PAK vs AUS: Azhar Ali excited about playing in his hometown for first time

'Very emotional feeling. Since childhood, Gaddafi Stadium has been an iconic venue for me,' says Azhar Ali who hails from Lahore

By Web Desk
March 20, 2022
Azhar Ali. — Twitter/ICC

LAHORE: Pakistan's veteran batter Azhar Ali is excited and upbeat about playing his first-ever Test in his hometown — Lahore — where Pakistan and Australia are all set to lock horns in the crucial third Test at the iconic Gaddafi Stadium on March 21.

The 37-year-old, who made his Test debut in 2010, has represented Pakistan in 93 Test matches and has been a prolific batter with 6,926 runs under his belt, and after 12 years into his career — he will finally get the chance to play at his home ground.

"Very emotional feeling. Since childhood, Gaddafi Stadium has been an iconic venue for me. Whenever I passed from the ground, I used to dream about playing at the stadium," Azhar said.

"After I made my Test debut, international cricket wasn't taking place in Pakistan. UAE was our home venue. It looked like we will never be able to play international cricket in Pakistan. But, Alhumdullilah, cricket has returned to Pakistan. And it's a matter of pride and happiness for me that finally, I am getting the chance to play in my city," he added.

Azhar hopes that his family and his loved ones will come to the stadium to witness the third Test.

"Family, friends and all my loved ones will be there as they all have an attachment to the Gaddafi Stadium," he stressed.

Meanwhile, as far as the comparison between playing at the home ground and the neutral venue is concerned, Azhar believes that it's a different feeling. 

"It's a different feeling. When we started playing back in Pakistan, we realised that we missed so much by not playing at home for a long time," he informed.

"Our achievements and performances were not highlighted and followed that much. Even we didn't enjoyed it much," Azhar stated about not playing at home ground.  

Azhar thinks that the star Babar Azam is playing exceptionally well, beside saying that he enjoys batting with him. 

"Effort is always there to forge a partnership with Babar. May Allah give Babar a lot of respect and success. Both me and Babar will try to perform well in the third Test and help Pakistan win the match and the series," Azhar revealed.