Azhar Ali eyes spot in 2019 World Cup contingent


KARACHI  : Pakistan opening batsman Azhar Ali is optimistic about featuring in the Pakistan squad for the next year’s ICC World Cup in England and Wales.

Ali — who has featured in 53 one-day internationals for Pakistan — considers the ODI world cup as a realistic target and believes that it will be an honour to represent Pakistan at the mega event.

“That is absolutely my target to find a place in the Pakistan squad for the 2019 World Cup,” said Azhar.  “I understand that I need to work hard to get into the team but that remains my aim and it will be an honour to represent Pakistan at such a big stage if given the opportunity.”

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Ali also stated that his primary target in Test cricket is to play 100 Tests rather than scoring 10,000 runs, while also added that high level performance is his ultimate objective in the rest of the career.

“At the moment, I don’t have any such goals [scoring 10,000 runs] in my mind,” he said. “What I am looking forward to is to play as long as I can for my country. In doing so, I would like to reach the 100 Tests milestone for Pakistan. I have already played 65 Tests so far so there are another 35 to go before I can I achieve that goal. At that point, I will see where I stand in terms of runs. Obviously to get to any such milestone such as the 100 Test mark, I will have to perform very well and once that happens, anything is possible.”

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When asked about the dip in his ODI form, Ali brushed aside the notion by stating that his performances have gone down in all formats of the game, not just ODI cricket.

“I don’t agree with the view that my form has had a dip in any one form of cricket as the fact of the matter is that my form has suffered in general in the recent past,” he said.

The Lahore-born opener further added that injuries have played a major role in his poor form in the recent-past.

“One of the reasons for this [poor form] in the past was due to a troublesome knee injury,” he said.  But that has now improved because of which I played in the Test series in Ireland and England. I suppose, it’s now simply down to playing more cricket and batting as much as I can which should help me regain my form as well as confidence.”

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Speaking about his performance during the recently concluded Test series against Ireland and England, the 33-year-old said that it was not up to the mark but he is keen to eradicating the weaknesses that have crept into his game.

“To be honest, I wasn’t satisfied with how I played during this series,” said Ali. “I felt that my balance at the crease was not right as was the way I played the straighter balls during my time in England. I am currently working on improving my weak areas of the game and hope to show better results in the future.”

Recently, Pakistan’s record in the limited overs format has been considerably better than that in red ball cricket, but Ali believes patience is required to judge the real potential of the young side in the five-day format.

“I believe we need to have more patience as far as the Test team is concerned,” he said. “You have to realise that two very senior players have left this side and like any other side in the world, we are facing a situation which is a challenges are many for us. Any new player who comes into the side will take his time to settle in and to understand his role in the team.”

This interview originally appeared at PakPassion.net

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1757954/7-azhar-ali-eyes-spot-2019-world-cup-contingent/