Experienced Pakistani opener and former One-day International skipper, Azhar Ali is in the saddle – to feature in the county cricket. He is in readiness to make the first appearance as he has signed up with prominent English County club Somerset following the injury of Matt Renshaw.
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Deal with Somerset:
Azhar Ali signed a deal of seven matches with Somerset that will take him through the end of the season.
Ali, who has a phenomenal average of 51.30 along with three centuries in the championship before injuring his finger against Surrey.
He had been in the eyes of Somerset since the end of Pakistan test tour in May.
The injured Renshaw was himself a replacement of his teammate, Cameron Bancroft. The latter was suspended after he was found guilty in Sandpaper controversy in Cape Town earlier this year.
A bad patch:
Ali had a barren patch in the series against Ireland. He just managed to score 73 in the three-match series. However, he made a fine comeback and slammed a fifty in the famous chase for Pakistan at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s.
Mickey Arthur on Azhar Ali:
There is no second opinion that the Pakistani head coach, Mickey Arthur is enjoying his presence. He took some hard-hitting decision to maintain discipline and fitness issues in Pakistan.
While backing Ali, Arthur said he has been strongly encouraged to seek out a deal in county cricket. Arthur feels it is the need of an hour for the senior members to get an ample time in the off-season.
“Azhar will tell you himself he was a little short this tour,” Arthur told ESPNcricinfo.
As Pakistan is scheduled to play against New Zealand and Australia in October and November respectively, it will certainly prove beneficial for Ali to gain his form. It will also help him to extrapolate the conditions.
“But he is a quality player – Azhar playing well is in the top 10 Test batsmen in the world,” Arthur said.