Former Pakistan captain Azhar Ali calls it a day on ODI career

Former Pakistan captain Azhar Ali has announced his retirement from ODI cricket. The 33-year-old wants to focus only on Test cricket and hence called it quits from ODIs to prolong his Test career. Azhar’s last appeared for Pakistan in white-ball cricket was against New Zealand in January. The opener has never played dT20Is for his nation.

“It is not a decision that I have taken suddenly. I had been considering this for quite some time. I think the time is right for me to focus on Test cricket. This is my personal decision for the betterment of my career” he told reporters.
Pakistan fans across the globe fondly remember Azhar for the vital part he played in his country’s 2017 ICC Champions Trophy triumph. The right-hander scored 228 runs at an average of 45.60 including a 59 against India in the final.

However, Azhar has found it difficult to retain a place in Pakistan’s ODI squad primarily due to the rise of Imam-ul-Haq who has scored three centuries and three half-centuries in 10 innings since July. The 33-year-old top order batsman has a disastrous spell as the skipper of the national team. Under his leadership, Pakistan slipped to 9th in the ODI rankings and won just four of the ten bilateral series.

Azhar will finish his ODI career with 53 matches and 1845 runs at an average of 36.90. He has also scored three centuries and 12 half-centuries.

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