Saturday Jan 23, 2021
KARACHI: Commenting about South Africa's "strong fast-bowling", former Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali pointed out that Proteas' bowling will pose a huge challenge for the home team in the upcoming test series, The News reported on Saturday.
The historic series against South Africa will begin on January 26 in Karachi's National Stadium.
Addressing a virtual conference, Azhar said: “It would be a good challenge for our batsmen to play against top-quality bowling of South Africa."
Being the "most-experienced member" on the side, Azhar opined: “We should get the advantage of the home conditions. It’s very important to win a home series as people expect that from the team."
“We are confident that our batting line-up will perform. Babar has also come back after the injury. In-home conditions players shine. On tours of England and New Zealand, too, some of our batsmen scored centuries. We are not far behind. Asian nations always face issues in those conditions but we fought there and it’s a positive thing,” Azhar noted.
Azhar, who has scored 6,302 runs in 83 Tests at an average of 42.87, having hit 17 centuries and 32 fifties, was confident that he as the most senior batsman would carry on his form in home conditions.
“I am in top form. The best thing is that I feel confident when I go to the crease. I will try to continue the same form against South Africa and will try to score runs,” Azhar shared.
In December 2019, Azhar hit 118 in the Test against Sri Lanka here at National Stadium which Pakistan won by 263 runs.
He scored a fine 93 in the first innings of the Christchurch Test against New Zealand recently which Pakistan lost by a big margin of an innings and 176 runs.
Speaking about his batting position, Azhar said: “As a senior player I can say that a batsman should have a particular position at which he should bat. I have always tried to act according to the team’s plans and management’s request as far as my position as a batsman is concerned."
The Pakistani batsman further shared that his conversations with the team coaches are always "satisfactory".
“Every player has a bad patch. Sometimes, players fail to score even one run. We have Younis and Misbah and I trust them. They know me and I also share with them when I feel some problems in batting,” Azhar said.
Advising young players inducted in the side for the Test series to play positive cricket, Azhar said: “International cricket is always a challenge for new players as they also feel a sort of insecurity in case they fail to click. Besides this, there is a huge gap between our domestic and international cricket."
"The youth should rely on their skills, take the moment with positive intent, avoid going towards negatives and enjoy their game,” he added.
“In our culture, very little time is given to a player. Many players are dropped after just one or two games. I think this culture should be changed,” he was quick to add.
Pakistan has announced nine uncapped players in the initial 20-man side which will be slashed to the final 16 before the first Test.