According to a report by ESPN Cricinfo, the two Pakistan batsmen could seen be playing in England’s domestic competitions soon if all goes to plan.
Azhar is reportedly in line to replace India skipper Virat Kohli at Surrey. Kohli was due to spend the month of June with the south London outfit but a neck injury sustained in the IPL meant that stint never took off.
Kohli’s loss, could be Azhar’s gain although a spokesperson from Surrey has denied that any talks have taken place with the Pakistan man.
Meanwhile, Shafiq is being targeted by Somerset to replace Australia’s Matt Renshaw according to the report.
Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has backed Azhar and Shafiq to play country cricket due to their non-involvement in white-ball cricket.
“Our chosen players, we’re hoping to get Azhar and Asad to play some county cricket. There is a little bit of interest at the moment, for a short period of time. Because those guys don’t go to these [T20] leagues and stuff, if they were to play county cricket we’d certainly encourage that,” the South African said.
Azhar and Shafiq were both part of the Pakistan Test side which achieved a 1-1 draw in the two-match series against hosts England.
Both the senior batsmen did not have the best of times personally with Azhar only managing to score 73 runs combined in the three Tests against Ireland and England. Shafiq managed to register two half-centuries in the three Tests but his form remained a mixed-bag for the most part.
Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam just can’t catch a break nowadays. He is not considered good enough to be even part of the touring team, despite being one of the most prolific batsmen in Pakistan’s first-class cricket for 10 years, even as limited overs players and batsmen with modest returns getting Test caps.
Fawad’s exclusion has left many, including the player himself, perplexed. And just to add to the bemusement, the 32-year-old batsman managed to get himself timed out this week.
One of the rarest forms of dismissals in cricket, timed out implies a batsmen being declared out if he fails to reach the batting crease within two minutes of a fall of wicket. And Fawad got dismissed using that rarely witnessed ruling while he playing for Clitheroe Cricket Club in the Lancashire league.
Not only did Pakistan batsman suffer the ignominy of being timed out, he ended up breaking the dressing room window by accident.
Fawad insisted it was all a series of unfortunate incidents. “The dressing room window broke accidentally during the league match,” Alam was quoted as saying by the Daily Express. “It’s not my fault and the umpires also agree with me. Never in my career has a finger been pointed at me for indiscipline, so this incident was unfortunate and painful for me .”
Needless to say, Fawad is not in the best frame of mind (apologies for the pun) and he must be wondering what’s more in store for him.
Former Pakistan captain and fast bowler Waqar Younis issued an apology after a video was posted of him eating a piece of cake to celebrate the 52nd birthday of his former team-mate Wasim Akram, during the holy month of Ramadan.
The two Pakistan veterans were in Headingley as England leveled the Test series. Akram turned 52 on Sunday and Waqar was joined by commentator and former batsman Ramiz Raja in celebrating the legend’s birthday.
In a video posted on Youtube, Akram is seen cutting a cake and sharing it with Younis and Raja.
The former captains received criticism on social media with many saying they failed to respect the rules of the holy month while also disregarding others who are fasting.
Waqar issued an apology on Twitter, stating: “[I] apologise to everyone for cutting cake on Waseem bhai’s birthday yesterday. We should have respected Ramadan and the people who were fasting. It was a poor act on our behalf.”