The future for Pakistan test cricket looks bright as the captain to be, Azhar Ali has aggregated the most runs in test cricket over the past 12 months. Ali has scored 1538 runs in 29 innings of 15 tests between May 12, 2016 and May 12, 2017 surpassing Virat Kohli’s tally of 1503 runs in 25 innings of 16 test matches during the same period. He did so on day two of the third test against West Indies in Dominica just before raising his 14th test century. He had been in good form in the recently concluded test series against West Indies as he notched up two gritty centuries in trying conditions.
This season has been very fruitful for the right-handed batsman as it saw him score his maiden triple century in the first ever international day night test to be played by the team which was held in Dubai in October last year against the same opposition, West Indies. It was marathon 469 ball knock which helped his team pouch a test win in a closely contested match by 56 runs.
He did not have a particularly good tour to England but managed to score 139 runs in one of his innings in the four test matches he played. He also compiled a 49 run innings in a winning cause in the third test match. On the tour to Australia, although his team did not fare well losing both the test matches that were played, he accumulated 324 runs including a stellar double ton at MCG.
In a generation feeding off the T20 frenzy, Azhar Ali is one of those orthodox cricketers with a sound technique and is proving that a good test cricketer can do well in all formats of the game by chipping in with good performances regularly for Pakistan’s ODI team as well. After being dropped following his debut in international cricket and ignored for several years by the selectors, he kept on scoring runs in the domestic circuit to enforce a comeback to the national team in 2015 and has been a regular in the test and ODI squad since then.
Although the official word is not out yet, it is safe to assume that Azhar Ali will be handed the responsibility of captaining Pakistan’s test team following Misbah-ul-Haq’s retirement after an epic test match against West Indies that was concluded during the penultimate over of the match.