Test captain Azhar Ali bats for cricket behind closed doors
Lahore: Pakistan Test skipper Azhar Ali is in favour of playing cricket behind closed doors whenever it is safe to do so.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all sporting action has come to a halt. Pakistan was slated to play Bangladesh in a Test match, but it had to be postponed due to COVID-19.
“If, hopefully in the near future cricket is possible and the health of people is not compromised, I’m sure every cricketer will say we should get cricket back on, even if it is behind closed doors,” quoted Ali as saying.
“There is no sport on TV right now that people can watch. They will be happy to get sport back on TV. People’s health is more important, but if we can get sport going without imperiling that, I’d support it,” he added.
Ali has also given his suggestion that ICC should look to extend World Test Championship beyond the scheduled end of 2022 to fit in all the matches.
“I’m sure the ICC will look at this. The Test Championship was a long competition anyway, so I don’t think it would be a big deal to extend it if the series cannot be held in time; I’d support extending the Test championship,” Ali said.
Pakistan also has to face England this year in three Tests and three T20Is. The series will begin from July 30 if the current situation improves.
England is currently placed at the fourth spot in the World Test Championship standings with 146 points from nine matches.
Pakistan is placed fifth with 140 points from five matches.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s chief curator Agha Zahid and Haroon Rashid, Director of Domestic Cricket, will leave the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) when their contracts expire. Rashid’s contract will end on April 31 while that of Zahid on May 31.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said the board will now use this opportunity restructure the National Cricket Academy and domestic cricket to create a different and streamlined high performance structure that serves the game and its cricketers in a more seamless way.
“Amongst many areas, the new system will focus on coach education and the assessment and re-training of our current elite coaches; in addition, the improved streamlined system will enable us to further bridge the gap between domestic and international cricket,” PCB media release quoted Khan as saying.
Rashid was re-employed in April 2017. Prior to his reappointment, he had served the PCB in various roles including chief selector, Pakistan senior and junior national teams’ coach and manager, head of youth game development and acting head of the NCA. - Agencies