It has been quite a while since the debut of Azhar Ali in the Pakistan Test side in 2010, but the mid-order batsman has consistently been a mainstay for the Pakistani team. There are more than 7,000 runs scored by the batter in the longest format of the game, making him the most successful batter in the game.
It is worth noting that the recent form of Azhar has been a cause for concern for the national side even though he has been a top performer for Pakistan over the past 12 years.
It is no secret that the flamboyant batter has been in a trough ever since he scored a magnificent century in the first Test match of the year against Australia. In eight Test innings since his 185 at Rawalpindi in the first innings, Azhar has failed to cross the 100-run mark and has only been able to score one half-century, against Australia in Lahore, in seven innings.
There has been some doubt about his place in the Test line-up due to the failure he suffered in Sri Lanka followed by a less than convincing performance against England in the first innings of the Rawalpindi Test.
Despite the fact that he has had so much responsibility placed upon him, the former Test captain has shown himself to be a liability in recent times, and his performances have repeatedly put Pakistan in a position of trouble. In order for Pakistan to make it to the World Test Championship final for the first time, the management will be hoping that Azhar will regain his old form and make match-winning contributions once more.
In spite of this, if Azhar fails to meet the high expectations set for him, then his career may come to an end. It is evident that Azhar will need to be at his best if he is to maintain his place in the Test team in the near future with Shan Masood warming the bench and Fawad Alam being left out of the squad.
Here is how Azhar has performed recently:
|Last 4 Matches||4||8||180||25.71||0||1|
The 37-year-old is Pakistan’s fifth-highest run-scorer in the format and has the sixth most Test caps for the country in history. With 96 Test matches already under his belt, Azhar’s aim will be to become only the sixth Pakistani player to cross the 100-Test cap club. Azhar will be aiming to achieve the milestone in Pakistan’s next Test series against New Zealand.
The Men in Green are set to play two more matches against England before their two-Test match series against New Zealand, which would be enough for Azhar to make it to 100 Test matches.
Despite Azhar’s recent failures, it is unlikely that he will be dropped from the side, at least until the end of Pakistan’s home Test season. Azhar’s experience and the upcoming milestone will be enough to keep him in the Test side for the next series, but he is likely to be replaced after he achieves the remarkable feat.
Here’s the list of players with the most Test matches for Pakistan:
Stats do not include the second innings of the ongoing Test match between Pakistan and England