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Quitting Pakistan captaincy not on my mind – Azhar Ali after criticism

Azhar Ali, the Pakistan cricket team skipper, has said the though of quitting the Test captaincy did not cross his mind after Pakistan lost a series against England for the first time in 10 years. Pakistan lost the first Test in Old Trafford by three wickets thanks to a great partnership between Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler while the two Tests in Southampton were impacted by rain and bad light which resulted in draws.

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Quitting Pakistan captaincy not on my mind – Azhar Ali after criticism
Azhar Ali had a poor first two Tests with the bat but bounced back in style with a magnificent 141 in the third Test in Southampton but Pakistan still lost the series 0-1 after a narrow three-wicket loss in Old Trafford.
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Azhar Ali became the first Pakistan captain to lose a Test series against England since 2010. The Pakistan cricket team arrived in England high on confidence and were dominating the first Test in Old Trafford but a match-winning stand between Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler denied them a win. In the second Test, rain and bad light spoiled the entire Test while in the third game, Zak Crawley’s 267 and James Anderson’s seven wickets, which included his 600th Test wicket, ensured England had finally broken their jinx against Pakistan. During the Old Trafford Test, there was criticism of Azhar Ali’s captaincy and there were calls for him to step down.

However, in the virtual press conference, Azhar Ali said there was no such thought in his mind that he would be quitting the Test captaincy of Pakistan. “There were tough times when we lost the first test, and it was blamed entirely on me. It was not easy but I focused only on how we could turn the series around, with my own performance and performance from the entire team. No such thought was in my consideration,” Azhar Ali, who smashed 141 in the third Test after a poor first two Tests, said.

Criticism since Old Trafford

Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler stitched a magnificent 139-run stand for the seventh wicket as England clawed back from defeat to register a close three-wicket win in the first Test at Old Trafford. In that match, former Pakistan skipper and bowler Wasim Akram criticised Azhar Ali’s captaincy by saying that he ‘missed a trick’.

“I think our captain missed a trick quite a few times in this game, as far as his leadership is concerned. When Woakes came in, there were no bouncers, no short deliveries, they let him settle down and runs were coming easy. We’ve got a 17-year-old (Naseem), who bowls 90mph, a 20-year-old (Shaheen Afridi), who is around 88mph, and they should be bowling a lot more overs - 18-20 overs each innings, no matter the situation,” Akram said. The criticism by Wasim Akram has not gone down well with the Pakistan players or with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The players argue that with Akram part of the PCB Cricket Committee, his comments should not be too harsh.

Pakistan will now play England in three Twenty20 Internationals in Old Trafford.

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