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April 10, 2020

Azhar backs idea of indoor Test cricket

Sports

April 10, 2020

LAHORE: Pakistan Test Captain Azhar Ali, showing satisfaction over the team’s performance, has asked players to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst following global pandemic.

In his videoconference with journalists here on Thursday, he backed the idea of playing Test cricket behind closed doors amidst prevailing circumstances and also urged for the postponement of the ICC Test Championship.

“We need to keep ourselves mentally and physically strong at this trying time. There is no problem if cricket played behind closed doors while keeping in mind the safety measures. The performance of our Test team is satisfactory. However, there is a need to strive to maintain consistency in the selection and final eleven Test squad.

He further stated that the players should be prepared for squeeze in pocket if no cricket is played. “If there is no cricket then the players should be prepared mentally for reduction in their salaries,” he added.

Azhar said that he is happy with young cricketers who are taking responsibility in Test Cricket. “You lead the team according to situation and according to resources available to you. You can’t place four slips in Dubai conditions. To call me defensive captain is a wrong perception, and I will try to change this mindset with my performance.” “There is no harm in delaying the final until all teams complete their Test championship cycle.”

“I am sure the final will be held only after all the teams get their due share of matches. Pakistan hardly plays eight Test matches in a year or maximum of ten.“There are a lot of challenges in Test cricket for Pakistan and viewing the current scenario if the gap gets long so there will be more problems,” Azhar said.

The pandemic has seen Pakistan delay its second Test against Bangladesh while its tour of England is also in the limbo. Furthermore, England’s tour to South Africa has already been called off.

Supporting the idea of playing cricket behind closed doors, Azhar said that it would be good for cricket-starved fans.

“Wahab and Amir have played a lot of Test cricket for Pakistan in past but I think after their absence, we got the opportunity to try out young bowlers and they performed. I am pretty satisfied with Shaheen Afridi] who has taken a leading role in the bowling attack,” he added.

On the fitness test, Azhar said that it would be difficult to properly assess the fitness level of the player through video but it will keep the players motivated. Azhar also expressed relief over Misbah's dual role as chief selector and head coach, saying that it also makes the captain's job easier. “If I need any player in the squad, it is easier for me to convince one person instead of going to head coach and chief selector separately,” he said.