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‘Selfless cricketer’ Ramiz praises Azhar Ali on farewell Test

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Source: PCB

KARACHI: Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Ramiz Raja has praised the retiring veteran batter Azhar Ali for his services to Pakistan Cricket, calling him a selfless player and an inspiration for young cricketers.

Azhar, 37, scored 45 in the first turn of his farewell Test at National Bank Cricket Arena on Saturday.

Pakistan Cricket Board held a brief ceremony to pay homage to the retiring batter during the lunch interval on the opening day of the third test between Pakistan and England.

Chairman Ramiz presented a souvenir to Azhar for his illustrious career spanning over 12 years and lauded the middle-order batter for taking the bold decision of announcing retirement decision at peak of his career.

“Very rarely do you see such cricketers retiring on a high,” he said.  would have liked him to play 100 Test matches but just to let you know Azhar, I also ended up with 198 ODIs. It doesn’t matter, it’s just a number.”

He called Azhar ‘a true ambassador for Pakistan cricket’, saying the presence of such a ‘selfless cricketer’ in the dressing room meant a great deal to our cricket system and team.

“What you have achieved is truly amazing. You lifted us all and stood up in crunch situations. You are a great example. I want people to play cricket like you, with a smile on their faces and just enjoying the game.” said Ramiz.

Azhar made his Test debut at the age of 25 in England against Australia at Lord’s cricket stadium and scored his maiden Test half-century in only his second match. He scored 34 half-centuries and went past the 100-run mark on 19 instances.

With 7,097 runs in 96 matches at an average of 42.49, Azhar is Pakistan’s fifth leading Test run-getter behind Younis Khan (10,099), Javed Miandad (8,832), Inzamam-ul-Haq (8,829) and Mohammad Yousuf (7,530).

Azhar, 37, is the only Pakistan batter to score a triple-century in a pink-ball Test – a feat that he achieved against the West Indies in Dubai in 2016. That unbeaten 302 remains his highest score in Test cricket.

Over the course of his 12-year career, Azhar also made 2 double-centuries – 226 against Bangladesh in Dhaka (May 2015) and 205 not out against Australia in Melbourne (December 2016) – and has, at least, one century in Australia, Bangladesh, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.

It is pertinent to mention here that the top order batter retired from One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in 2018 – a year after helping Pakistan win the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.

READ: Ramiz suggests fast bowlers ‘to achieve fitness for five-day cricket first’

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