'Our pride has been hurt' - Azhar Ali on Australia debacle

'Our pride has been hurt' - Azhar Ali on Australia debacle | ESPNcricinfo.com 'Our pride has been hurt' - Azhar Ali on Australia debacle --> Skip to navigation < > MenuESPNcricinfo ScoresAll cricket scores, fixtures and results here. More ESPNEdition 'Our pride has been hurt' - Azhar Ali on Australia debacle9mUmar Farooq'Once I put my mind to it, I can achieve anything'13hSaurabh SomaniPollard wants to nurture young WI talent2hDeivarayan Muthu in Hyderabad15 out of 30: Who will make India's T20 World Cup squad?1dESPNcricinfo staff'Powerplay bowling tough but exciting' - Washington2dDeivarayan MuthuSwaggering Dube unfazed by all-round expectations1dDeivarayan Muthu in HyderabadNaseem Shah, 14-year-old Mohammad Shahzad in Pakistan Under-19 World Cup squad4hESPNcricinfo staffCSA CEO Thabang Moroe suspended for alleged misconduct2hFirdose MoondaBob Willis, funny and acerbic on camera, kind and warm behind it7hMark NicholasThe Buzz: It's Bumrah, baby!4hESPNcricinfo staffThird umpire to monitor front-foot no-balls in India-West Indies series22hESPNcricinfo staffNaseem Shah, 14-year-old Mohammad Shahzad in Pakistan Under-19 World Cup squad4hESPNcricinfo staffCSA CEO Thabang Moroe suspended for alleged misconduct2hFirdose MoondaSouth Africa lose title sponsor as freefall continues4hFirdose MoondaFAQs: The concussion sub, and why the rule is important11dSidharth Monga'Our game is a mental game. Most of our work is between the ears'10dInterview by Shashank KishoreDo Australia have a captaincy problem coming up?13dIan ChappellHow do we rate an ODI century made in 1972 against one made this year?14dKartikeya DateEmily Smith's ban for sharing team news on Instagram exposes a bigger problem15dIsabelle WestburyIndia have amazeballs fast bowlers? Surely I'm dreaming15dSharda UgraWill Gerald Coetzee be South Africa's next pace sensation?16dFirdose MoondaSai Kishore - spinning fingers and Madipakkam dreams17dDeivarayan MuthuAre batting wearables the next step in cricket's evolution?17dSreshth ShahTim Paine contemplates last wave of summer18dDaniel BrettigInsights and judgement from the mildest man in cricket19dPaul Edwards2019: South African cricket's annus horribilis21dFirdose MoondaECB keep 'watching brief' as chaos mounts at Cricket South Africa59mESPNcricinfo staffEngland still in limbo as New Zealand series provides inconclusive Test reboot21hAndrew MillerCan Mickey Arthur and revamped coaching structure lift Sri Lanka out of chaos?1dMadushka BalasuriyaRachel Trenaman takes leave to focus on mental health7hESPNcricinfo staffIcon, survivor, grandee: Farewell Bob Willis, the man with the longest run2dAndrew Miller'An English legend who inspired a generation of fast bowlers'1dESPNcricinfo staffKohli back at No. 1 in Tests; big jumps for Warner, Labuschagne2dESPNcricinfo staffCA set for talks to break ICC events impasse2dDaniel BrettigSelector Bailey ready to talk the talk1dDaniel BrettigRanji Trophy 2019-20: Kerala pick Baby over Uthappa for captaincy3dESPNcricinfo staffThe Priyam Garg story: From standing up to Bhuvneshwar at 15 to leading India at 193dShashank KishoreUsman Shinwari, Faheem Ashraf sign with Melbourne Renegades2dESPNcricinfo staffChris Gayle set to feature in second half of BPL season4dMohammad Isam and Nagraj Gollapudi'Our pride has been hurt' - Azhar Ali on Australia debacleAzhar Ali wants more Pakistan A tours to places like Australia Getty ImagesFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerEmail9:19 AM ETUmar FarooqPakistan correspondent, ESPNcricinfo FacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprint

The dismal tour of Australia has hurt the 'pride of the nation' according to Test captain Azhar Ali. The Tests ended in innings defeats; the T20Is were not any better even though the perception was Pakistan, ranked No. 1 in the format going into the series, would compete better.

'We are a proud cricketing nation and definitely our pride has been hurt,' Azhar said upon the team's return to Pakistan. 'We did prepare to our best of our abilities, we went there with positive intent but unfortunately sometimes results don't come as per your expectations.'

The team management picked a young bowling attack with two rookies in 16-year old Naseem Shah and 19-year old Musa Khan. They were so excited that they even played Naseem ahead of the experienced Mohammad Abbas. The bowling fortunes didn't change.

They failed to pick wickets, watched David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne make runs for fun and the pressure they piled on was too much for their batting to take. This amount to their 14th straight loss in Australia, a streak dating back to 1995.

Amidst the gloom, they had some positives too. Babar Azam made a second-innings ton in Brisbane and a quality 97 in Adelaide. Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed's replacement, held his own in two innings. Yasir Shah showed signs of improvement as a batsman, scoring a century in the Pink-ball Test, much to the delight of his teammates.

'When you play in Australia and don't avail your opportunities, it's never easy to make a comeback,' Azhar said. 'The bowling attack was young and couldn't perform as expected, but still the world is talking about them today. They have pace and with little bit more experience they will be great for Pakistan in the future.'

Pakistan next play Sri Lanka at home. The tour marks the return of Test cricket to the country for the first time since the 2009 terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore. The series is important on a number of counts too.

Firstly, Pakistan will be up against a team coached by their former coach - Mickey Arthur. Secondly, the series is part of the Test championship, and Pakistan are yet to open their account. Thirdly, there's plenty of pride at stake too, with Pakistan wanting to reverse their fortunes from when the two sides last met in a Test series in UAE.

'The next series is against Sri Lanka which is a momentous occasion for all of us, all players will be playing their first test match in Pakistan,' Azhar said. 'Sri Lanka is bringing their full strength side and we have to play very good cricket to beat them.

'We will try our best and whatever time we have in between we have to freshen up our minds and look forward to play good cricket and get back on track. It is very important for us and we have to play this series very good.'

Azhar also brushed aside talks of his poor form. In Australia, he managed scores of 39, 5, 9 and 9 in four innings. He has averaged 24.08 over the last two years. He has also suffered knee injuries.

'As far as I am concerned, it's not that ball is not coming onto my bat or when I am at the crease my footwork is not working,' Azhar said. 'Unfortunately it's not working. I know I need runs whether captain or any other player nobody can play without giving performance.'

'It's true that after knee injury my form is not the same, but I passed all the fitness test, I do all the sprinting and it's not the only reason (injury). Lots of players go through surgeries and play and if there's a fitness issue, the PCB staff do tell it. I realise, I do have to score, I am working hard, I am feeling good in nets unfortunately runs are not coming but I know when runs do come it will be in bulk.'

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