Proud to play alongside Babar Azam: Abid Ali

Opening batsman heaped praise on Pakistan’s limited-overs captain

Proud to play alongside Babar Azam: Abid Ali PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan opener Abid Ali feels proud to play alongside Babar Azam, as he relishes the opportunity to watch the Men in Green’s limited-overs captain bat from the other end.

Last year, Abid set a world record of becoming the first batsman to score a century on his One-day International (ODI) as well as Test debut.

The 32-year-old achieved the aforementioned milestone when he reached the triple figures in the first home Test, of two-match series, against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi.

While speaking in an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, Abid said that his fellow batsman Babar, who also scored a ton in the same innings, played a key role in the lead up to his debut Test century. 

“I am proud to play alongside Babar Azam. My best wishes are with him. People are expecting more from him now, since he is the captain in two formats. I hope he continues to perform for Pakistan,” said Abid.

“When I was batting with him on my debut, I was under pressure but he backed me and advised me to not worry and take my time at the crease. When I finally reached my hundred, he hugged me with all his heart. It is a pleasure to watch him bat from the other end,” he added.

According to original schedule, the first Test between England and Pakistan was supposed to start from July 30 at the Lord’s cricket ground. However, due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the entire Test series is now expected to take place at bio-secure venues like Manchester and Southampton.

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The Lahore-born batsman is disappointed to miss out on the chance to represent Pakistan at the historic venue of Lord’s — which is also known as the Home of Cricket.

“It was my wish to play at the Lord’s cricket ground, as it is one of the best venues in the world. Every cricketer looks forward to play there. I am disappointed that there won’t be any match at Lord’s on this tour, but we have to abide by the safety measures. I am prepared to play at any venue and will adjust accordingly,” he said.

Lahore Qalandars had included Abid in their squad, as a replacement, just before the playoffs of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) but he did not get a chance to play as the season five was postponed indefinitely due to Covid-19. 

“When I finally got selected in the PSL, the tournament got postponed. I want to play T20 cricket for Pakistan. If I perform well in the domestic T20 tournaments, only then I can get selected. I will try my best to perform in those competitions, so that I can make my debut in T20 Internationals (T20Is) as well,” he said.

Despite not getting enough practice in Pakistan due to the lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the right-hander is confident of a strong showing in the upcoming Test series against England.

“Preparations aren’t ideal for England tour but I am mentally prepared to give my 100 per cent. I am training hard to improve my fitness level and working on eradicating my weaknesses,” he concluded.