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Cricketers on their milestones

Azhar Mahmood

'I've always tried to play like Imran'

Azhar Mahmood on idols, tape-ball cricket, and his first century

Interview by Jack Wilson

July 20, 2013

Comments: 15 | Text size: A | A

Azhar Mahmood plays an aggressive shot, Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals, IPL, Mohali, May 5, 2012
Azhar Mahmood got into the swing of six-hitting early in his career © AFP
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First idol
That has to be Imran Khan. I grew up watching him and he was simply incredible for Pakistan. He was a hero to me as a kid. I watched the way he bowled and the way he batted and I just wanted to be him. I'm nowhere near the standard that Imran was - but I've always tried to play like he did.

First cricket game
I loved cricket when I was growing up and I played it whenever I could. My first game would have been back home in Pakistan where we played tape-ball cricket. We'd tape a tennis ball and start playing that way. I remember those days well - it was my first introduction to the game.

First time I realised I was good enough to play for Pakistan
It must have been when I played for Pakistan Under-20s. I had played a lot of cricket as I grew up but that was the time I sensed that I could actually fulfil the dream of playing for my country.

First century
When I was playing proper club cricket I scored one when I was 16. Of course it contained a few sixes! I used to hit a long ball when I was that age, at that time in my career. There were some clean hits in there but maybe the boundary was just smaller back then.

First Test cap
I've still got it and I'll always treasure it. It was such a proud day for me and my family. There was no presentation like there are these days but it was a wonderful feeling. My Test debut was pretty unforgettable. We were playing South Africa at Rawalpindi and I scored a hundred in the first innings. Not only was it my first Test hundred it was my first first-class hundred as well.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

i believe azhar and razzak were two similar options pak had that time but i still see he is doing good in t 20 formets in differnt leagues his career is not too much left now but i think he still can give couple of yrs to pak cricket specially when they are not playing razak kind of player any more our middle order is not so great and unpredictabilty of shahid afridi also leave that number 5 &6 open for such player atleast pak cricket should give him a try for one or two series and see where he is standing reguarding his proformance if he can click it will be a strong boost for pak batting in currant situation

Posted by Sorcerer on (July 22, 2013, 6:21 GMT)

A 140 kph express bowler who could smash Test tons batting at Number 8, Azhar did not get sidelined by selectors, but rather suffered for nearly a couple of years due to a major knee injury (or was it hamstring) after WC '99 and later put on a lot of weight. To emulate Imran who was a total fitness freak, you need to be far more disciplined.

Posted by   on (July 21, 2013, 20:16 GMT)

excellent all-rounder. unfortunetly Pakistan Cricket let him gone... and never asked him to rejoin the team.

Posted by   on (July 21, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

Pak izz not using this man Azhar Mahmood at this very tense position, Genuine alrounder which has full ability to change the position of every single match.

Posted by   on (July 21, 2013, 14:26 GMT)

Talented cricketer who unfortunately did not achieve full potential for Pakistan as he was ignored by the selectors.

Posted by CricketChat on (July 20, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

Don't know reasons why Azhar was so shabbily treated by Pak selectors. He should have been a permanent fixture in the team as an all rounder. Even now, he can produce match winning performances, both with bat and ball in T20s, normally considered an young man's arena.

Posted by vik56in on (July 20, 2013, 12:23 GMT)

Unlucky cricketer, should have played more international cricket. Another case of poor player mismangement by the PCB.

Posted by VVSR92 on (July 20, 2013, 8:31 GMT)

This guy refused captaincy in 2001 & saw himself out of the team . A guy with this talent should have been used a lot more & he could have become a pakistani legend . Atleast his experience is helpful to english youth players along the county cirucit these days . A simple guy who commits himself for the team , one of the most unluckiest cricketers who could have easily ende up with 350+odis & 50 test to his name .

Posted by   on (July 20, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

Well, the days when he was around, Pakistani squad was overfilled with talent. There were far too many names which were hard to overlook to give a chance to an exceptionally talented all rounder. Being a critic if cricket, I myself realize it now that he was far more talented in batting and could have been wonderful if given a regular place at number 5 or 6, but then luck there were far too many specialists in that Pakistani squad. But anyways he played his part and earned a good name. Everyone can't be Imran Khan or Inzamam ul Haq.

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