Amidst the Shambles, Azhar Rediscovers Elusive Form


23rd August, 2020, Baaghi TV: Azhar Ali, arguably the biggest positive and certainly the only survivor of the disastrous tour of England of 2010, has rediscovered his lately elusive form in a thoroughly hopeless situation. Throughout the series, in the only format he plays (and captains as well), he has been frustrated by the failure to establish an innings of any size at all. Even when it seemed like he has finally dug himself out of the hole, he has slipped back.

He didn’t find the trick during the Pakistan-dominated first match and even in the (rendered creditable by Rizwan) second test won by rain. Yet in the midst of what is best described as carnage, Azhar played the perfect Captain’s innings that has been expected of him ever since the series started and which he has been desperately trying to graft.

The joy and excitement from Younis Khan when the century finally came, was greater than any he has ever shown for any of his own centuries. Misbah was visibly relieved and the whole team came out to pay a vociferous tribute to the captain. It was clear that the coaches had invested as much time, effort, and commitment to Azhar’s bid to end his first real bad patch, as he himself.

By the time Naseem Shah succumbed to Anderson who in this innings has been too good for his batting team-mates, Azhar was standing tall at the other end, having succeeded in holding the bat and scored half his team’s runs.

Due to the weather forecast for Days 4 and 5 not being very promising, England took the predictable decision of enforcing the follow on, a move that is increasingly rare in modern Test cricket. Azhar had decided to stay on the field as opener for the 6 to 7 overs that could be expected at best, before light got called and stumps were declared on Day 3.

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