Azhar Mahmood promises repeat performance in SA

The in-form Azhar Mahmood, who left here for South Africa on Monday evening to join the team ahead of the second one-dayer against South Africa, promised a repeat performance on his favourite hunting ground.

Azhar has exceptional Test record against South Africa, scoring 530 runs with an average of over 75 runs per innings. He also scored three centuries in the process. “I always enjoy playing against South Africa and my record suggests that. These days I am playing my best cricket and hope to carry on that performance during the forthcoming one-day series against South Africa,” he said.

Azhar is expected to reach Durban in time for the second match against South Africa. “I would take a flight from Dubai in early hours Tuesday and is expected to reach Durban late Tuesday,” he said. Azhar said he was hopeful of performing better in the remaining matches of the series. “Though you need time to get settle down, I do not think I would take long as I am already playing domestic cricket for the last two months. I am not sure where I would be asked to play. However, I am in good touch and want to play up,” he said.

Test-discard Azhar was not even among the 30 players selected on the provisional list for the forthcoming World Cup. However, his brilliant performance back home forced the selectors to call him.

Azhar said he was lucky to get a chance to prove his form and fitness. “I was not among the players selected for the World Cup earlier. However, now when I get the opportunity I am sure I would be able to perform,” he said.

He said he was in the best of form these days, he would be looking forward to perform with bat and ball. “I am in good touch and as such want to perform with bat and ball as I would be last international commitments before the World Cup to be held in West Indies.”

Azhar will replace the injured Shabbir Ahmad who broke down after playing just one match (the Twenty20 International) and has returned back to work on his fitness. Azhar performed outstandingly with both bat and ball in the ongoing Quaid Trophy that saw him scoring century in each innings against Multan at the Diamond Ground here. “I am really thankful to all those who helped my case. Isha Allah I would perform to the best of my abilities,” he said.

Azhar is one player who has performed outstandingly against South Africa. In fact it was against South Africa that he started his Test career scoring a century on debut in Rawalpindi in 1997-98.

Later, on his return visit to South Africa, he hit back to back centuries and followed it up with the good performance with the leather. Pakistan players in South Africa are struggling with form and injuries. Pakistan lost the last three international matches they played in South Africa and looking forward to reversal of fortunes with the second one-dayer to be played in Durban on Wednesday.
Source:The News

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Written by Team CricketViewer on February 6th, 2007 with 51 Views

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