New Zealand v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Wellington January 24, 2016

Azhar, Amir 'move on' from differences


'Hopefully we will all be united and with Amir, and we will allow him to bowl really well and get wickets for Pakistan' - Azhar Ali © AFP

Azhar Ali has said he and Mohammad Amir had "moved on" from the complications that beset Amir's reintegration to the Pakistan team, in the approach to the New Zealand tour. He said he would focus on captaining Amir, and helping create an environment in which the bowler could thrive.

The first ODI on Monday will be the first occasion in which the two will play together, since Amir's return to international cricket. "He bowled well in the T20s I think," Azhar said. "As the captain my job is to take the best out of him. Hopefully we will all be united and with Mohammad Amir, and we will allow him to bowl really well and get wickets for Pakistan."

Four weeks ago, Azhar had been among two players who sought to avoid a pre-tour conditioning camp, stating: "I will not attend the camp as long as Amir is there." He had also attempted to resign the ODI captaincy over Amir's inclusion, before the Pakistan Cricket Board intervened. He struck a more philosophical tone in Wellington.

"Whatever my stance was, my job is to lead this side and keep harmony in the dressing room," he said. "We are all united and keen for this challenge.

He did not want to be drawn on what has allowed his position to change since December. "We should not discuss more about it. We've moved on."

In the event Azhar is the passive-aggressive type, the Basin Reserve does present him with a unique opportunity. Bowlers who have upset their captains sometimes find themselves bowling into the stiff wind that is a feature of the Wellington climate. A strong northerly breeze is forecast for the day.

"We already discussed it and we're practicing in this wind," Azhar said. "So everyone is prepared for that."

In addition to Amir, Azhar has a legion of left-armers in the squad. Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan and Rahat Ali are likely to play at some point in the series, and left-arm spinning allrounder Imad Wasim has also been effective with the ball since making his debut last year.

"A lot of the good bowlers that are coming in - most of them are left-armers, in Pakistan," Azhar said. "Sometimes it's an advantage because not every team has left-armers. They bowl at good pace as well, so we're lucky to have them."

With bounce and pace expected in the Basin Reserve surface, Azhar said he hoped Irfan could trouble opposition batsmen. New Zealand allrounder Grant Elliott said Irfan's height and pace made him an "exciting" bowler to face.

"I think I made the comment that playing Irfan was like batting on a trampoline," Elliott said. "The height that he comes from is very different. It takes a little bit of getting used to - the first couple of balls. He's another great player for the crowd to see bowl. He's seven foot and bowls at 140 clicks."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Wasim Farooq on January 25, 2016, 10:28 GMT

    Enough is enough, please shut this chapter and lets move on. Today`s match once again is a proof of incompetence of coaching of Waqar Younis the great depth over bowler.

    Where goes yorkers, swing and seam who is the better one to coach.

    Please please quit for the better future of Pakistan Cricket or get rid of players like Hafeez, and Ahmed Shehzad and just told each and every body else to play for Victory and Pakistan.

    The past performance is past they just perform for one match or two and then as they cemented their place throw away wickets like every newcomer so why give them a go. Thanx

  • the_blue_android on January 25, 2016, 1:06 GMT

    This Azhar Ali seems to be a drama queen. Wonder why he had issues 'moving on' earlier or why he didn't keep his displeasure under check.

  • Cricinfouser on January 24, 2016, 21:50 GMT

    cme on pak u can do it shw us that flair and passion

  • spellbinder76 on January 24, 2016, 19:36 GMT

    If Pakistan cricket standard has to improve PCB must give complete freedom to select the national teams without interference by the PCB chairman or any member of the board, the coach and the captain. The selectors can consult the captain only but the final decision must be the selection team. The selection committee must select a team on pure merit and not on the basis that one or two players from each province must be in the team. The selection team are able to take hard decisions which cannot be challenged by the chairman, coach and captain. The selectors should not make drastic changes but gradual changes to the problem areas. The biggest problem in short format are the top three batsmen. They are not good enough to meet the requirements of the short format. Look at the averages and strike rates and compare it to the top three players of other international teams. The selectors must be consistent on how many chances a player should get before he is dropped.

  • Tmalik on January 24, 2016, 18:36 GMT

    Azhar, Ahmed Shehzad and HAfeez all need to be thrown out of the team if Pakistan loses ODI series also, they are becoming bigger than their shoes, their job # 1 is to win games to Pakistan where they miserably failed time and again, they will bat well in one match of series to hold to their spot in team and rest of the series one digit scores, their is no consistency and they need to be thrown out, we do not need talent like that, PCB must give chance to players on pure merit like Australia does. PCB selectors including HAroon Rasheed should give chance to top performers from ODI domestic tournament, players like Sadaf Hussain, Mohammad Sami and Salman butt deserve to be in team. Don't kill merit...

  •   Showkat Khan on January 24, 2016, 17:14 GMT

    Very good to hear and that is the right attitude for Pakistan to move forward from a Bangladeshi fan.

  • Cricinfouser on January 24, 2016, 16:53 GMT

    Meanwhile Butt has transformed into a run machine in domestic cricket.He crossed 80 5/7 times.Azhar must be feeling insecure!

  • Adeel Anjum Malik on January 24, 2016, 16:41 GMT

    In my view Aamir will bounce back effectively, i m quite hopeful he will not let down his followers

  • scooby_007 on January 24, 2016, 15:00 GMT

    @BlackCapsBestintjeWorld: I'd already replied to him, but if you want to start afresh, then out of 54 tests, we lead 24 and have lost 8 to you. Those wins include many in NZ, too. Also in ODI's. But at the moment, I guess that makes your team unbeatable to us, since we obviously have been suffering at your hands for the past 50 years. It's funny what a good 2 year run can do to some fans' attitude. All the best for the future, mate.

  • Fogu on January 24, 2016, 14:42 GMT

    Very mature decision from Azhar. This will be good for PK team unity. Captain needs to lead by example and hopefully Azhar will. Good luck to both teams.

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