In first-class, List A and T20 cricket, Azhar has picked up a combined tally of 132 wickets.
Veteran Pakistan cricketer Azhar Ali said that he found it tough to convince people that he could become a specialist batsman after starting his career as a bowler. The 36-year-old Azhar, who’s also a former national skipper, has been a prolific run-scorer for Pakistan over the years, though he hasn’t played a lot of white-ball cricket in his career.
Azhar honed his skills as a leg-break bowler during age-group cricket and made his first-class debut in 2001-02 as a tweaker as well. However, as time went by, he failed to shine in bowling and hence, shifted to becoming a specialist batter.
Azhar said that it took him to make people realise that he could succeed as a specialist batter. He made the revelations while speaking on a video released by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
I struggled and I thought my cricket career had finished: Azhar Ali
“I played for Pakistan Under-19, under 17 and most of my cricket was as a bowler. My first-class debut was as a bowler and I played as a bowler in the first 11 matches but as soon as I entered the first-class cricket, my action changed and my bowling saw a dip,” Azhar said.
“I struggled and I thought my cricket career had finished. At that time, I started working on my batting but still when a player has developed (as a bowler) nobody really believes right away that you could play as a batsman only. So that process was difficult and breaking into the side as a batsman was hard,” he stated.
In first-class, List A and T20 cricket, Azhar has picked up a combined tally of 132 wickets in 432 matches with five-wicket hauls. In fact, he also has 12 wickets for Pakistan from 140 games. Once Azhar started tasting success as a batter, he didn’t look back.
“I got an opportunity in the end and I was lucky to get a chance for KRL. In one match, they played me as a batsman and I was able to score runs and after that, they saw my potential and then I started to get opportunities regularly,” Azhar added.
Playing for Pakistan, Azhar has scored 6579 and 1845 runs in 87 Tests and 53 ODIs respectively with 21 centuries and 45 half-centuries.