Azhar to return to Somerset

Azhar backs idea of playing cricket behind closed doors

LAHORE (APP): Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali has supported the idea of playing cricket behind closed doors to provide cricket-loving fans something to rejoice.

“In the present scenario when the entire world is fighting against the deadly corona virus pandemic there is nothing to watch on TV as sports events are suspended around the globe and cricket fans sports will be happy if they get to watch something somehow.

But lives and health of people are equally important and if that is not compromised, we can start with cricket slowly, but not now, at later stage when things are conducive to re start cricket “, said Azhar Ali during a digital session with sports journalists here on Thursday .

To a question about his poor form and defensive style of captaincy, the Test skipper said his knee injury is the main reason behind his dip in form and also a factor behind his decision not to play white-ball cricket for Pakistan and focus only on Tests.

“The knee injury has hampered my form, when I was at my peak and helped us win the Champions Trophy, but after my injury, those six to eight months disturbed me and also disturbed my form. Now I am working very hard and I am hopeful of regaining my lost form to be a useful part of the team and to inspire as a captain.

“You lead the team according to situation and according to resources available to you. It is always different and you can’t place four slips in conditions in Dubai but at certain grounds you need placement in slips.

He rejected the impression of being dubbed as a defensive skipper, saying it is not fair to dub him as a leader with such approach.

“ To call me defensive captain is a wrong perception, and I will try to change this mindset with my performance,” he asserted.

Azhar said he wanted to bring optimistic and brave approach in the dressing room. “I want to make the team fearless and positive towards their approach. The team usually gets tensed when they’re under pressure but I want to change this through proper counseling and guidance,” he added.

About his relationship with head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq, he said they both were at same page on most of the occasions .

“ We both have similar ideas and after playing under him for a long time, I have developed a better understanding with him and he (Misbah) feels the same way. “Sometimes it did happen that we are not on the same page but we come to terms after discussing a particular matter and my cricket playing association with Misbah helps a lot in this regard .”

Revealing his relationship with bowling coach Waqar Younis, the Test captain said: “I discuss things with Waqar bhai regarding bowling. Misbah is cool and calm, that’s why his way of working is also cool. Waqar bhai used to do it in a different way. Both are big names in Pakistan cricket and both the legends.”

When asked what would be the future of ICC World Test Championship, Azhar said the final of the championship should be postponed due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic due to all the sporting activities are stopped worldwide.

“There is no harm in delaying the final until all teams complete their Test championship cycle. I am sure the final will be held only after all the teams get their due share of matches.”

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