Karachi: Pakistani batsman, Azhar Ali announced his retirement from Test cricket on the eve of the third test against England in Karachi, which begins on December 17. He will finish three Tests shy of passing the 100-test milestone and move up to fifth place on Pakistan’s all-time runs-scoring list.
‘It has been a great honour and privilege for me to represent my country at the highest level. Deciding on when to call it a day is always tough, but, after contemplating deeply, I realised that this is the right time for me to retire from Test cricket’, the batter announced as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
The former captain thanked the people that have been part of his cricketing journey and termed his career arduous yet beautiful. ‘There are many people who I am grateful to in this strenuous, yet beautiful journey. I want to make a special mention of my family without whose sacrifices; I would not have been where I am today. My parents, wife, siblings, and children have been my strength throughout. I have been blessed to share a dressing room with some of the most outstanding cricketers with whom I share a strong bond. I feel much richer by calling these people my friends. I am also blessed to have played under some wonderful coaches to whom I will always remain grateful’, expressed Azhar.
‘I retire from international cricket as a fulfilled cricketer who ticked most of the goals he had set for himself. Not many cricketers go on to lead their countries, and that I was able to captain Pakistan is a matter of great pride for me. From being a kid who started as a legspinner to becoming a mainstay in the Test batting line-up, I had the loveliest moments of my life that I will cherish forever’, he concluded.
The 37-year-old Azhar missed the previous Test match in Multan against England. In total, he led Pakistan in nine Test matches after Sarfaraz Ahmed was relieved of his duties in 2019. Under his leadership, Pakistan defeated Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in two home series, however, Babar Azam took over less than a year later due to a decline Azhar Ali’s personal performance and mounting criticism of his style of leadership.
In addition, he was in charge of Pakistan in ODIs from 2015 to 2017 (taking over for Misbah-ul-Haq after the World Cup), a turbulent time for the team in the format during which they fell to No. 9 in the rankings. He did not participate in any T20Is and his last ODI for Pakistan was in January 2018.