19 February 1985|
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Batsman, ODI Captain|
|International information |
|Test debut (cap 199)||
13 July 2010 v Australia|
14 May 2015 v Bangladesh|
|ODI debut (cap 185)||
30 May 2011 v Ireland|
29 May 2015 v Zimbabwe|
|Domestic team information
<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align:center;text-align: right; font-size: smaller">
|5 wickets in innings
|10 wickets in match
Source: Cricinfo, 29 May 2015</td></tr></table>
Azhar Ali (Urdu: اظہر علی; born 19 February 1985 in Kasur, Punjab) is a Pakistani international cricketer and current captain of Pakistan ODI team and the vice captain of the Pakistan Test team. He made his Test debut for Pakistan against Australia in the first Test at Lord's in July 2010. He is a right-hand batsman and an occasional leg-break bowler who has played for Lahore, Lahore Blues, Lahore Whites, Abbottabad, Khan Research Laboratories, Punjab and Huntly (Scotland) during his career.
Starting against Australia and England
Following the exclusion of middle-order stalwarts Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf from the Pakistani team in 2010, Ali was drafted into the lineup for the Test series against Australia and England in July 2010. He made his debut against Australia in July, along with Umar Amin; Azhar scored 17 runs in his debut innings before he was caught behind by Tim Paine. In the second innings, he scored 42 as Pakistan lost the match by 150 runs. In the second Test match against Australia, he scored 30 runs in the first innings, followed by his maiden half century in the second as Pakistan recorded their first Test victory over the Australians in fifteen years.
He struggled in the first two Tests against England, recording a 32-ball duck during the second match as Pakistan were bundled out for 72. Following these disastrous collapses Mohammad Yousuf was recalled to the squad and Amin lost his place, but Azhar was given another opportunity and found his feet in the third Test, scoring an unbeaten 92.
South Africa series in November 2010
Ali retained his place in the Test squad for the series against South Africa in November. He scored half centuries in both innings of the first Test, and helped Pakistan, chasing an improbable 451, avoid defeat with a crucial fourth-innings partnership with the returning Younus Khan. He top-scored with 90 in the first innings of the second Test, before producing another solid performance alongside captain Misbah-ul-Haq in the second innings, finishing unbeaten after facing 135 deliveries to secure another draw.
January 2011: Tour of New Zealand
Following consistent performances against South Africa backed up with experience against England and Australia the selectors picked Ali for the two-match test series against New Zealand in January 2011, also young Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq was given a place alongside Ali. In the first innings of the first match Ali only managed 18 and wasn't required to bat in the following innings as Pakistan won by 10-wickets. During the second match of the series Azhar was on 62* at Stumps registering his sixth half-century in the process.
June 2012: Tour of Sri Lanka
Azhar was picked in the both ODI and Test squad for the Sri Lankan tour in 2012. He was impressive in the ODIs by scoring 96 in the 2nd ODI and 81* in the 4th ODI, and became the second Pakistani to carry his bat after Saeed Anwar. He finished the series as the leading run-scorer for Pakistan
Azhar Ali made his 4th test hundred and finished on 157 in the 1st innings of the 2nd test at SSC.
Azhar continued his good form and made consecutive centuries as he scored 136 in the 2nd innings. His crucial innings enabled him make into the Top-10 of ICC Test Rankings for the first time, as he joined Graeme Smith on 753 points.
After Misbah Ul Haq retired from ODIs,The Pakistan Cricket board had a tough job to do while appointing Misbah's successor. The potential candidates were either too inconsistent or had some disciplinary issues. Sarfraz Ahmed gave the selectors a long thought but the board finally decided to go in favor of Azhar Ali who hadn't played ODI cricket for almost 2 years at the time of his appointment. While this decision was opposed by many, Azhar Ali seemed determined to take the Pakistani team right on top. Even though he has less strike rate than Misbah Ul Haq still he was appointed as a captain in 29 March 2015.
Under his captaincy, Pakistan played their first ODI series against Bangladesh. The tournament was highly disappointed for them, where Pakistan lost all three ODIs due to clever Bangladeshi batting. This was Bangladesh's first win over Pakistan since the 1999 Cricket World Cup, and also this victory gave Bangladesh their first ever series win over Pakistan.
One Day International centuries
Azhar Ali double century