Azhar Ali calls time on Pakistan ODI career

Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali has called time on his limited-overs career with the national team to focus on the Test format.

The 33-year-old who part of the Pakistan side that won the Champions Trophy in England last year and is also a former national captain in the ODI format.

Azhar scored 1 845 runs in 53 ODIs at an average of 36.90 that included three centuries and 12 fifties but has not played in an international 50-over game since January this year.

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The right-handed batsman released a statement saying: “I want to announce an important decision that I have made.

“I feel that the time is right for me to announce my retirement from ODIs so that I can focus with my full energy on Test cricket and serve Pakistan for longer.

“I feel honoured 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.

“As a former ODI captain I wish the team the very best for what is an incredibly important season ahead of the World Cup next June.

“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.”

Azhar is still a vital cog in Pakistan’s Test batting line-up having notched up 5 303 runs in 67 matches at an average of more than 44 with 14 hundreds and 29 fifties.