Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has revealed that Azhar Ali could open the batting during the upcoming two-Test series against England, which begins in May.
Sarfraz noted that with Azhar being a veteran player in the side and having opened in England in the past, he is likely to be slotted at the top of the order.
“We have just announced the players for the skills camp,” Sarfraz was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune. “We will try to send Azhar as the opener. He is somebody who has opened in England before and is an experienced player who has been the backbone of the Test side with his performances for the last four-five years. We will most likely experiment with Azhar as an opener.”
With Azhar set to occupy one of the opening spots, Sarfraz confirmed that Sami Aslam, Shan Masood and Fakhar Zaman will have to compete against each other for the two remaining spots for openers in the squad.
“We will be looking to take at least three possible opening combinations with us so that means we will have three openers,” Sarfraz said. “There is Shan, Sami and Fakhar has just been inducted into the squad. We will be consulting to see who we take with us.”
With the first Test against England scheduled to be held at Lord’s on May 24, Sarfraz admitted that he is excited about captaining his country in a Test match at the ‘Home of Cricket’.
“It was a special feeling walking out onto the Lord’s pitch for the first time,” he said. “It felt great to walk onto the ground that we had seen on TV for so long. I remember the 1999 World Cup and the Pakistan team in its balcony and I used to wonder why everyone talked about this ground so much.
“It was only when we went there that I understood that yes it is indeed special. I haven’t scored a Test century there but I scored one in a one day and it’s true that the ground has a special feeling to it.”
Meanwhile, the 30-year-old added that he will try to keep his emotion in check as he has been criticised for lashing out at his teammates as of late.
“Every player and captain wants to win,” Sarfraz said. “I get angry when I see the players deviating from our plan or when they aren’t putting in enough effort. Our players are very good and I want them to keep on performing at this level.
“I am learning on the job and will hopefully get better with time. I am trying to keep myself calm on the field and be more in control of my emotions.”