Return of Test cricket after a decade is rejoicing moment: Azhar Ali

ISLAMABAD, Dec 10 (APP):Pakistan Skipper Azhar Ali believed that it was a rejoicing and emotional moment for the nation as Test cricket had returned to the country after a decade. Pakistan would play the longer version game at home after a gap of 10 years when they take on Sri Lanka in the two-match test series beginning Wednesday at the Pindi Stadium.

“It is an emotional moment for the whole nation and players as test cricket has been revived after 10 years,” he said while addressing to media here at Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi.

He said the home series was a very good opportunity for us to resume Test cricket at home grounds and we would try to improve our performance and come back on the winning track. “The series against Australia was tough and we were disappointed that we were unable to perform. But we will try to overcome our weaknesses and perform better in the home series,” he said.

He said we had got a lot of talent and passion in our squad and hopefully the results would be better.
“I’m trying my best to revive my form and score big runs. If a captain performs well it sends a good message to the whole team,” he said. He said he was always thinking of how he could make the team win by contributing his role in the victory.

To a question, he said the selection committee decided the team with his say in the process. “At the end, the best team of players is finalized,” he said. Azhar said we could never take the Sri Lankan team easy as it was a very disciplined side.

“They have always been a tough opponent whether they are playing home or away,” he said and added “We would have to play a very disciplined cricket to beat them.” He said after seeing the conditions on the day we would decide for the Playing 11. “Yasir Shah would do better in the series,” he said.

Azhar said it was difficult for the bowlers to take 20 wickets in Australia but we would try to regain the confidence by winning this series. To a question, he said it did not matter whether the coach was a national or foreigner until and unless he was competent.

“The Sri Lanka last toured Pakistan for a test and now they are back for the revival which sends a very good message to the whole world,” he said.

Azhar said the team was united like a family and the players were very close to each other. Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne said it was his first time in Pakistan and it was a motivation for him to do well.

“We will try to play a good series here and defeat the home side,” he said and added we had played good cricket against Pakistan in Dubai and Sri Lanka as well.

“We have plans and will try to stick to the basis and get the maximum out of it. We have Mickey Arthur with us who knows the Pakistan team very well as he has been associated with them for three years, so we are confident for the series,” he said.

To a question on if he could repeat the performance of the Twenty20 Sri Lankan team which beat Pakistan in the series, he said test cricket was different from white-ball cricket.  “It is five-day long game. Hopefully, we will have a good start,” he said. The trophy unveiling ceremony also took place at the venue.

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