Lahore: It’s been learnt that Azhar Ali’s name has come up as an opener for the test series against England. Since the test squad lacks experienced openers and Muhammad Hafeez’s fitness remains doubtful, an alternate plan is under consideration. The final decision will be made after consulting head coach Mickey Arthur.
As per details the announced squad for England tour is carrying a weak openers section. Muhammad Hafeez’s fitness still remains a question mark as he was late in joining the skills camp and was unable to attend the Kakul Academy camp earlier. Among other openers Shan Masood who played against England last year in the UAE series was seen quite uncomfortable facing bouncy deliveries. Sami Aslam made his debut against Bangladesh playing test only and remained unsuccessful. According to sources, Azhar Ali is being considered to open for Pakistan watching England’s tough conditions and difficult pitches.
If Muhammad Hafeez is also available, Pakistan could utilize both its experienced openers. Azhar opens for One-Day matches and has practiced in the skills camp keeping in mind to play as an opener. “I am ready to take this responsibility” said Azhar Ali in a press conference. In case Azhar Ali is utilized as an opener in the test series, then Iftikhar Ahmad could be tested in the middle order and used as an additional spinner benefiting the team. It may be noted, there is no real all-rounder in the test squad at present and Iftikhar is capable of filling this gap to a certain extent.