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Pakistan will whitewash West Indies in Test series: Azhar Ali

LAHORE: Pakistan middle order batsman Azhar Ali believes that his team will create history by whitewashing hosts West Indies in the forthcoming two-match Test series. In an interview with German Radio Deutsche Welle, Azhar said that this was the best chance for Pakistan to beat the West Indies in their backyard for the first time in the longer version of the game. “Pakistan have been doing well in the last few series. We have fought back through both our bowling and batting from difficult situations in recent Test matches overseas which is a sign of good team. While the West Indies are struggling at the moment, and this is a big opportunity for us to win both Test matches,” he added.

Azhar, 26, who has scored six fifty plus scores in 10 Test matches played so far for his country, now eyes on his maiden hundred on this tour. “I feel a bit of pressure of not scoring hundred so far but in this series I will try my level best to pass that magic three figure mark by extending my game and playing just normal cricket. I would to love to score 100 both in Guyana and Stt Kitts.”

There was a time when the batsmen from the subcontinent were scared to travel to Caribbean to face the West Indies lethal bowling attack but Azhar thinks now the time has changed because the West Indies bowling is not as hostile as it used to be plus the wickets are better now and protection is there in the modern day equipment for the batsmen. “So there is no worries playing in the West Indies although from our current team no one has played a single Test on the West Indies soil in the past,” he maintained.

In the absence of regular opener Taufiq Umar, Azhar, who had to open the innings with Muhammad Hafeez in a two day drawn side game against Guyana and registered another fifty, is ready to open in the first Test starting from Thursday (today). “Coach Waqar Younis and Misbahul Haq have given me a lot of confidence. And if I am asked to open, I would try to meet their expectations as I have the experience of opening the innings in domestic cricket and can play for my country anywhere,” Azhar stated.

Azhar, who hails from Lahore, is considered a Test match specialist. To a question regarding playing only Tests, he said it was difficult for a player of only one version of the game to adjust when international cricket was being played round the year. “Its not an excuse. But, yes, its a bit difficult when one rejoins the team after a gap of few months and in order to fill that gap one has to make an extra effort,” he concluded.