The Pakistan Cricket Board have denied rumours that the country’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, wants Azhar Ali to be removed as Pakistan Test captain, as reported by renowned journalist, Saj Sadiq.

News channels in the country reported earlier this week that Wasim Akram had raised concerns about Ali’s leadership before asking the similarly unimpressed Khan to recommend a change of skipper.

However, that theory has since been rubbished by the PCB.

Azhar Ali took over as Pakistan Test captain from Sarfaraz Ahmed in October 2019 prior to the tour of Australia.

It was a baptism of fire for the top-order batsman who led his relatively inexperienced side to consecutive heavy defeats against Tim Paine’s dominant Aussies.

Australia v Pakistan - 2nd Test: Day 3
Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Better times followed for Ali on home soil, though, as Pakistan triumphed 1-0 in a two-Test series against Sri Lanka in December 2019, before hammering Bangladesh in a one-off Test in Rawalpindi in February of this year.

The global health crisis ensured no fixtures were completed for several months before he led his men into battle on their recent tour of England.

It’s always a big ask for any away side to come to the UK in search of wins and they proved elusive for Azhar Ali and co, as Pakistan lost the rain-affected three-match series 1-0.

In the first Test, the visitors snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and fingers were rightly pointed at the 35-year-old’s defensive field settings and negative body language as contributing factors to the defeat.

However, he did bounce back in the final Test of the series, showing remarkable strength of character with a first-innings knock of 141* against a potent English attack.

England v Pakistan: Day 3 - Third Test #RaiseTheBat Series
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Ali also showed a willingness to lead from the front with his offer to open the batting for the follow-on innings before bad light halted play.

Without his heroics at the Ageas Bowl, there’s little doubt his side would have succumbed to another defeat.

Azhar Ali must work on becoming a more proactive captain but it seems like the Pakistan Cricket Board are prepared to give him time to grow into the role as some of the world’s top teams prepare to tour the country over the coming years.

Related Topics