Mushfiqur Rahim Profile | Career Info, Records Biography
Ali made his Test debut for Pakistan against Australia in the first Test at Lord's in July 2010. An agile right-hand batsman and a part-time leg-break bowler, Ali became the first ever centurion, double Centurion as well as triple centurion in a Day and Night Test Match, when he scored 302 against West Indies in October 2016. He held the record for the highest ever individual score in an innings of a day/night test match which was later surpassed by David Warner in November 2019 who scored unbeaten 335.
Domestically, he has played for Khan Research Laboratories, Lahore, Lahore Eagles, Lahore Lions, Lahore Qalandars, Pakistan A and Huntly (Scotland) during his career. He was the captain of Lahore Qalandars in the first edition of the Pakistan Super League.
In August 2018, he was one of thirty-three players to be awarded a central contract for the 2018–19 season by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). On 1 November 2018, he announced his retirement from One Day International cricket.
Ali is an opening batsman and a part-time leg spinner by trade. His solid technique and ever-lasting patience was exactly what Pakistan was searching for and his calmness at the crease perfectly suited the crucial number 3 slot. Ali has worked his way steadily up Pakistan's domestic scene since 2006. That was the season he began opening regularly for Khan Research Laboratories, a move that fetched him two hundreds and two fifties in five matches, and he hasn't looked back. In four seasons since, he's been averaging 40-plus with 11 hundreds, commendable figures in a country where opening is a modern-day curse. Ali was appointed captain of Lahore Qalandars in the first edition of Pakistan Super League. He played 7 matches and scored 180 runs in the Tournament.
On 16 July 2018, Ali signed for Somerset for the final seven matches of the County Championship season, replacing the injured Matt Renshaw. Ali subsequently scored a century in his debut match for Somerset, against Worcestershire.
Azhar Ali became one of the few Pakistani players to make his Test debut before playing an ODI when he got his chance against Australia at Lord's in July 2010.
Starting against Australia and England
Following the exclusion of middle-order stalwarts Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf from the Pakistani team in 2010, Ali was drafted into the lineup for the Test series against Australia and England in July 2010. He made his debut against Australia in July, along with Umar Amin; Ali scored 17 runs in his debut innings before he was caught behind by Tim Paine. In the second innings, he scored 42 as Pakistan lost the match by 150 runs. In the second Test match against Australia, he scored 30 runs in the first innings, followed by his maiden half century in the second as Pakistan recorded their first Test victory over the Australians in fifteen years. He struggled in the first two Tests against England, recording a 32-ball duck during the second match as Pakistan were bundled out for 72. Following these disastrous collapses Mohammad Yousuf was recalled to the squad and Amin lost his place, but Ali was given another opportunity and found his feet in the third Test, scoring an unbeaten 92.
South Africa series in November 2010
Ali retained his place in the Test squad for the series against South Africa in November. He scored half centuries in both innings of the first Test, and helped Pakistan, chasing an improbable 451, avoid defeat with a crucial fourth-innings partnership with the returning Younus Khan. He top-scored with 90 in the first innings of the second Test, before producing another solid performance alongside captain Misbah-ul-Haq in the second innings, finishing unbeaten after facing 135 deliveries to secure another draw.
January 2011: Tour of New Zealand
Following consistent performances against South Africa backed up with experience against England and Australia the selectors picked Ali for the two-match test series against New Zealand in January 2011, also young Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq was given a place alongside Ali. In the first innings of the first match Ali only managed 18 and wasn't required to bat in the following innings as Pakistan won by 10-wickets. During the second match of the series Ali registered his sixth half-century.
June 2012: Tour of Sri Lanka
Ali was picked in the both ODI and Test squad for the Sri Lankan tour in 2012. He was impressive in the ODIs by scoring 96 in the 2nd ODI and 81* in the 4th ODI, and became the second Pakistani to carry his bat after Saeed Anwar. He finished the series as the leading run-scorer for Pakistan Ali made his 4th test hundred and finished on 157 in the 1st innings of the 2nd test at SSC. Ali continued his good form and made consecutive centuries as he scored 136 in the 2nd innings. His crucial innings enabled him make into the Top-10 of ICC Test Rankings for the first time, as he joined Graeme Smith on 753 points.
June 2017 ICC Champions Trophy
Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman's partnership of 118 runs in the match against England made it the highest in the Champions Trophy history for Pakistan, and the highest opening in an ODI since 2009. The duo then scored another impressive 128 runs in the final against India. Pakistan won the match by 180 runs, the highest margin of victory for any team in an ICC tournament final.
After Misbah-ul-Haq retired from ODIs, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had a tough job to do while appointing Misbah's successor. The potential candidates were either too inconsistent or had some disciplinary issues. Sarfraz Ahmad gave the selectors a long thought but the board finally decided to go in favor of Azhar Ali who hadn't played ODI cricket for almost 2 years at the time of his appointment. While this decision was opposed by many, Ali seemed determined to take the Pakistani team right on top.
Pakistan tour of Bangladesh
At the end of April, Pakistan ended up on the wrong side of a whitewash in Bangladesh. Under his captaincy, Pakistan played their first ODI series against Bangladesh. The tournament was disappointing as Pakistan lost all three ODIs. Ali came to the side with good scores of 62 and 101, his maiden ODI century but could not prevent his team from the whitewash. This was Pakistan's first series lost to Bangladesh 
Zimbabwe tour of Pakistan
Zimbabwe tour to Pakistan, after a lapse of six years, proved fruitful for him as Pakistan under his captaincy won the three match ODI series 2–0. He scored his second ODI century in front of the home crowd in the second ODI.
Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka
Pakistan's quest for ICC Champions Trophy qualification received a significant boost against Sri Lanka. Pakistan cricket team won the series after nine years in Sri Lanka. Pakistan team had got last victory in 2006 in the leadership of Inzamam Ul Haq. Ali scored most of the runs in this series, and became the Fastest Pakistani batsman to 1000 ODI runs, scoring them in only 21 innings.
Ahmed Shehzad spoke at the end of the game praising Ali for allowing him to play his natural game. He said
"Azhar is in the form of his life at the moment and he gives us confidence to play our natural game, When you see him at the other end, it makes you bat positively".
Pakistan tour of England
In August 2016, Pakistan toured England and Ireland for a full tour. Ali had a good test tour highlight of which was 139 against England in Birmingham in a losing effort. He scored 30 in the final test at the Oval to finish test series at 2–2. He finished as the second highest runscorer for Pakistan in the test series. The following ODI series for Pakistan was abysmal and was one of the worst in history of Pakistan in England. Ali captained his side in a 4–1 losing effort, which included a thumping 169 run loss in which England scored a world record score of 444 runs in an innings. Ali scored 208 runs in 5 innings including two scores of 80 and 82.His tally was the second most of any Pakistani in that series.
Ali was criticized for his captaincy as well as low personal scoring rate. After the England series there were rumors that Ali might step down as captain of Pakistan ODI team. He quashed all such rumors and vowed to continue as captain of ODI team. PCB and coach Mickey Arthur backed him and he was retained as ODI skipper against West Indies in UAE.
West Indies in UAE against Pakistan in 2016
After winning the T20 series 3–0 Pakistan won the ODI series as well. Pakistan won the first match by 111 Runs making it the 4th highest winning margin against west indies by Pakistan.Babar Azam scored record 3 back to back centuries and Pakistan won the 2nd match by 59 runs. Ali scored his 3rd ODI hundred in the 3rd match of the series and became the first Pakistani captain to score 3 centuries as captain. Also Pakistan won the test match series 2–1 and Azhar ali scored 300 in the first test match.
He was also named in the Test XI of the year 2016 by Cricinfo.
Australia in 2016
During the Australia tour, Ali only managed to score 37 runs in three-ODIs and lost the series 4–1 to Australia. He only scored well in Test series. He scored a double century in the second Test match at Melbourne, which is recorded as the highest Test score by a Pakistani player in Australia and the second highest Test score by a visiting player at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Despite this, his contribution from the bat and with captaincy was below par throughout the ODI series. With the conclusion of the series, Ali resigned from ODI captaincy in February 2017.
Australia in 2019
In October 2019, ahead of Pakistan's tour to Australia, Sarfaraz Ahmed was sacked as captain of Pakistan's team, following Pakistan's poor run of form. Azhar was named as the captain of the Test side in his place.
Pakistan Super League
He was appointed captain of Lahore Qalandars in the 2016 Pakistan Super League. He scored 183 runs in 7 matches for Lahore Qalandars . In September 2016 Lahore Qalandars announced that Brendon McCullum will replace him as the captain of the side in 2017. Qalandars retained him as a player. .
Records and achievements
- First player to score a hundred with white ball, a double hundred with red ball and a triple hundred with pink ball in international cricket.
- 8th quickest to score 1000 runs in ODIs (in terms of innings), and 4th quickest Pakistani, behind Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam.
- Only Pakistani to score 3 ODI hundreds as a captain.
- Top run scorer as captain after 10 ODIs with 611 Runs.
- One of five Pakistani batsmen to score 1000 Test runs in a calendar year.
- Only Pakistani batsman to make two double-hundreds in a year (2016).
- Only Pakistani batsman to hit a double-hundred in Test in Australia.
- Only visiting opener to score a double-hundred at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
- Only player to make a triple-hundred in the UAE.
- 939 Azhar Ali's aggregate as an opener in Tests in 2016; among Pakistani openers only Mohsin Khan scored more in a year.
- Most runs in 2016 & 2017 in Tests by a Pakistani batsman.
- Eight Pakistani and fourth quickest Pakistani batsman to reach 5000 Test runs.
- Azhar Ali has scored sixteen Test and three ODI centuries.
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