KARACHI: Former chief selector Salahuddin Sallu lauded the efforts of both Test captain Misbahul Haq and opener Azhar Ali after the two batsmen made 105 and 99 respectively in the first innings of Pakistan’s second Test against West Indies.
He also praised the batsmen for playing for the team rather than worrying about individual accolades. “The way these two batsmen played was the perfect example for a person who plays for the team,” he said. “Their efforts allowed Pakistan to post a strong total in reply to West Indies’ 312.”
Sallu praised batsman Ahmad Shahzad as well and said that despite him being dismissed after making just 70 runs, he was impressed by what the opener did on the day.
“Pakistan were able to take the lead because of the good opening partnership between Azhar and Shahzad. Everyone expected Babar Azam and Younus Khan to shine, but their wickets dampened Pakistan’s spirit and put the team under pressure,” he said before praising Misbah and Azhar for their responsible batting display.
“Many people criticise Misbah and Azhar for playing slowly but I think that was the need of the moment and they responded in the best way possible,” he said. “Pakistan had just lost three wickets for six runs and someone was needed who could bring stability to the team. That is exactly what these two batsmen did, and that for me, is highly remarkable.”
Misbah was unfortunate yet another time when he was unable to reach his century after being dismissed on 99 for the second successive match and Sallu sympathised with the Mianwali-born.
“He was really unlucky to get out on 99 once again. I really hoped he would reach his century but it was not to be. Azhar, on the other hand, scored a remarkable century and that too with his captain present with him, so that was quite impressive,” he said.
The 70-year-old former spinner, meanwhile, also praised the bowlers, especially Muhammad Amir. “Amir has finally found his rhythm and is bowling exceptionally well. He was not able to take wickets recently because of his inability to bring the ball in, but now that he is doing it, he is getting more wickets,” he said.
Sallu also praised fast-bowler Muhammad Abbas and limited-overs captain Sarfraz Ahmed. “Sarfraz relies on moving his feet to take catches rather than dive around here and there. The catch he took off Abbas’ delivery was just outstanding. He is a great wicketkeeper,” he said.