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What's Azhar Ali done to become ODI Captain?

Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Mercenary, Apr 16, 2015.

What's Azhar Ali done to become ODI Captain?

Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Mercenary, Apr 16, 2015.

by Abdul Habib
Apr 16, 2015 at 8:49 PM
  1. Mercenary
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    Mercenary The Lone Wolf

    Dec 17, 2009
    16,711

    azhar-ali-pakistan-captain.png

    Ever since Azhar Ali was announced as the new ODI Captain for Pakistan, there's been a lot of talk about his limited overs strike rate and about how he lacks the captaincy credentials to have even been considered for the job in the first place. To be completely honest, when I first heard the news, I raised an eyebrow myself. It's not that I dont like what I've seen of Azhar Ali as a player in Test Matches. He's stoic in the face of (often unjustified) criticisms of his batting style, he's confident in his ability to occupy the crease and he consistently grinds the opposition bowlers down allowing the other batsmen to take advantage.

    Despite being a fan of Azhar as a Test player, I still have reservations about his Test batting. Not because he bats slow, that's not an issue. There's room in Test Cricket for those who bat slow. What I struggle with his Azhar's lack of strike rotation. I really wish that he would just learn to drop the ball at his feet or dab it down leg and run a quick single to the other end. Is it really that hard to do for an international batsman?

    It's with those reservations, about Azhar's batting strike rate in mind that I mulled over the news about Azhar becoming Pakistan's ODI Captain. Like many Pakistan fans, the first thing I did was to check his ODI batting strike rate which is a very disappointing 64.8. Things weren't looking good.

    His last ODI was played in the first few days of 2013 which means that he'd been appointed captain of an ODI team that he hadn't even played in for over 2 years! Three words came to mind, classic PCB blunder!

    So I decided to check what Azhar had been doing in domestic one day cricket since his last ODI game for Pakistan. I wanted to see what to expect from Azhar in the ODI arena. Whilst it's true that Pakistani List A Cricket is leagues behind the standard of International Cricket, it's still the only indicator we have of a batsman's form and scoring rate until he actually plays international cricket.

    Azhar Ali has played in 5 List A series and batted in 25 inns since his last ODI appearance for Pakistan, these are his batting stats...

    25 inns. 1384 runs @ 55.36 avg. 81.3 SR. 4x 100. 8x 50. 126x 4. 12x 6.

    I'm impressed.

    Over the last two years and 25 inns, Azhar has a batting average of 55.36 and a strike rate of 81.3. Even more impressive is the fact that he has 12 fifty plus scores, that's 50 or more runs in every second game.

    Ok Azhar I thought, you've got my attention. Maybe you are worth giving a chance to but how do these figures break down? I noticed that Azhar hadn't played any List A games between April 2013 and November 2013. There were 12 games before mid 2013 and 13 games after mid 2013. But what caught my attention was the difference in Azhar's batting stats before mid 2013 and after mid 2013.

    It looked like the stats belonged to two different players. Let me shows you what I mean....

    12 inns. 679 runs @ 56.58 avg. 73.6 SR. 1x 100 5x 50. 55x 4 4x 6 (Before Mid 2013

    13 inns. 705 runs @ 54.23 avg. 90.4 SR. 3x 100. 3x 50. 71x 4 8x 6 (After mid 2013)

    Both sets of stats have an impressive batting average in the mid-50s and 6 scores of fifty plus. But there was a huge difference in the strike rate, so huge is the difference that you'd be forgiven for thinking the two sets of stats belonged to two entirely different players. The first set of stats could easily be identified with the Azhar Ali we know and are familiar with, no-one would protest. The average is good but the strike rate is well below the modern standard of 80.

    But if I hadn't seen the stats for myself, you would have found it impossible to convince me (or any Pakistan fan) that the second set of stats with a batting average of 54 AND a strike rate of over 90 belonged to Azhar Ali. In fact I'd be reminding you that April the 1st was 15 days ago and that maybe you should look for someone a little less savvy in his cricketing knowledge to play your jokes on.

    But it's there in black and white. Admittedly it's only Azhar's last 13 List A games but it shows that he is capable of batting at a modern strike rate. It also seems to show that this is something that he's been working on in his last two List A series.

    So suddenly there seems to be a logic behind his selection. I guess it makes sense for Azhar to be recalled to the ODI team in order to fill the void left by the joint retirement of Misbah and Afridi. We need a dependable bat and we need to stop the top order collapses. As an opening batsman Azhar fits both moulds and is as good a choice as any of the untested alternatives but what about the ODI Captaincy?

    I can understand recalling him to the ODI team in the absence of Misbah but why make him Captain? Why not Fawad or Sarfaraz?

    I can buy the argument that Sarfaraz might be a little too young or a little too new at the international stage but what about Fawad? I cant think of any good reason for excluding Fawad, in fact it should have been Fawad but maybe there's a good reason for giving it to Azhar?

    Since his last ODI for Pakistan, Azhar has been captain in 16 List A games, these are his batting stats below...

    16 inns. 822 runs @ 51.34 avg. 83.5 SR . 3x 100. 5x 50. 82x 4 7x 6. 11 wins. 5 losses. - As Captain

    These stats are a little more sedate than his stats post mid 2013. His average is 3 runs lighter and his strike rate is 7 points lower but I actually prefer that because these figures look a little more realistic to me. I cant see Azhar blazing away at a strike rate of more than 90 at the international level but I can totally buy Azhar having a high average and a useful strike rate around 80.

    Once again he has scores of 50+ in every second game and his conversion rate of 50s to 100s is very good. 3 centuries as Captain is a good omen for the future and if he can replicate his winning percentage of 68% at international level then Pakistan would be winning more ODI series than they'd be losing.

    Looking through Azhar's stats had been more therapeutic than I'd bargained for. I'm starting to feel a little more optimistic about Azhar's inclusion in the ODI team. Maybe the PCB has made another one of their golden blunders, resulting in an unexpected bonus for Pakistan cricket.

    Maybe Waqar and Misbah do know what they're talking about and identified Azhar's form and captaincy potential in the same way I have above. If that's true then they really should have been playing him in ODIs for the last year at least but we cant change the past so let's look to the future.

    Only time will tell if Azhar was the right choice as Pakistan's ODI Captain but I'm happy to support him, not only because I would support any Pakistan Captain but because his List A stats for the last two years are impressive enough to earn him that backing.

    I'm not expecting him to transition his List A form into International form overnight. Given his two year absence from ODIs, I'm willing to give him a year to get steady on his feet and to build a new ODI unit around him. Over the coming year I fully expect Azhar to fail regularly but if he can succeed as often as he fails and in the process, if he grow into a stronger captain and player each time, then Pakistani fans could be in for an exciting year of ODI cricket.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
Habib conducts player interviews and writes articles for Cricistan.
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Comments

Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Mercenary, Apr 16, 2015.

    1. CricketFan96
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      CricketFan96 Smooth Operator

      Aug 4, 2012
      4,860
      Azhar Ali becoming captain was a poor decision. Only in Pakistan will you see player who has such a terrible SR and hasn't played an ODI since 2 years being groomed captain. If he was performing consistently well in domestic, select him but why the hell would you make him captain.

      After 2011 world cup we groomed a 35+ year old as captain and now we're making another 30+ year old captain. Pakistan will never learn, not unless we get a fixed not-corrupt board who understand the technical part of cricket.
       
    2. Reverse Swing
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      Reverse Swing Talented

      Jul 30, 2013
      1,559
    3. SwingNSeam
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      SwingNSeam Boom Boom

      Sep 12, 2010
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    4. Top Spinner01
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      Top Spinner01 Tracer Bullet

      Feb 27, 2013
      7,515
      He can speak English :shrug
       
    5. SwingNSeam
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      SwingNSeam Boom Boom

      Sep 12, 2010
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      His SR and batting position in the team are a huge question mark. does he fit the opening position? will he be able to accelerate if he plays at #4? will he be able to accelerate anywhere?
       
    6. Raf Pragmatic
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      Raf Pragmatic Banned

      Jan 7, 2013
      4,321
      He is the ultimate Tuk tuk with no ODI skill at all.
       
    7. Mercenary
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      Mercenary The Lone Wolf

      Dec 17, 2009
      16,711
      I had reservations about his strike rate too but over the last 3 List A tournaments he's scored at a strike rate of 90 with an average of 54. That's not one match or a few matches or one tournament.

      That's 3 tournaments and 13 matches with 3 fifty plus scores, 3 of which are centuries. It's only List A cricket but for the 12 games before that in the same List A cricket (at the same level vs the same players) he was batting at a strike rate of 73.

      Something has changed in his attitude, I can only hope he can show that at international level too.
       
    8. Patriot
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      Patriot Kaptaan

      Oct 8, 2014
      26,189
      good work by Merc

      our typical jazbaati desi fans will always have their swords out no matter what

      Azhar is yet to captain his first match and already I told you so, mark ma word crap going on :fp :fp
       
    9. Kray_Jackson7
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      Kray_Jackson7 Youngsta Beauty

      Feb 24, 2015
      127
      He has the job and will be under the scope. While his stats don't make pleasant reading, it has been two years since his last ODI. Perhaps he has a changed approach, yes there is a change in his domestic performances and approach so maybe he has improved. Only time will tell, but i do think selecting him as captain in ODIs was a poor call.
       
    10. Flat_Track_Bully
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      Flat_Track_Bully Youngsta Beauty

      Apr 6, 2015
      36
      Doesn't say mashallah and inshallah in every sentence.

      The way some of our players speak, pure jahils.
       
    11. XYZ
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      XYZ Banned

      Sep 11, 2013
      4,527


      Nothing!

      If he had, he would have been in the team for the last 2 years. Everything get him selected as captain was done by Waqar, Misbah and Haroon "teaching a lesson" Rashid!

      But then again, even if Azhar had done anything - that would not have mattered anyway if Shehzad or Umar were complete yes-men to the captain and the coach and did not show the "attitude" which Misbah and Waqar keep referring to!
       
    12. Wistful Reminisces
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      Wistful Reminisces Banned

      Sep 21, 2012
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      Did you read?
       
    13. iHammad
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      iHammad Emerging Player

      Apr 2, 2010
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      Avoid controversy and make sensible statements in the media.
       
    14. Alchemy
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      Alchemy Smooth Operator

      Oct 8, 2014
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      All he has done to be the ODI captain is to show how much of a Yes man he is just like the former captain.
       
    15. Aman
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      Aman Formerly 'Zaros'

      May 13, 2014
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      Pakistan aren't exactly spoilt for choice are they?
       
    16. shahbaz
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      shahbaz Banned

      Oct 4, 2012
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      Najam sehti would be having good terms with his family
       
    17. Mercenary
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      Mercenary The Lone Wolf

      Dec 17, 2009
      16,711

      He was recommended by Waqar and Misbah. The outgoing Captain and the incumbent Coach.
       
    18. sabeeh
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      sabeeh Youngsta Beauty

      Feb 23, 2015
      49
      Excellent Post Mercenary!!!

      He should have never been dropped once he played SL series where he batted quiet well. Pakistan oneday team hardly played 50 overs in last year and he was the best batsman technically to play 2 new balls.

      He has been captaining domestic team and has been doing good job in both limited over and 4 day cricket.

      He is one of those guys who is hardworker. He need to learn to rotate strike against Spinners but i think he will learn that as well as i saw him batting quiet well against spinners against AUS in test series especially the sweep shot he started playing.

      He will do well Inshallah for himself and Pakistan!!!
       
    19. Invictus
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      Invictus Talented

      Feb 15, 2010
      1,236
      Do you guys watch the team play ? He is the only "normal" player we have playing right now. There were no other candidates besides him. Everyone in the playing 11 has "issues" behavioral/mental.
      You can't have someone captain a national team who can't even control themselves. Azhar was the most logical solution to the captaincy issue. You guys think captaining a team is all about gesturing and screaming and yelling on the ground. 50% of your captaincy happens off the field. You need mature and stable folks that handle all the media, bureaucracy and also manage the team and the egos.
       
    20. P.B
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      P.B Smooth Operator

      Sep 16, 2012
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      Led from the front. What was that about strike rate, you haters.
       
    21. Top Spinner01
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      Top Spinner01 Tracer Bullet

      Feb 27, 2013
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      already better than Misbah..100% strike rate
       
    22. Ahson8
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      Ahson8 Fantasy Draft Wins: 1

      Jun 9, 2012
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      Didn't like his captaincy though.
      Bowling part timer over part timer seriously cost us.
       
    23. Top Spinner01
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      Top Spinner01 Tracer Bullet

      Feb 27, 2013
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      His captaincy is worst than Misbah lol,he will have hard time following his own pattern of decisions :p ..
       
    24. Bilal123
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      Bilal123 Tracer Bullet

      Dec 11, 2010
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      Batting was sound, kept a good strike rate throughout. Needed him to player a lot longer than he did though. His rotation of bowlers was poor and cost many runs from part timers. Also Pakistan need to play 5 bowlers and the quicker this captain realises it the better.
       
    25. Alchemy
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      Alchemy Smooth Operator

      Oct 8, 2014
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      Led from the front with his pathetic captaincy. Another misbah.
       
    26. P.B
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      P.B Smooth Operator

      Sep 16, 2012
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      Captaincy will improve with time, there would have been some nerves as well. It's only his first match as captain, even if it is Bangladesh.

      Batting though was quite good too bad no Afridi this time to bail us out.
       
    27. P.B
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      P.B Smooth Operator

      Sep 16, 2012
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      Yep, it'll be him contributing and the rest making a meal out of it. Lol @ The Vice Captain and Fawad.
       
    28. AmmarAshraf
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      AmmarAshraf Talented

      Jun 12, 2012
      2,180
      His captaincy was very poor today...

      Give him some time.. as IK once said " Captaincy koi maa kay pait say sekh ker nahi ata Time kay saath sekhta hai banda "
       
    29. Alchemy
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      Alchemy Smooth Operator

      Oct 8, 2014
      3,082
      Vice captain has no role in Pakistan cricket. Its just a symbolic thing. So dont try to shift the blame on Sarf. What could Fawad do when his captain took some brilliant decisions on the field.


      Yep. Give him some good time. He is a good boy. ;)
       
    30. Alchemy
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      Alchemy Smooth Operator

      Oct 8, 2014
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      Nothing can justify the lost against Bangla for me. FFS we lost to them after what? More than a decade? This is soul crushing stuff.
       
    31. P.B
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      P.B Smooth Operator

      Sep 16, 2012
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      Fawad could have guided us home since now he's the main batsman in the middle order, and the vice captain should look to add more shots to his repertoire than sweeping right to the fielder.

      Azhar's captaincy is no excuse for Fawad not scoring runs.
       
    32. Alchemy
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      Alchemy Smooth Operator

      Oct 8, 2014
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      Who on earth plays their middle order batsman at the sixth position. I thought 3,4,5 are middle order. Azhar cant even figure out his batting line up. Players like hafeez should be played at 6th for lower order hitting. Everyone knows Fawad cant hit big then why this idiot put him on 6th position?
       
    33. P.B
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      P.B Smooth Operator

      Sep 16, 2012
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      No need to insult the player yaar.

      If Fawad can't hit big when the team needs him to then he shouldn't be in the side. Even Jadeja of India can strike the ball when needed. I agree with the Hafeez part, but it's not like he batted down the order when Misbah was captain anyway and he's done well at number 3 in the sub-continent, just unfortunate he got run out today.
       
    34. AmmarAshraf
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      AmmarAshraf Talented

      Jun 12, 2012
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      FFS it was his first match as captain.
       
    35. Alchemy
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      Alchemy Smooth Operator

      Oct 8, 2014
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      I dont know PB if its the same for you or not but irrespective of Azhar i feel horrible at the loss today. I just cant believe we lost the damn cry babies.

      If Fawad cant hit big then he shouldnt select him. Its he the captain. Not us.

      If he cant control hafeez then he should kick him out just like bad boy Shehzad.
       
    36. Alchemy
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      Alchemy Smooth Operator

      Oct 8, 2014
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      First or last. No captain has lost to Bangla in the last decade. Another feather in the hat of team misbah. First losing to zimbabve in tests. Now this. Brilliant stuff.
       
    37. P.B
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      P.B Smooth Operator

      Sep 16, 2012
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      I know how you feel. I wanted us to win so badly, especially when they started crying about that Haris referral.

      I want Fawad to prove me wrong and deserves a run for getting politicked out of the team many times. How hard can it be to hit the ball for six. Suryakumar Yadav can do it, why can't our Fawad. :(

      He was named in the report so about time I guess.
       
    38. Alchemy
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      Alchemy Smooth Operator

      Oct 8, 2014
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      Yeah man. Losing against Bangladesh in our life time? Who would have imagined. :'(

      I dont know man. Ask some of our playes on how hard it is to hold the damn bat and they wont be able to. Horrible stuff today.
       
    39. P.B
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      P.B Smooth Operator

      Sep 16, 2012
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      :lmao
       

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