Asif Iqbal backs Azhar Ali to shine against England

Former captain believes opening batsman has a lot more to offer

Asif Iqbal backs Azhar Ali to shine against England

Former captain Asif Iqbal has backed Azhar Ali to perform well despite the player’s failure to play a big part in recent matches for Pakistan.

Iqbal, who featured in 58 Tests for Pakistan, has labeled Ali as a ‘big-match player’ and believes that the former captain would find success with the bat soon enough.

“I view him [Azhar Ali] as a big-match player and I am confident that he will succeed with the bat against England,” he said.

Iqbal also went on to add that middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq has an important role to play in Pakistan’s tour of Ireland and England and believes the 32-year-old has the power and the experience to score big on the tour.

“Shafiq also batted well in the first Test innings against Ireland and being a senior player, I am sure he can bat and score big," he added.

Talking about how the young players have the opportunity to make a name for themselves, Iqbal said: “At times it certainly does seem as if a player, or a couple of players, can’t be replaced. There was a time when Imran Khan and Javed Miandad were thought to be irreplaceable but later this gap was filled. The same will happen with Misbahul Haq and Younus Khan as their replacements would be found in time. So I am confident these young players would fare well on the tour and would go on to make the nation proud in the future.”

Iqbal also said that he is expecting a lot from spin sensation Shadab Khan and believes that if conditions are favourable, the 19-year-old can run riot against England.

“Shadab might be inexperienced but he is still a lot better than many senior bowlers. If the conditions suit him, then he will cause England a lot of problems,” he said.