Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former England skipper Nasser Hussain has revealed that a slight technical adjustment in the way Pakistan captain Azhar Ali bats was the reason why he regained his form in the third Test against England.
Azhar, who was under pressure going into the match for his poor form with the bat, scored a superb 141, which came off 272 balls and included 21 boundaries.
In addition to praising Azhar for making the adjustment, Nasser also lauded the 35-year-old for his “incredible mental toughness”.
“All too often Azhar got his front leg in the way and was then falling over the crease with his bat coming down at a bad angle. So the bowlers have worked to get his leg across his stumps before producing a nip-backer that gets him plumb lbw,” Hussain wrote in his column for the Daily Mail as quoted by Cricket Pakistan.
“So there comes a time when, if you keep getting out the same way, you have to think ‘I’ve got to make an adjustment here’. Azhar has done that between the last Test and the start of this one and his slight adjustment has been moving his front foot out of the way in his stance, just by a couple of inches, and opening his hips up a bit.
“That means he has not been planting his leg in front of off-stump – instead it is in front of middle or middle and leg – and he has looked a lot more confident when England have been targeting those pads.
“People will say ‘if it is that simple and he can score a century now why didn’t he do this before?’ but it is not that straightforward. Firstly it doesn’t feel natural at first to change something that has served you well everywhere else throughout your career. And also any change you make can then lead to other forms of dismissal.
“Azhar also only made a very small alteration but it’s amazing the difference it has made in both innings of this last Test. Most of all, he has shown incredible mental toughness at a time when his captaincy has been questioned and his side have been struggling.”