Azhar Ali AFP
Azhar Ali AFP

Rashid Latif, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter spoke in detail about the side’s star player Azhar Ali, insisting that he is one of the best human beings in the country’s cricket fraternity.

Pakistan is currently taking on Sri Lanka in the second and final Test of the series in Galle. The Babar Azam-led side had secured a brilliant four-wicket win over the hosts in the first Test at the same venue, as Abdullah Shafique produced a magnificent performance in the second innings. The opener remained unbeaten on 160 as he steered Pakistan to a record 342-run chase at the venue.

Rashid Latif Screengrab: YouTube
Rashid Latif Screengrab: YouTube

Rashid Latif: ‘One Of The Best Human Beings’ Azhar Ali Didn’t Complain After Being Removed As ODI And Then Test Skipper

There have been a number of new faces in the Pakistan squad for the tour; however, in the ongoing game, the side made a big change in the XI as veteran batter Fawad Alam replaced another senior, Azhar Ali. The former Pakistan captain, who has represented the Pakistan side in 95 Tests, had a poor outing in the first Test as he registered scores of 3 and 6.

After the playing XI was announced on Saturday, former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Rashid Latif spoke in detail about the decision and lauded Azhar Ali for his positive influence in the dressing room despite facing the axe.

“Many players retired while waiting for a chance. Sometimes, good players didn’t get a chance, and some players were given a longer rope which wasn’t justified. But it’s the system, and we have become too comfortable with it,” said Rashid Latif.

Azhar Ali And Fawad Alam Photo: AFP
Azhar Ali And Fawad Alam Photo: AFP

“When we talk about Azhar Ali, he’s one of the best human beings. He has played at no.3, no.4, and as an opener. He was named the captain in ODIs and was removed later. He didn’t complain. Then, he was named the captain in Tests and they removed him there as well. Again, he didn’t complain,” Rashid Latif said on his official YouTube channel.

Rashid Latif further said that Azhar Ali played a major role in getting together the Pakistan side after the retirements of stalwarts Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.

“Many players do react. But he remained quiet. It’s a positive sign. It is important to have such players in the dressing room. After the retirements of Misbah and Younis, there was a big gap in that dugout. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafique did their best to fill that,” said Rashid Latif.

Pakistan won the first Test in Galle by chasing a mammoth 342 runs on the back of Abdullah Shafique’s unbeaten 160. They lead the series 1-0 as the Men in Green headed into the second Test without Azhar Ali and pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Sri Lanka Scored 378 runs Batting First In The 2nd Test

Meanwhile, speaking about the second Test, Sri Lanka scored 378 runs batting first after contributions from almost everyone in the batting order. Dinesh Chandimal top-scored with 80 while Angelo Mathews in his 100th Test scored a patient 42. Pakistan is struggling at 191/7 trailing the island nation still by 187 runs.

Dinesh Chandimal
Dinesh Chandimal (Credits: Twitter)

Salman Agha top scored for Pakistan with 62 while Sri Lankan spinner Ramesh Mendis picked 3/42. Salman Agha waged a lone battle, scoring 62 runs. But his maiden Test fifty did not help Pakistan as they stare at a big first-innings deficit. On Day 2 stumps Pakistan could only manage 191/7, still trailing Sri Lanka by 187 runs. Ramesh Mendis was the pick of the bowlers, bagging three wickets while Prabath Jayasuriya scalped two wickets.

Day 2 : Stumps: Sri Lanka 378 (Chandimal 80, Oshada 50, Naseem Shah 3-63, Yasir Shah 3/83) vs Pakistan 191/7 (Agha 62, Imam Ul Haq 32, Rames Mendis 3/42)