Azhar Ali pushes for Test Championship postponement amid coronavirus crisis

Faizan Lakhani
Photo: Reporter 

Test captain Azhar Ali on Thursday called for the final of the ICC Test Championship to be postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has halted sporting activities globally.

The final of the championship is scheduled for June 2021 but the ongoing health crisis has ravaged the international calendar and rendered any Test series impossible.

"There is no harm in delaying the final until all teams complete their Test championship cycle," said Azhar in an online media session.

"I am sure the final will be held only after all the teams get their due share of matches."

The pandemic has seen Pakistan delay its second Test against Bangladesh while its tour of England is also in the limbo. Furthermore, England’s tour of Sri Lanka has already been called off.

Meanwhile, Azhar supported the idea of playing cricket behind closed doors, saying that it would be good for cricket-starved fans. 

"Fans aren’t getting any action even on TV now so if cricket is played behind closed doors, it will provide fans an opportunity to watch some cricket," he said.

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When questioned over his "defensive" style of captaincy, the 35-year-old shrugged off the tag and said that his performance will change that perception. 

"You lead the team according to situation and according to resources available to you. You can’t place four slips in Dubai conditions. To call me defensive captain is a wrong perception, and I will try to change this mindset with my performance." 

Besides this, Azhar expressed relief over Misbah's dual role as chief selector and head coach, saying that it also makes the captain's job easier. 

"If I need any player in the squad, it is easier for me to convince one person instead of going to head coach and chief selector separately," he said.

He then revealed his plans of changing the dressing room culture along with players’ mindset, stating that he wants his charges to take an optimistic approach in a high-pressure situation. 

"My aim is to make the team fearless. We usually see that the team gets tensed when they’re under pressure but I want to change that," Azhar said.

Azhar Ali pushes for Test Championship postponement amid coronavirus crisis