Azhar Ali announced retirement from One Day Internationals (ODIs) yesterday. The upper order batsman was named as Pakistan’s ODI captain right after the 2015 ICC World Cup. However, the move did not work and eventually, not only did Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) replace him with Sarfaraz Ahmed but they also had to give up on him completely as a white ball cricketer. Better late than never; here is a look at 3 reasons why Azhar Ali’s ODI retirement comes at the right time.
Back Up Options
Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq have settled well up the order for Pakistan in the ODIs. The emergence of Sahibzada Farhan, with Harris Sohail also capable to delivering the goods as an upper order batsman and with Sharjeel Khan likely to make a comeback next year following the end of his two year ban, there seems no room left for the 33 year old Azhar. Hence, there is no doubt whatsoever that he has made the right call at the right time.
No Place In Next World Cup Squad?
PCB is likely to finalize a pool of 25 to 30 cricketers for the next ICC World Cup with in the next few weeks. There was this high probability of Azhar not being part of it which obviously would have been embarrassing for the former ODI skipper. Thus, Azhar has done well to read the writing on the wall well before Pakistani selectors make the call and signal an end of the road scenario to him.
Test Place in Danger
Quite clearly Azhar’s game as a Test cricketer has gone down as he has had to make adjustments from one format to another. It is no secret that he is seriously out of form and a bad series away from losing his place in Pakistan’s playing eleven. Thus, now is the time for Azhar to focus completely on Test cricket so that he is able to prolong his international career.