Tuesday Aug 25, 2020
England’s former skipper Nasser Hussain has dubbed Pakistan captain Azhar Ali "the tinkerman" and hailed him for correcting a technical flaw in his batting stance that ended his susceptibility to be trapped in front of the wickets.
In his column for the Daily Mail, Hussain stated that Azhar's stance meant that he always struggled in English conditions but that he finally rectified the problem when chips were down in first innings of the third Test when he scored a battling 141.
"All too often Azhar got his front leg in the way and was then falling over the crease with his bat coming down at a bad angle. So the bowlers have worked to get his leg across his stumps before producing a nip-backer that gets him plumb lbw," he said.
"He has been moving his front foot out of the way in his stance, just by a couple of inches, and opening his hips up a bit. That means he has not been planting his leg in front of off-stump - instead it is in front of middle or middle and leg - and he has looked a lot more confident when England have been targeting those pads."
Hussain lauded the 35-year-old for attempting to step outside of his comfort zone as the latter was able to produce a knock against the hosts - something that even batting legend Brian Lara took note of.
"People will say 'if it is that simple and he can score a century now why didn't he do this before?' but it is not that straightforward. Firstly it doesn't feel natural at first to change something that has served you well everywhere else throughout your career. And also any change you make can then lead to other forms of dismissal,” he said.
Hussain also hailed Azhar for showing resilience even when he and his charges were being subjected to harsh criticism.
“Azhar also only made a very small alteration but it's amazing the difference it has made in both innings of this last Test. Most of all, he has shown incredible mental toughness at a time when his captaincy has been questioned and his side have been struggling,” he concluded.