Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali, on Thursday, announced his retirement from One-Day Internationals. The right-handed batsman announced his decision in a press conference at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
The 33-year old said that he did not take the decision in a rush and now wants to focus solely on Test cricket.
“It is not a decision that I have taken suddenly,” he told reporters. “I had been considering this for quite some time. I think the time is right for me to focus on Test cricket.
“This is my personal decision for the betterment of my career,” he added.
Azhar last played an ODI earlier this year during the tour of New Zealand.
The former Pakistan skipper debuted in ODIs in the second of the two-match series against Ireland in 2011. He also became the skipper of the side in 2015 but failed to justify the decision. It was a controversial move as he had not played ODI cricket for almost 2 years at the time of his appointment. His captaincy career started in the worst possible manner as Bangladesh registered a historic 3-0 whitewash win over the Men in Green.
Under Azhar’s leadership, Pakistan’s slipped to a record-low ninth in the ODI rankings. They somehow made it to the Champions Trophy in 2017 as the lowest-ranked team in the 8-team competition.
Pakistan won only five out of ten bilateral series under Azhar, two of them against Zimbabwe, and one each against Ireland, Sri Lanka and West Indies. In all, Pakistan won 12 and lost 18 games under him. He eventually stepped down after Pakistan lost an ODI series by 4-1 in Australia.
Overall, he played 53 ODIs, scoring 1,845 runs at an average of 36.9, including three centuries and 12 half-centuries. One of the finest moments in his ODI career came last year when he helped Pakistan lift the Champions Trophy. Azhar scored 228 runs to finish the competition as Pakistan’s second highest run-scorer.
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