Pakistan captain Azhar Ali remained unfazed amid all the criticism he was facing for his own and the team's performances after Pakistan lost the first Test against England in Manchester. He said the thought of quitting as the captain did not even cross his mind.
“No, I remained focussed on this series. This consideration never entered my mind. Yes, there was pressure but I was focussed on my performances,” Azhar Ali told reporters when asked if he wanted to quit as captain during the series.
In addition to Pakistan losing the first Test, Azhar Ali’s own run drought had brought his position under scrutiny. People all over the world started saying Azhar Ali’s performance should not let him be the first name on the team sheet.
“After we lost the first Test, as captain I had to bear the pressure and criticism. But I vowed to turn it around with my performances and the amount of experience we had in our team management also helped us get over the first Test defeat and move on,” Azhar Ali added.
Azhar Ali’s third Test heroics
Not only did Pakistan escape defeat in the last two Tests in Southampton, but Azhar Ali was also back amongst the runs. He scored an unbeaten 141 in the first innings of the third Test and a gritty 114-ball 31 in the second innings to save his team from suffering a defeat.
For the record, Pakistan saved a Test match after being enforced the follow-on for the first time in 26 years, with the last such instance coming in 1994 against Australia in Rawalpindi.
Nonetheless, the first Test loss meant England won a Test series against Pakistan for the first time since 2010. The two sides will now square up for a three-match T20I series starting from August 28.