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Azhar Ali needs a settled role in the test match side

Fakhar's brilliant start provides the team management with added option

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Inzamam as captain always preferred batting at 5. Although his early career he did bat up the order, he was extremely reluctant to do so once he gained the ‘senior player’ status. Especially during his captaincy tenure there were calls for the experienced trio Inzamam, Yousuf and Younus to bat 3, 4 and 5. Imran Khan was a television expert in those days called for the captain to take responsibility. By this he meant bat at 3. Pointing was his example. I batted at 3 in the World Cup final and see what happened was his other go to.

But Inzamam has his own way of doing things. He either didn’t see much of the opening talent available or simply didn’t see the position as important. It included a number of non-openers like Yasir Hameed, Shahid Afridi, Shoiab Malik, Younis Khan, Ijaz Ahmed, and Faisal Iqbal as openers. In 122 games under Inzamam, the most games played by an opener were by Imran Farhat at 22. His average was 24. That reflected his thinking towards the quality and perhaps the need of having proper openers.

When made chief selector, he tinkered with Azhar Ali’s position and he moved up a position. He did alright as an opener in away tour without setting the world alright. But he has been shifted from opening to three depending on the team composition and the conditions. It perhaps showed on Azhar Ali, as we have seen a recent blip in 2018 from his high standards. Perhaps, Azhar Ali needs to nail a position and stick to it. It can be as an opener or at 3. Inzamam ul Haq needs to find a partner for his nephew especially for South Africa. It can be Mohammad Hafeez. Fakhar has put his hand up in this current Test. Perhaps that is the way to go.

the authorAsjad Khan