Pakistan’s drubbing in Australia has left Azhar Ali hurt but the captain believes the experience will help his young bowling unit fare better in the future. They lost the three-match T20I series 0-2 and then suffered heavy defeats – by an innings and five runs and by an innings and 48 runs – in the two Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide.
Pakistan’s pace attack in the first Test included 16-year-old Naseem Shah before he was replaced by 19-year-old Musa Khan in the second Test. In the first game, Pakistan decided to go in without Mohammad Abbas and when he did return in the second Test, it made little difference. “We are a proud cricketing nation and our pride has been hurt,” Azhar said on Friday (December 6).
“We did prepare to our best of our abilities, we went there with positive intent but unfortunately sometimes results don’t come as per your expectations.
“When you play in Australia and don’t avail of your opportunities, it’s never easy to make a comeback. The bowling attack was young and couldn’t perform as expected, but still, the world is talking about them today. They have pace and with little bit more experience they will be great for Pakistan in the future.”
Azhar had scored of 35, 5, 9 and 9 in the four innings and the lack of runs only hurt the side more. He acknowledged he needs runs to justify he spot in the side.
“It’s true that after a knee injury my form is not the same, but I passed all the fitness test, I do all the sprinting and it’s not the only reason (injury),” he pointed out. “Lots of players go through surgeries and play and if there’s a fitness issue, the PCB staff do tell it. I realize I do have to score, I am working hard, I am feeling good in nets, unfortunately, runs are not coming but I know when runs do come it will be in bulk.
“As far as I am concerned, it’s not that ball is not coming onto my bat or when I am at the crease my footwork is not working. Unfortunately, it’s not working. I know I need runs whether captain or any other player nobody can play without performing.”
Azhar’s next assignment is the two-match series against Sri Lanka as Test cricket will return to Pakistan after a gap of ten years. “The next series is against Sri Lanka which is a momentous occasion for all of us, all players will be playing their first test match in Pakistan,” he said. “Sri Lanka is bringing their full-strength side and we have to play very good cricket to beat them.
“We will try our best and whatever time we have in between we have to freshen up our minds and look forward to playing good cricket and get back on track. It is very important for us and we have to play this series very good.”
The first Test will be played in Rawalpindi from December 11 with the second one in Karachi from December 19.