Azhar: I'll repay the management's faith in my ability by Abdul Habib 20th August 2010 Pakistan wanted to try out new batting talent this summer and so they picked Azhar Ali and Umar Amin. Both batsmen have largely struggled but everyone seems to agree that Azhar has a certain something about him. Azhar came in on day 2 of the Oval test at the unfamiliar batting position of number 6. This was unfamiliar territory for a batsman who had been opening the innings for most of his career and who had played the last 3 Tests at number 3. But Azhar Ali adapted well and crafted a beautiful 92* to carry his bat into the second innings. Speaking exclusively to Cricistan.com, Azhar said "My emotions are a little mixed. On the one hand I'm a little disappointed about missing my century and not extending our first innings lead closer to 100 runs. But at the same time I'm really happy that I played a part in Pakistan taking a lead against England for the first time this series. I want to thank God because my faith has played a big part in helping to keep my confidence up despite the way I batted in the last two games. I also owe a lot to the Pakistan management team who have stuck with me and hopefully I have repaid their faith and will continue to do so." Azhar was full of praise for his batting partner Mohammad Yousuf revealing that Yousuf had been constantly talking to him and giving him advice. "When you walk out to the crease and see Mohammad Yousuf waiting for you then you immediately feel more relaxed. Yousuf bhai just soaks up the pressure and standing at the other end watching him play the bowlers without any trouble whatsoever made me more confident in my own skills too." Azhar told Cricistan.com When I asked Azhar what Yousuf had been telling him Azhar said that it was simple, uncomplicated advice on how to handle the pressure. "Yousuf bhai kept coming up to me and reminding me that it was important to be in control of my shots and the way to do that was to play close to my body. He also told me that I need to stay out there. He kept coming up to me and reassuring me and telling me how to deal with different bowlers." Azhar said to Cricistan.com But what sets Azhar apart is that he hasn't forgotten his batting partner Umar Amin. He stressed to me that I should include a mitigation of Umar Amin's performance on this tour so far. "I've heard a lot about how poor Pakistan's batting has been and I fully agree that we have been below par. However it's easy to forget just how difficult these pitches are. Even most of the English batsmen have struggled to score big runs and these are their home grounds. The weather conditions have played a big part in these games. Umar Amin is still very young and this is his first tour with Pakistan, he's a real talent and we shouldn't judge him based on these conditions where even Ponting and Pietersen have struggled." Azhar explained to Cricistan.com I'd like to thank Azhar for speaking to us and I wish him the best of luck for the rest of the series. With the 92* in this game, Azhar is now the leading run scorer for Pakistan and the only Pakistani batsman to average above 30 this summer! It's a shame he didn't get his century but I hope he manages it in the second innings.