recently played an ODI series against Sri Lanka and was the best batsman. I won't say that I have settled in limited-overs cricket but that performance was a confidence booster. Critics might point out that my strike rate doesn't match this form of the game but one-day cricket has changed with the new ball from both sides and the Powerplays. You need to have a couple of batsmen in the side who can play sensibly to survive and pull the team along to play the 50 overs. I know I have to improve and make adjustments and change the tone of my game. I am trying to improvise and practising playing big shots to match the format.

What has been your most memorable innings? Or do you feel it is yet to come?
Though I scored 157 against England in Dubai, the innings of 68 runs off 195 balls in the second Test in Abu Dhabi was my best knock - mainly because it involved intense pressure. Our four experienced top-order batsmen were out and the team was behind. But I and Asad [Shafiq] fought hard and scored enough runs for our bowlers to defend. That was an innings in which I felt real pressure, and it gave me the confidence that I can play a lead role to guide my team from any tough situation.

What goals have you set for yourself?
My short-term target is to be ranked as a top Test batsman as soon as possible, and in the long run I would like to score at least 7000 runs in Test cricket. It would be great if my name goes down in history as a successful Test batsman.

Observers say you have a problem against the short ball. What have you done so far to deal with it?
Since I turned from a bowler into a batsman, earlier I had a limited number of shots with which to score runs. I relied on two or three shots, but now the range has increased with every game I play. I normally don't attack but once I get settled in, I do go in for a pull or two, but only if it is necessary - otherwise I prefer to let it pass.

I wait for the bowler to bowl to my strengths. My KRL team-mates Mohammad Wasim and Ali Naqvi taught me the importance of patience in building an innings. In international cricket, bowlers are more disciplined in their line and length, so you have to wait and know your strengths.

Pakistan are to travel to South Africa next year to play three Test matches. It will be your first tour of South Africa - where Pakistan have never won a Test series.
It will be a healthy challenge. South Africa is one of the countries I wish to play in and perform well against. Countries like England, Australia and South Africa are the places where your performance is recognised and highlighted. South Africa are currently the best side, with challenging fast bowlers, especially in their home conditions. So it's something I am focusing on.

Shoaib Akhtar, your former team-mate at KRL, has said that you were the best fielder in the team, but we haven't seen that side of your game in international cricket. Have you lost the spark while concentrating on batting?
It is perhaps because of the change of priority. Since I chose to transform into a batsman I have been focusing on batting. But yes, I used to be a very quick fielder. I have been working on it again for many months. If I am not placed at point and around covers, it is because we have some good fielders for those positions (Laughs). But I am brave enough to stand at short leg when nobody is ready to take that spot.

Like many in Pakistan cricket, you have chosen the game over higher education. Why is that?
I was in grade eight when I was first selected for Pakistan Under-15 and then for Under-17 and so on, so I was never able to stick with my studies. But my father gave me all the necessary education at home, and the rest I have gained from the exposure of travelling worldwide. I was enjoying my studies but I don't miss them because I have the basic education I need to interact with people successfully. Communication was never an issue for me at any level. Education for me is about how much exposure you have to gain to live a good and sensible life. You must understand the difference between good and bad, so this is also an education, which is more important for me as a professional cricketer. This is the basic education that actually makes you a good person and an ambassador for your country.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Extraz on | August 4, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    @Desihungama...with that feat he also holds the world record of 9 consecutive one day international fifties and he also is the YOUNGEST PLAYER to score a test DOUBLE HUNDRED...No ordinary batsman can do that!!

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | August 4, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    At least we have better talent at presence in terms of fast bowling we have likes of cummins. Pattinson etc

  • POSTED BY WickyRoy.paklover on | August 4, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    @Great_Aussie,u dn't mentin ur playrs coz they havn't provd sensational n substancial so far bt u can't say these things about azhar,shafiq as they have perfrmd evrywhere whenevr thy r tried.KOHLI Z A CLAS ABOVE UMAR IN TERMS OF TEMPRAMENT BT CERTAINLY NT In TALENT,u jst need 1 gd year to make ur way ,nxt year might b umar's.

  • POSTED BY david44 on | August 4, 2012, 1:48 GMT

    he is not gonna just score a century he is gonna whoop a century out for himself anywhere

  • POSTED BY aaaa2aa on | August 4, 2012, 0:18 GMT

    @golgol you mean the same batsmen with no footwork who whitewashed the #1 team in test cricket

  • POSTED BY david44 on | August 4, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    @grearaussi get your facts straight ali scored 92 on his test debut against england in england and that too not out during that spot fixing saga under tremendous pressure against the same team who trashed austrailia and since then he got few centuries under his belt. A a

  • POSTED BY sohail5134 on | August 3, 2012, 23:27 GMT

    @greataussi no akmal is not playing on the same pitches as kholi is playing pak has produced some of the best fast bowlers the game has ever seen so we got bowler friendly pitches

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | August 3, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    On the talent matter and in terms of the runs scored, i think kohli is the most talented guy at present. No team has got such consistent young player as of now even we in aus r lookin for such player

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | August 3, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    @david 44 by the way umar and ali also play on the same tracks how many centuries they have scored compare to kohli. for yor information, kohli has toured AUS once and he has scored centurie in test as wel as ODI

  • POSTED BY zesh92 on | August 3, 2012, 20:58 GMT

    @Great_Aussie: we also appreciate those players who are capable to perform in all conditions like azhar ali and asad shafiq so chill buddy

  • POSTED BY Extraz on | August 4, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    @Desihungama...with that feat he also holds the world record of 9 consecutive one day international fifties and he also is the YOUNGEST PLAYER to score a test DOUBLE HUNDRED...No ordinary batsman can do that!!

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | August 4, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    At least we have better talent at presence in terms of fast bowling we have likes of cummins. Pattinson etc

  • POSTED BY WickyRoy.paklover on | August 4, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    @Great_Aussie,u dn't mentin ur playrs coz they havn't provd sensational n substancial so far bt u can't say these things about azhar,shafiq as they have perfrmd evrywhere whenevr thy r tried.KOHLI Z A CLAS ABOVE UMAR IN TERMS OF TEMPRAMENT BT CERTAINLY NT In TALENT,u jst need 1 gd year to make ur way ,nxt year might b umar's.

  • POSTED BY david44 on | August 4, 2012, 1:48 GMT

    he is not gonna just score a century he is gonna whoop a century out for himself anywhere

  • POSTED BY aaaa2aa on | August 4, 2012, 0:18 GMT

    @golgol you mean the same batsmen with no footwork who whitewashed the #1 team in test cricket

  • POSTED BY david44 on | August 4, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    @grearaussi get your facts straight ali scored 92 on his test debut against england in england and that too not out during that spot fixing saga under tremendous pressure against the same team who trashed austrailia and since then he got few centuries under his belt. A a

  • POSTED BY sohail5134 on | August 3, 2012, 23:27 GMT

    @greataussi no akmal is not playing on the same pitches as kholi is playing pak has produced some of the best fast bowlers the game has ever seen so we got bowler friendly pitches

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | August 3, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    On the talent matter and in terms of the runs scored, i think kohli is the most talented guy at present. No team has got such consistent young player as of now even we in aus r lookin for such player

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | August 3, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    @david 44 by the way umar and ali also play on the same tracks how many centuries they have scored compare to kohli. for yor information, kohli has toured AUS once and he has scored centurie in test as wel as ODI

  • POSTED BY zesh92 on | August 3, 2012, 20:58 GMT

    @Great_Aussie: we also appreciate those players who are capable to perform in all conditions like azhar ali and asad shafiq so chill buddy

  • POSTED BY Desihungama on | August 3, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    @puroniks - That's right you do not know anything about Javed Miandad. You were probably enjoying your pacifier when he crucifying opponents. Let me tell you a secret about Javed Miandad. He is the only Cricketer in the world to have a sole record holder of having to maintain batting average of over 50 starting from his first Test Match till he retired. Even the Great Bradman could not achieve that feat.

  • POSTED BY aaaa2aa on | August 3, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    no doubt bout it if he wants to break mohammud yousef's all time most runs in a calender year he has to follow people like boom boom or amla,lara and stay away from certain dead pitch bullies

  • POSTED BY david44 on | August 3, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    @cooitbaby what a laugh certain past big guns around the world cricket marveled his fearless approach while batting and the wide range of stroke's umar got which kohli dont poses with 1 century in odi abroad the rest on dead sub continent wickets.

  • POSTED BY Aristotle01 on | August 3, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    Considering he grew up watching journeymen players like Mohd. Yousuf and Inzamam, he will have to travel light years to be on the same plane of greatness as Lara Or Sachin Or Graeme pollock or Viv Richards Or Gavaskar or Greg Chapell . Et all. Sadly he had no great Pak Batsman to look up to when he was growing up- I mean the best pak have had miandad hahahh tells u a sad story aye?

  • POSTED BY on | August 3, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    I love his batting just because of his patience and the control he has on his game.... I am quite confident that this man will be a future legend and he will be known for his game, his classy batting style and standard batting techniques....

    It is undoubtedly next to impossible to replace the Pakistani batting legends like Inzi & Yousuf, but when I see his performance at the crease, I feel delighted and pleased with his defense, shots and shot timings.... He is just an amazing defensive and dedicated batsman.... I rate 9.0 out of 10 for his match winning performance against England in Dubai....

    @Azhar Ali: Wishing a great career for the future legend..... HATS OFF to his batting, keep your best work alive and a lot of beautiful innings yet to come from you.... :-)

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | August 3, 2012, 17:54 GMT

    @wickyroy. We know that they can't score. We accept. So only we never praise them. Unlike what u people do

  • POSTED BY WickyRoy.paklover on | August 3, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    @GreatAussie,i am far more doubtful whethr cowan,khawaja,and othr average n below average ausies would b able to score even 50 odd against pak on spining asian tracks.

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | August 3, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    @Great Aussie- if scoring a centtury in Aus, Eng or SA is everything, then there are several aussie cricketers who have done nothing of that sort..BTW look at Ricky Ponting's dissmal record in India, he just has 1 century, that does not stop people from rating as best..Azhar has shown promise in a Pakistan team which seems to have lost its way producing world class batsmen, the last was Yousuf and to an extent Younis..so what is wrong in rating this prospect high..why dont you say similar stuff about the ordinary Cowans and Warners.

  • POSTED BY WickyRoy.paklover on | August 3, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    @Coolitbaby,it z absolutly in d same as u people were cmparing irfan pthan with great wasim akram,LOLZ

  • POSTED BY Faizan_Bahadur on | August 3, 2012, 1:40 GMT

    @Great_Aussie: A man who can score 92 (not out) on his debut tour in England can definitely score 100 on his next tour for sure.Not to mention it was also his first test series and boy what a horror tour that was for anyone making his debut.

  • POSTED BY coolitbaby on | August 3, 2012, 0:14 GMT

    Well I believe it is tendency among people from a certain specific country to hype up someone with even a LITTLE talent. I remember not so long ago these people were comparing someone like Umar Akmal with Virat Kohli !!

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 23:32 GMT

    @Great_Aussie: He debuted on the horror tour of England( in terms of batting, among other things). I recall a gritty debut tour and I think a 92 at the Oval. Since then he has added a lot more to his repertoire, for instance a beautiful and not at all rare cover drive. I think he can do better another time; no ones first tour of these countries is easy and this was the worst tour of all time of any country by any country. Aus will have to wait but we will soon find out what happens in South Africa. We don't love him for his talent, we love him for the way he improves himself every innings. It took character to transform himself from a legspinner to a top order batsman.

  • POSTED BY ejsiddiqui on | August 2, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    Best of Luck Azhar for the tour of SA. I rate you as one of the best batsman in the world but don't want to see you play t20, because I don't want to change your batting style. Umar Akmal must rise with the likes of Azhar and Asad. We must have a very good aggressive batsman along with defensive batsmen. e.g. Dravid was a great batsman, but you can't have 5 players like Dravid in a same team.

  • POSTED BY Syed_imran_abbas on | August 2, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    I like test side of pakistan.. Azhar Ali is a very dedicated and honest player. I am sure he will improve by the time. Nice an simple interview.

  • POSTED BY golgoal on | August 2, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    He has pretty poor footwork and technique, and will be exposed badly in due course. Just an average batsman who is made to look like Don Bradman given how average other current batsmen in Pakistan are.

  • POSTED BY Desihungama on | August 2, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    Noticed him early in his career when he batted some 4 hour long spells in Australia. Twice, with Pakistan A and thought he looked fit to be Pakistan's next Javed Miandad, in terms of our best batsman in run scoring and not in flair though. He is solid, technically sound and has the temperament to succeed at Test level with the likes of Kallis, Sangakara, Amla and one and only Tendulkar. I only see him improving. Good luck Azhar Ali.

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | August 2, 2012, 20:05 GMT

    I doubt if this guy can score even A single century in Aus ENG or SA

  • POSTED BY TaylorSwift on | August 2, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    He seems like a sensible, honest and hardworking bloke. His Test career has been impressive thus far but he must learn to turn his fifties into hundreds. He will be an asset in ODIs as well because he can give the top order some stability. Azhar has a bright future ahead of him and I can see him leading the Pakistan side in a couple of years. But please stay away from T20 cricket. Best of luck, mate!

  • POSTED BY getsetgopk on | August 2, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    A top notch interview there, a very sensible human being and knows the art of batting, an honest student of the game I would say and yes who could forget his 68 against Eng in the 2nd test in Abu Dhabi, that earned us historic 3-0, will go down in history books, All the best Azhar you are a magnificent cricketer!

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    If he keeps playing, and keeps improving in terms of more shots and longer batting times and shakes off the nervous 90s, he will make far more than 7000, inshaAllah. The best thing about him is that he is better in every match than the last. Maybe somewhere down the line, he will also manage to improve his legspin and become an Afridi-like weapon in that department too. If only he could gift 10% of his temperament to the talent-waster Umar Akmal...

  • POSTED BY Toescrusher on | August 2, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

    Azhar Ali is doing well And we pray, he continue to do well While keeping the long And difficult road in mind.

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    Best of luck to Azhar Ali..... He is now spine of Pakistan Batting.

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    I hope he'll learn those big shots in ODI rite now he is our future him and Asad Shafq are the new Inzamam and Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan, and i bet the rate he's going now, he'll get over 9000 runs in test cricket and over 35 hundreds and an average of 60+ but in order to be a true established batsman as younus Khan or Mohammad Yousuf, he should also focus on ODI's because that's where Pakistan needs middle Order help from him and Shafiq, they need an 80+ strike rate player, but i think Azhar and Ali are gonna form a middle order with Umar Akmal that we saw in the early and mid 2000s from inzi and Younus and Yousuf, Best of luck for the futue Azhar Ali and Asad Shafq

  • POSTED BY NadeemYasin on | August 2, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    Another Inzi in Pakistan squad. You must have to reach a Mark of 10k+ runs. Best of luck for SA tour.

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Azhar Ali is definitely the back bone of Pakistan batting since 2010, he has played great cricket and contributed in Pakistan wins, hope he continues to do so. Best wishes for him and Pakistan for SA tour.

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Everyday I count how many tests Azhar will play, I pray he dont dropped from team no matter what. I imagine him as leading batsman for Pakistan. His target 7,000 is lot less than his fans expect from him, we expect him to have average of least 60.

  • POSTED BY Usm93 on | August 2, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    Good thing,he's more focus on test than some players from other countries.Good Luck Azhar,i like your drives a lot :)

  • POSTED BY azeesajid on | August 2, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    very good test batsman & also becoming a usefull one day player.. Azhar Ali will go byond 7,000 test runs... best of luck dude..

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    all the best for your career

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    so honest...! proud of u man ! :) best of luck for SA tour !

  • POSTED BY titoo on | August 2, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    Good Yaar May Allah Bless u. You Will get more then 10,000 runs Insha Allah. Allah bless Pakistan Cricket

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    nyc 1..gud luck azhar ali... man for the future..........

  • POSTED BY ATIMAYANK on | August 2, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    Nice interview! An evolving cricketer and surely a future superstar. Best wishes from India

  • POSTED BY Nuxxy on | August 2, 2012, 8:28 GMT

    I wonder if someone can arrange that he spends some time with Kallis on the trip to SA?

  • POSTED BY hasnain1212 on | August 2, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    He is an great player....

  • POSTED BY davidatlas999 on | August 2, 2012, 7:28 GMT

    A very hard working player azhar he always perform really well.hope he get his goal.although with hafeez,ajmal and in odi afredi he did not have lots of chances of his leg spin bowling still wanna see hem little overs in test when ajmal tired with so many overs.best of luck azhar.

  • POSTED BY SudharsanVM on | August 2, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    The way he is batting, 7000 was not tough at all. Really a nice interview. Indirectly accepts that he is not suited for T20. Who in the world will accept it in the days of IPL? The Meaning of the words talent, technique and temparament can be found in azhar ali. All the best.

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    Good Wishes for you Mr.Azhar Ali..you are the future of Pakistan Cricket hope you carry on your Tremendous Batting with ahead....Be confident where ever you are never try to make other happy always try to make your self happy so all around you will happy..(Never Hit boosted shots...(Cause it makes others happy..Always hit those shots which makes you happy..So you will survive longer on the Crees.)

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    and regarding one day cricket, if kallis can adopt then surely he can adopt also. he just needs to strenghthen his shots and shouldnt change his gameplay so quickly just for one days. his time will come.

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    mature thoughts. a good hardworking guy and i think his team mates M. Waseem and A. Naqvi have played a big role in his learning the art of batting.

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    Azahar said alot of sensible things in this interview. Looks like a good lad to take Pak cricket forward.

  • POSTED BY MNHasan on | August 2, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    It's a Very good article I read after sometime. His thought about education is very impressive. I wonder why doesn't he bowls his legspin in International cricket. Good wishes from Bangladesh

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    Azhar Ali is improving series after series. He did play some disappointing shots to get out in SL tests, but he's still young and i'm sure he's going to be one of the best pure test players of this generation. He can be the next Dravid if he tries his hardest, and putting in an effort is what his biggest strength his. Him and Asad Shafiq are probably two of the most promising players to hit the international scene in the last two years.

  • POSTED BY shafiqsarfaraz on | August 2, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    such a great talent.hope he fills the space left by Muhammad Yousuf..and come on man you can make more than 7000 runs..love you azhar n PAK cric team..

  • POSTED BY RAJA_khan24 on | August 2, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    Yeah Azher Ali is future star of Pakistan Cricket I like its batting...............

  • POSTED BY Syed_imran_abbas on | August 2, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    His temperament is very suited to test cricket. I don't think he is a one day player. He needs to play more and more t20,s at domestic level to improve his strike rate. He is one of reason of Pakistan,s recent test success. His real test is coming up soon against SA. Good luck.

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    Great player in the making. His cover drives are Just Owesame. KEEP IT UP A.A...

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    I think, sorry i m really sure that this man is capable of playing great knocks in tough situation and play a supporting role in the team. May Allah bless him.

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    Great thoughts.. our prayers with you boy.. you will definitely be a great Batsman in test cricket and one thing more yes our expectation rises with you and Asad Shafiq.. ASad and Azhar will be the future of Pakistan Cricket in Batting surely !!

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    he can be 2nd MD YUSUF in terms OF batting BUT not in fielding cos YUSUF WASNT A GR8 fielder but Azhar ALI IS a brilliant fielder

  • POSTED BY Ben1989 on | August 2, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    very insightful peice, such a calm & collected player, much respect for you Azhar & I'm an aussie!!

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  • POSTED BY Ben1989 on | August 2, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    very insightful peice, such a calm & collected player, much respect for you Azhar & I'm an aussie!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    he can be 2nd MD YUSUF in terms OF batting BUT not in fielding cos YUSUF WASNT A GR8 fielder but Azhar ALI IS a brilliant fielder

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    Great thoughts.. our prayers with you boy.. you will definitely be a great Batsman in test cricket and one thing more yes our expectation rises with you and Asad Shafiq.. ASad and Azhar will be the future of Pakistan Cricket in Batting surely !!

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    I think, sorry i m really sure that this man is capable of playing great knocks in tough situation and play a supporting role in the team. May Allah bless him.

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    Great player in the making. His cover drives are Just Owesame. KEEP IT UP A.A...

  • POSTED BY Syed_imran_abbas on | August 2, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    His temperament is very suited to test cricket. I don't think he is a one day player. He needs to play more and more t20,s at domestic level to improve his strike rate. He is one of reason of Pakistan,s recent test success. His real test is coming up soon against SA. Good luck.

  • POSTED BY RAJA_khan24 on | August 2, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    Yeah Azher Ali is future star of Pakistan Cricket I like its batting...............

  • POSTED BY shafiqsarfaraz on | August 2, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    such a great talent.hope he fills the space left by Muhammad Yousuf..and come on man you can make more than 7000 runs..love you azhar n PAK cric team..

  • POSTED BY on | August 2, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    Azhar Ali is improving series after series. He did play some disappointing shots to get out in SL tests, but he's still young and i'm sure he's going to be one of the best pure test players of this generation. He can be the next Dravid if he tries his hardest, and putting in an effort is what his biggest strength his. Him and Asad Shafiq are probably two of the most promising players to hit the international scene in the last two years.

  • POSTED BY MNHasan on | August 2, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    It's a Very good article I read after sometime. His thought about education is very impressive. I wonder why doesn't he bowls his legspin in International cricket. Good wishes from Bangladesh