Azhar Ali aims to 'improve batting' after stepping down as Pakistan captain
Azhar Ali said he was desperate to resurrect his fortunes with the bat ahead of the 2019 World Cup after giving up the Pakistan one-day captaincy to be replaced by Sarfraz Ahmed.
Dubai: Azhar Ali said on Friday he was desperate to resurrect his fortunes with the bat ahead of the 2019 World Cup after giving up the Pakistan one-day captaincy to be replaced by Sarfraz Ahmed.
The 31-year-old was already facing calls for his head following Pakistan's dismal 4-1 series loss in Australia last month but on Thursday he offered his resignation from the high-pressure job to Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan.
"I want to focus more on batting," Ali told AFP. "That's why I also left the Test vice-captaincy as this is the right time to further improve my batting."
Ali managed just 37 runs in the three one-day internationals he played in Australia while he missed two matches through injury.
"I am honoured to have led Pakistan. I tried my best but results did not come," added Azhar, who was surprisingly appointed after Misbah-ul-Haq quit ODIs following Pakistan's quarter-final exit at the 2015 World Cup.
He was not even part of the one-day team for 15 months before being made captain. His tenure was also marred by being blanked 3-0 for the first time by neighbours Bangladesh.
Overall, he skippered Pakistan in 31 matches, losing 18 and winning 12 with one no result.
That period also saw Pakistan drop as low as ninth in the one-day rankings.
Their current ranking is eighth and they face the threat of losing out on direct qualification for the 2019 Wold Cup in England.
The top seven teams – plus hosts England on the cut-off date of September 30 this year will get direct entry to the World Cup. The four remaining teams will play a qualifying round in 2018.
Ali said it was time to move on in his career.
"It was like swimming against the tide which was not correct. I think this is not the right team to seek the captaincy or vice-captaincy."
Pakistan's next assignment is a three-match one-day series in the West Indies followed by two Twenty20 internationals and three Tests.
Oman and Papua New Guinea will get the mega event underway on Sunday in Al Amerat (Oman).
India vs England, T20 World Cup warm-up match, Live Updates: Chris Jordan to bowl. too straight from Jordan, and it's in the perfect slot for Hardik, who drills it between mid-off and extra cover for four! Great start to the over for India. Good ball, almost wide but not quite and it's a dot. Low full toss into Pandya's knees. He could have taken the single, but he chooses to stay on strike. Oh, very poor delivery from Jordan. That was wide and high, and it also ran away for four without making any contact with Pandya's bat. Free hit signalled. Pandya gets a huge edge on it, and that's four! It flies over short third man! Another low full toss, and the India duo run a double. Oh my word, a no ball now, and Pandya takes a single. Terrible over this from Jordan. Pant to face a free hit now. India just need 3 from 7 balls. Pant could end it now. It's a six and India win by seven wickets!!
Willey, who had been left out of England's 2019 ODI World Cup squad, has since fought back to regain his place in the side and he could now feature in the team's T20 World Cup opener against the West Indies in Dubai on Saturday.