Cricket

Published on January 28th, 2017 | by Bhaskar Ganekar

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Will PCB sack Azhar Ali from his role?

Azhar Ali has been handy with his bat since his new role as the ODI captain for Pakistan, but his leading ability has not been up to the mark. Pakistan have slipped to ninth spot in the ICC ODI team ranking during his tenure; worst for a team since the ranking system was introduced.

He might be Pakistan’s one of the leading scorers in ODI and Test, but he is not good enough to lead his team. Yes, Azhar Ali finds himself in such a tough situation after a 4-1 drubbing against Australia in ODI series. Since his new responsibility, he has the worst records among skippers, who led Pakistan in ODIs from 2010. Let’s have a look at Pakistan’s performance since Azhar Ali handed captaincy right after World Cup 2015 when Misbah-ul-Haq retired as the captain from ODIs.

Worst performance among top teams

Azhar Ali was not part of the ICC World Cup 2015 and was handed the new role by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in fact, he had played last ODI back in 2013. His consistence Test performance and good form in the List A matches forced PCB to give this role to Azhar Ali. But his form failed to create an impact on his team as Pakistan continued to slip downwards.

Pakistan’s ODI performance since WC 2015

Team Mat Won Lost Tied NR W/L
Australia 40 25 14 0 1 1.785
South Africa 28 17 10 0 1 1.7
Bangladesh 21 13 8 0 0 1.625
England 36 20 13 1 2 1.538
India 27 15 12 0 0 1.25
New Zealand 32 17 14 0 1 1.214
Sri Lanka 30 12 14 1 3 0.857
Pakistan 34 14 19 0 1 0.736
Zimbabwe 36 9 24 1 2 0.375
West Indies 17 4 12 1 0 0.333

Pakistan have won only five 2-team ODI series out of ten series played under Azhar Ali, two against Zimbabwe, one each against Ireland, Sri Lanka and West Indies. Overall, Pakistan won 12 games and lost 18 games.

Pakistan’s series wise performance under Azhar Ali’s tenure

Opposition Mat Won Lost Tied NR Start Date Winner
Bangladesh 3 0 3 0 0 17-Apr-15 Bangladesh
Zimbabwe 3 2 0 0 1 26-May-15 Pakistan
Sri Lanka 5 3 2 0 0 11-Jul-15 Pakistan
Zimbabwe 3 2 1 0 0 1-Oct-15 Pakistan
England 4 1 3 0 0 11-Nov-15 England
New Zealand 2 0 2 0 0 25-Jan-16 New Zealand
Ireland 1 1 0 0 0 18-Aug-16 Pakistan
England 5 1 4 0 0 24-Aug-16 England
West Indies 3 3 0 0 0 30-Sep-16 Pakistan
Australia 5 1 4 0 0 13-Jan-17 Australia


Poor performance among Pakistani captains

For the first time in 2015, when Azhar Ali led his team in ODIs, Pakistan had three different captains – Misbah-ul-Haq for Tests, Shahid Afridi for T20Is (then) and Azhar Ali for ODIs. In a statement by PCB chief Shaharyar Khan state that they had culture of keeping single captain across formats and having three different captains lowers standard of Pakistan cricket. Since 2010, Azhar Ali’s performance as an ODI captain is worst among the list. Below figures tell you why he has given to Pakistan in his role.

Pakistan’s ODI record since 2010 (List of Captains)

Captain Span Mat Won Lost Tied NR W/L
Shahid Afridi 2010-2014 37 18 18 0 1 1
Misbah-ul-Haq 2011-2015 86 44 39 2 1 1.128
Azhar Ali 2015-2017 31 12 18 0 1 0.666


Individual performance not good enough

Azhar Ali has been handy with his bat for Pakistan in Tests, scoring triple hundred against England last year at Dubai and a double hundred against Australia at MCG on the Boxing Day Test. He is also the second highest run getter for Pakistan since World Cup 2015. But his performance was good enough to lift Pakistan in ODI series, especially in overseas games.

Most runs for Pakistan since World Cup 2015

Player Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave SR 100 50
Babar Azam 23 23 1 1168 123 53.09 90.54 4 6
Azhar Ali 31 31 0 1153 102 37.19 79.9 3 5
Shoaib Malik 28 28 9 1058 112 55.68 101.73 1 7
Mohammad Hafeez 27 27 1 985 103 37.88 82.42 2 6
Sarfraz Ahmed 28 24 3 865 105 41.19 90.67 1 5
Sharjeel Khan 14 14 0 618 152 44.14 130.37 1 5
Mohammad Rizwan 25 22 6 460 75* 28.75 89.84 0 3
Imad Wasim 18 14 5 332 63* 36.88 97.93 0 3
Ahmed Shehzad 10 10 0 298 95 29.8 78.01 0 1
Haris Sohail 5 5 2 288 89* 96 96.64 0 4

The PCB has been thinking of removing Azhar Ali since Pakistan’s 4-1 defeat against England last year. Shaharyar Khan had asked Azhar to consider stepping down. Azhar decided to stay on and led Pakistan to a 3-0 whitewash against West Indies in the UAE. That win left no choice for PCB to retain Azhar for the Australia tour. However, PCB will have to reconsider Azhar’s place in the team as captain and it will be interesting to see what they do in near future.

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mm

is a sports journalist from India who specializes in cricket stats.



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