Reflecting on a series that saw far too little cricket than what either England and Pakistan were hoping for, Azhar Ali said that the visitors will regret that one session in Manchester where they did not go for the kill.
England won the Old Trafford Test by three wickets before rain played havoc in the final two games.
“[Manchester defeat?] “Great regret, that one session could have made the difference, but congratulations to England they won that match and the series, they played good cricket. We took positives through the series, we were competitive throughout, which is very good,” Ali said after the end of the series in Southampton.
Not for once did Pakistan look like they were being rolled over by the hosts and Azhar Ali praised his young side for that.
“As a team I’m proud of the way we fought. Whenever they were under pressure they responded well. The team stuck together and kept fighting but unfortunately the weather wasn’t great in the last two matches. But everyone fought, you can easily get rolled over in this position.”
Speaking about his crucial hundred in the first innings of the final Test, Azhar said it helped bring back some confidence after a poor run.
“[Hundred] In the third match but it was an important innings for me, and the team. At least I got some runs, under pressure, things not going well until then but you need an innings like that to get back confidence.”
One of the most talked about players in the series was Pakistan Mohammad Rizwan as he kept up to the stumps against Mohammad Abbas, which saw him receive high praise from the experts. Looking back Rizwan is grateful that the hardwork paid off.
“It’s difficult for the keepers here, especially to fast bowling, so I did some drills that helped me. I practised and people told me about keeping to fast bowlers, so I practised with tape balls, working with Rashid Latif. It’s difficult, sometimes you get Yasir Shah on the stumps, Abbas seaming it, but it’s a good experience to play in England. Difficult but I did very well,” Rizwan explained.
“My batting, I learned that you must play five phases in Test cricket. Sometimes you play with the tail and it’s difficult but this is the beauty of Test cricket.”