Senior Pakistani batsman Azhar Ali on Thursday announced his retirement from one-day internationals to allow youngsters more chances to play for the national team while he focuses more on his Test career.
The 33-year-old had been dumped from Pakistan’s one-day side since a flop series in New Zealand in January, where he earned just 12 runs in three matches—including a duck at Dunedin, that proved to be his last match.
Azhar will be remembered as a Test batsman, having scored a triple and a double hundred in the last two years. “I feel that the time is right for me to announce my retirement from the one-day international format so that I can focus with my full energy on Tests and serve Pakistan longer,” Azhar told a press conference.
Azhar’s tally of runs in 53 one-day internationals stood at 1,845 runs at an average of 36.90 including three hundreds and 12 half centuries. “I feel honored that I represented the country in 53 ODIs—31 as captain—and I have some fond memories of leading some incredibly talented players. I am fully committed to Test cricket and would want to serve the country for as long as I can maintain my form and fitness. I would continue to play Domestic One Day and T20 matches,” said Azhar.
Azhar led Pakistan in 31 one-day internationals between April 2015 to January 2016, winning 12 and losing 18 with one no result. “As a former ODI captain I wish the team the very best for what is an incredibly important season ahead of the World Cup,” said Azhar. “There are some talented young batsmen who are part of the set-up now and I am supremely confident that they will serve Pakistan cricket with distinction.”