‘Honour to play for Pakistan’: Azhar Ali grateful after career’s last Test

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Azhar Ali is one of the top five run-getters in Test Cricket for Pakistan. But he remained underrated for most of his career or probably throughout it.

On Monday, he walked on the field to bat for the final time hoping to make his farewell innings memorable, but he trudged back for a four-ball-duck to receive a guard of honour from his teammates.

The veteran batter had announced before the commencement of Karachi Test that this will be his last international outing for Pakistan. He made a graceful exit from the game and will be remembered as one of the finest cricketers produced by this country — who didn’t get enough praise for what he has achieved.

The 37-year-old Azhar Ali said, “ups and downs are part of everyone’s career. There were moments I cherish. There were moments I regret. There were disappointments and celebrations. But when I look back, I can’t ask for anything better in my life, it is an honour to play for Pakistan and represent the country in 97 Test matches, which is a big achievement.”

The star batter added: “I started my cricket as a leg spinner, but I later transformed into a proper batter. Throughout my career, I had to prove myself to others which also motivated me to work harder every time.”

When asked if there is anything he wanted to achieve or anything that made him most disappointed in his career, the stylish batter recalled Pakistan’s Test against New Zealand at Abu Dhabi which the country lost.

“There was one wish… to play 100 Tests. But it was not possible this season and that is certainly not a big thing. However, I regret not being able to finish that Test in Abu Dhabi against New Zealand which we lost. Whenever I think of that match, it frustrates me. I wish I could have finished it by hitting a sixer but then I decided otherwise, this one match I regret.”—Agencies

Azhar has scored 19 centuries including a triple hundred with the pink ball and a double hundred in Australia, but his favorite was unbeaten 141 against England at Southampton in 2020.—Agencies