Azhar Ali speaks out about Pakistan’s short-ball problem

After Pakistan’s eight-wicket defeat against New Zealand in Christchurch on Sunday, right-handed batsman Azhar Ali opened up about his side’s problem facing short-pitched deliveries.


Speaking after the match, the 31-year-old said that Pakistan are still working on their ability to handle short balls, but they require time to do that.

“If you come to this part of the world, you do expect that [short-pitched deliveries],” said Azhar. “You expect teams from subcontinent to be tested with that short stuff and we all knew that. But as time goes on, we’ll get better, and we’re hopeful to turn things around quickly.”

New Zealand pacers pierced through Pakistan’s middle order during the first Test, bowling short-pitched deliveries, which claimed the wickets of Babar Azam, Younus Khan, Asad Shafiq, and captain Misbahul Haq in their second innings.

The pitch responded remarkably to quicks, and the hosts exploited those conditions to the fullest. Nevertheless, Pakistan refused to pin the blame on conditions at Hagley Oval.

“This is perhaps the most seam-friendly pitch I’ve played on in my international career,” said Azhar. “Here the movement is there for longer. These are New Zealand’s home conditions so we, as a professional team, just have to play on whatever we get, and that’s it.”

The Test vice-captain added: “You usually don’t see in Australia, New Zealand or England a pitch that supports seamers so much. But this is the pitch we got, and New Zealand played better than us.”

The second Test begins on Friday in Hamilton, with Azhar likely to skipper the side in the absence of regular Test captain Misbah. The visitors will then play a three-match Test series against Australia commencing next month.