Former West Indian cricketer Brian Lara lauded Pakistani Test team skipper Azhar Ali for playing indefatigable innings in the first innings of the third test match against England in Southampton.
Brian Lara-Azhar Ali
Azhar Ali played a spectacular knock of 141 runs not out in the first innings. Hence keeping the chances of Pakistan alive in the match.
Brian Lara, the magnificent cricketer, said Azhar Ali played one of the finest knocks in modern-day cricket. In his Instagram post, Brian Lara said that Azhar Ali played so brilliantly that he did not give him a chance to watch any other sports that day.
“Captain Azhar Ali batting to save his country a Test match with no chance of winning [and to play] pretty much dull cricket if he was to achieve it,” Lara wrote.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) August 24, 2020
“But quite the opposite I was watching one of the best Test hundreds and rearguard action I have ever seen. Two great partnerships with Fawad Alam and Mohammed Rizwan but Azhar Ali played one of the best captain’s knocks in modern cricket.”
“I know Trinbago Knight Riders won their CPL match but my remote remained untouched. Well played Azhar Ali. True captain’s knock!”
Nasser Hussain-Azhar Ali
Besides Brian Lara, England’s former skipper Nasser Hussain also appreciated Azhar Ali for a wonderful knock. He called him a tinkerman and lauded him for rectifying his flaws in the innings.
In his instructive column for the English media outlet, Daily Mail, Nasser Hussain dissected the batting style of Azhar Ali and how he overcame his technical flaws that reduced his chances of getting out at an early stage.
All too often Azhar got his front leg in the way and was then falling over the crease with his bat coming down at a bad angle. So the bowlers have worked to get his leg across his stumps before producing a nip-backer that gets him plumb lbw,” he said.
— The HotSpot (@TheHotspotpk) August 25, 2020
“He has been moving his front foot out of the way in his stance, just by a couple of inches, and opening his hips up a bit. That means he has not been planting his leg in front of off-stump – instead, it is in front of middle or middle and leg – and he has looked a lot more confident when England have been targeting those pads.”
💯 for Azhar Ali 👏 🎉
— ICC (@ICC) August 23, 2020
Both Nasser Hussain and Brian Lara noted that Azhar Ali stepped out of his comfort zone during his batting.
Azhar Ali: Batting out of comfort zone
“People will say ‘if it is that simple and he can score a century now why didn’t he do this before?’ but it is not that straightforward. Firstly it doesn’t feel natural at first to change something that has served you well everywhere else throughout your career. And also any change you make can then lead to other forms of dismissal,” he said.
Nasser Hussain also hailed Azhar Ali for standing firm against harsh criticism from people.
“Azhar also only made a very small alteration but it’s amazing the difference it has made in both innings of this last Test. Most of all, he has shown incredible mental toughness at a time when his captaincy has been questioned and his side has been struggling,” he concluded.
Pakistan’s lackluster performance
Unfortunately, Pakistan is on the trajectory of losses in the three-test match series against England. Pakistan lost the first match against England despite being in a strong position to win. The second match was drawn. While, in the third test match, the Pakistan cricket team is reeling on to win the watch. Hence, the team is gearing to draw the third test match.
Moreover, captain Azhar Ali was also under immense criticism for unable to lead the team towards victory and lackluster performance. Hence, an undefeatable knock of Azhar Ali was due from him to tackle the mounting criticism.
Not only Pakistani skipper Azhar Ali is in the crosshairs of Pakistani fans but the entire Pakistani team management including the selection team is slammed for the team’s disappointing performance against England.