Performance against the formidable Australia means Azhar can perform against anyone: Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram
Former Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram arrives to attend the drafting of players for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Lahore on December 22, 2015. (Photo credit ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Pakistan captain and fast bowling legend Wasim Akram lauded opener Azhar Ali’s record-breaking effort and congratulated him for his superb knock of 205* against Australia at the MCG. Akram, while talking to PTV news, stated that this knock will help his confident go high and he would be at ease against other opposition after taming the Australians.

“This innings has restored Azhar’s confidence in his technique. He will now be confident that if he can perform against a formidable opponent like Australia, he can perform against anyone. Obviously when you don’t perform people will criticize,” he added.

Akram disagreed with Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shahryar Khan’s recent comments regarding Azhar Ali, He said that a person sitting at such a high position should probably refrain from making such comments at the first place. And, even if wishes to criticize a player, he shouldn’t do during an ongoing series as it badly affects the team’s morale.

Shahryar Khan had categorically stated earlier this month that the future of ODI captain Azhar Ali was dependent on the overall team performance in the series against Australia.

“We are more than happy with Azhar as a player, human being and a person,” the PCB chairman had said in an interview to a sports website. “But his leadership skills have not given us confidence and his place in ODI side is on shaky ground,” he had added.

One common and very exciting aspect of Pakistan batting order in the past three innings has been the tail enders desire to bat and contribute as much as they can. Akram pointed out that the lower order, the less capable batsmen, perform and try fighting back when the team spirit is high.

“When tailenders put up a good fight it shows that the team has spirit,” the former captain said, adding that the tailenders had managed to put pressure on Australia.

On speculations surrounding a possible retirement decision by Misbah-ul-Haq, the ‘Swing ka Sultan’ defending Misbah and said that the decision would be entirely left upon the Pakistan skipper.

“It’s his decision to make. He is the fittest player in the entire team,” Wasim said, adding that the Test captain’s current bad form was not something to worry about. Every batsman has a bad patch. No batsman can score every single time,” he said.