Azhar Ali Retires: Why Was He So Important to Pakistan Cricket?

Pakistan’s most successful batsman, Azhar Ali, announced his retirement from international cricket earlier today in a press conference at National Bank Cricket Arena Karachi. Earlier today, the former captain, in a press conference, announced that the Karachi test against England will be his last international appearance.

Azhar Ali’s Carrer

Azhar Ali, a veteran test cricketer, made his international debut against Australia on July 13, 2010, at Lord’s.

Azhar, then 25, scored his maiden Test half-century at Lord’s in only his second match following his Test debut against Australia in 2010. He scored 34 more half-centuries and went beyond the 100-run mark 19 times in his career.

Azhar Ali is the only Pakistan batter to score a triple century in a pink-ball Test, he achieved this feat against the West Indies in Dubai in 2016.

Azhar also scored two double-centuries in his 12-year career, 226 against Bangladesh in Dhaka (May 2015) and 205 not out against Australia in Melbourne (December 2016), and has at least one century in Australia, Bangladesh, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, West Indies, and Zimbabwe. Azhar struck a century in each inning against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014, helping Pakistan win the second Test by 356 runs and the two-Test series 2-0.

After helping Pakistan win the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017, Azhar retired from One-Day Internationals in 2018. Azhar’s outstanding 59 runs in the championship game versus India enable Pakistan to lift the trophy.

Azhar Ali as a Captain

After the 2015 World Cup, Azhar succeeded Misbah-ul-Haq as the ODI captain, although he soon had problems. Under Azhar, Pakistan dropped to a record-low No. 9 in ODIs before moving up one spot and just missing out on the 2017 Champions Trophy. They finished with a record of 12 wins and 18 losses in ODIs under his leadership when he resigned as captain in February 2017 following a 4-1 defeat against Australia. Ironically, Azhar’s 50s in the semifinal and final game helped Pakistan win the Champions Trophy that year.

After Sarfaraz Ahmed was sacked in 2019, Azhar was named the new Test captain. Under his leadership, Pakistan won two home series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, although he only held the position for less than a year before handing it to his vice-captain, Babar Azam.

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Azhar Ali’s Stats During Misbah-Younis Era

Azhar Ali played for seven years alongside Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan, two of the greatest players in Test cricket, and these are his statistics throughout that time.

SpanmatchesinningsrunsavgSr.110’s50’sHSNot Outs
2010-201760114496846.8641.721425302*8

Azhar Ali’s Stats After Misbah-Younis Era

Azhar Ali played for six years following the retirement of Test cricket’s two all-time greats, Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan, and these are his statistics After Misbah-Younis Era.

SpanmatchesinningsrunsavgSr.110’s50’sHSNot Outs
2017-20223664212934.9042.115101853

Azhar Ali’s Statement after retirement.

Azhar Ali in his press conference said.

“It has been a great honor and privilege for me to represent my country at the highest level. Deciding on when to call it a day is always tough, but, after contemplating deeply, I realized that this is the right time for me to retire from Test cricket.”

“There are many people who I am grateful to in this strenuous, yet beautiful journey. I want to make a special mention of my family without whose sacrifices; I would not have been where I am today. My parents, wife, siblings, and children have been my strength throughout.

“I have been blessed to share the dressing room with some of the most outstanding cricketers with whom I share a strong bond. I feel much richer by calling these people my friends. I am also blessed to have played under some wonderful coaches to whom I will always remain grateful. 

“I retire from international cricket as a fulfilled cricketer who ticked most of the goals he had set for himself. Not many cricketers go on to lead their countries, and that I was able to captain Pakistan is a matter of great pride for me. From being a kid who started as a leg-spinner to becoming a mainstay in the Test batting line-up, I had the loveliest moments of my life that I will cherish forever.”

PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja’s Statement on Azhar’s retirement.

“Azhar Ali has been one of the most committed and loyal servants of Pakistan cricket. His grit and determination have been an inspiration for many young cricketers and he is a role model for up-and-coming cricketers.”

“While it is sad that Pakistan will not have a player of his experience in the dressing room to draw upon, it only reflects the circle of life. I hope to see Azhar continuing to play a role in the development of Pakistan cricket and sharing his vast knowledge and experience with budding cricketers.”

Green teams wish Azhar Ali great success in his future

Green Team honours and thanks veteran cricketer Azhar Ali for his contributions to the Pakistan cricket team and wish him success in his future endeavours.

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