By Sajid Sadiq
In the summer of 2010, 25-year-old Azhar Ali, a rookie right-handed batsman and leg-break bowler, walked out to face the might of the Australian Test team at Lord’s.
He hung around for 45 minutes before being sent back to the pavilion by Ben Hilfenhaus for a competent 16 off 43 deliveries.
At that time, when youngsters like Mohammad Amir were impressing everyone in the world of cricket, Azhar Ali’s debut innings whilst not special or eye-catching, was still considered yet another sign of the potential that Pakistan had to offer.
In the final analysis, the year 2010 turned out to be Pakistan cricket’s annus horribilis due to the ‘spot-fixing’ scandal. But, there was a silver lining.
Azhar’s performances in his debut series clearly demonstrated the emergence of a batsman who had the fighting spirit, temperament and dogged determination which would be in demand for any decent Test side. This was also a quality which would fast become the hallmark of his nascent career.