Coming close on the heels on Misbah-ul-Haq’s retirement from all forms of the game, another big-ticket Pakistani cricketers has made an announcement today. Azhar Ali has decided to quit ODI cricket.
In a chat with the media in Lahore, Azhar said he was looking to prolong his Test match career and after giving it due thought, he has decided to call it quits from the white-ball format of the game.
“I haven’t made this decision abruptly. I’ve thought it through. I think this is the right time to make this decision. I want to focus on one format and invest my all energies in it.”
Having made his ODI debut in the 2011 series against Ireland, Azhar played 53 ODIs in his career. The last of these 53 matches came earlier this year in Dunedin, against New Zealand and he was dismissed for a duck. This was his first series since featuring in the Champions Trophy final against India and he made 12 runs from three innings before being dropped from the side.
Azhar scored three centuries in his ODI career, and ends with 1845 runs at 36.9.
During the Champions Trophy, which Azhar called his best ODI moment, he scored three fifties including a match-winning one in the final.
Azhar said of that win over India:
“Whenever I will be asked this question, this will be my answer. It is always important to be a part of a winning team. It was a great honour to captain Pakistan. But the way in which we won the Champions Trophy and how the fans celebrated our win, those memories will always be with me.”
Interestingly, Azhar, despite his slow nature of batting, was asked to captain the side during the Bangladesh series after the 2015 World Cup but ended up on the losing side, 3-0. He himself scored a truckload of runs but was soon removed from the captaincy.
He also said he will look to play in all formats of the game at the domestic level to try and maintain his fitness for the Test matches that Pakistan do play. Azhar hasn’t played in the PSL since the 2016 edition, mustering up 183 runs at a strike-rate of 106.