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12-Test-old Pak batsman Azhar 'worried' over failing to score century so far

June 9, 2011 - Karachi

Pakistan Test cricketer Azhar Ali, who has won over fans and critics alike through his gritty batting, has expressed his worry over not being able to score a century so far.

Azhar, who was introduced to international cricket with six Test matches in England last year against Australia and the hosts, has rattled up nearly 800 runs in only 12 test matches at an average of just over 37.

He has crossed the 50-mark eight times so far, but one statistic that is certainly playing on the batsman's mind is that he has not reached three figures yet.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a worry. I've crossed the half century mark eight times in 12 tests and am yet to score a century, so yes it is a concern as the conversion rate is zero and I should be converting the fifties to hundreds," quoted Azhar, as saying.

"However I'm trying to not let it affect my batting and levels of concentration and I'm sure that once I've scored one test century and the pressure is off, then God Willing there will be many more to come," he added.

Azhar cited Indian bating maestro Sachin Tendulkar's example, saying that he had also passed through a bad phase when he was regularly dismissed for nineties, but he ultimately made his first ODI century after playing 75 matches for India.

"In the match situation I continue to play each ball on merit irrespective of how many runs I have scored. It's not as if I change my approach after reaching the half century mark or it's a mental block. It happens to even the greatest players, I recall Sachin Tendulkar going through a phase where he was regularly being dismissed in the nineties and I look at the example of Tendulkar and he made his first ODI century in his 76th match for India. For myself sometimes there have been some good deliveries, I was run out in the West Indies recently, but I'm sure the century is not too far away," he said.

Azhar also said that although he is flexible enough to bat at any position, he thinks that the number three position is ideal for him.

"Batting at number three is just like opening really. I don't mind where I bat if the truth be told. Whether it's opening, at number three or the middle order, I'm happy to bat wherever the captain and coach want me to bat. I've opened in domestic cricket so if at some point in the future I'm asked to open the batting I would happily do that. As an international batsman you must have the ability to bat at any position and be flexible."ANI)


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