Karachi: Former Pakistan captain and one of their premier batters Azhar Ali has decided to retire from Test cricket after the third and final match of the ongoing series against England starting here on Saturday.
The 37-year-old Azhar has so far scored 7097 runs from 96 Tests at an average of 42.49. He has 19 centuries and 35 fifties to his credit with unbeaten 302 against West Indies in a day-night game being his highest score in the format. He also has eight Test wickets to his name.
He has represented Pakistan in 53 ODIs and 49 T20Is, scoring 1895 and 985 runs respectively.
"It has been a great honour and privilege for me to represent my country at the highest level. Deciding on when to call it a day is always tough, but, after contemplating deeply, I realised that this is the right time for me to retire from Test cricket," Azhar said in a statement on Friday.
"There are many people who I am grateful to in this strenuous, yet beautiful journey. I want to make a special mention of my family without whose sacrifices; I would not have been where I am today. My parents, wife, siblings, and children have been my strength throughout." Azhar thanked all his teammates with whom he has shared a good on and off-field understanding.
"I have been blessed to share dressing room with some of the most outstanding cricketers with whom I share a strong bond. I feel much richer by calling these people my friends. I am also blessed to have played under some wonderful coaches to whom I will always remain grateful," Azhar said.
Starting as a wrist spinner, it was not easy to become Test batting line-up's mainstay for the better part of the 12 years.
"I retire from international cricket as a fulfilled cricketer who ticked most of the goals he had set for himself. Not many cricketers go on to lead their countries, and that I was able to captain Pakistan is a matter of great pride for me. From being a kid who started as a leg-spinner to becoming a mainstay in the Test batting line-up, I had the loveliest moments of my life that I will cherish forever," he signed off.
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