You wake up one fine day, casually pressing buttons on your remote, desperately looking for something worth watching on TV, when a certain breaking news grasps your attention instantly. To your surprise, an out of favour batsman, who has remained in the shadows for long and has made negligible amount of contribution to Pakistan cricket over the past few months, has been asked to lead the side. Not any ordinary side, but a side that is plagued with groups, seniority-juniority prejudices and a quota system that has seeped into our roots.

Five years later, it seems like déjà vu all over again. Only this time, under the spotlight is our man of the moment, Azhar Ali. 

Azhar Ali broke into the test squad in 2010 and justified his selection every time the team required him to bat, be it for survival or for victory. Soon enough, the critics started comparing his batting style with Muhammad Yousufs and Younus Khans. In him, Pakistan cricket found a breath of fresh air and stability in the batting line-up. Like his predecessor, Misbah ul Haq, Azhar Ali is also known for occupying the crease for a longer time period and playing orthodox, risk-free shots. 

Also like his predecessor, the decision of appointing him as the one-day captain has not settled in well with the entire nation and has received strong criticism ever since the news first appeared on local channels. He is being blasted on various social media platforms and public forums for being a poor choice when compared to the likes of Muhammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed and Wahab Riaz - all of whom were in the race for captaincy. Of all the arguments that have come forward, the only fair one is that Azhar has only played 14 ODIs for Pakistan and has been out of the squad for quite some time now, therefore, the decision is indeed an odd one. Critics believe that he is more suited for the test format of the game and, if anything, he should have been appointed as the test captain, not one-day internationals. 

Although, the argument is valid and a good enough reason to hand over the captaincy to someone more experienced in this format, Azhar Ali could still be a key person for Pakistan cricket's revival and re-establishment. In those 14 matches that he has played, he has scored 452 runs - highest score of 96 - at an average of 41.09 which is just as good as his batting average in test matches. He also has four one-day fifties under his belt. He was a member of Pakistan's 30-man preliminary squad and, if selected, he would have added stability and balance to the line-up - something that, arguably, cost us a place in the semi-finals. 

He has been recently lauded for his performance in the Pentangular Cup that was held in January by the Pakistan Cricket Board in which Azhar scored 302 runs in five matches at an average of 60.4, playing a true captain's role for his side, Baluchistan Warriors, and leading them into the final. Azhar also ended up as the highest run-scorer of the tournament, with a much-improved strike rate of 86. Time and again, Azhar has proved his abilities as a leader by captaining domestic sides, having led as many as five of them: Baluchistan Warriors, Lahore Eagles, Lahore Lions, Khan Research Laboratories and Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited. 

 Azhar, throughout his entire career, has maintained a smooth relationship with all his team-mates and is the right person to put an end to the perpetual leg-pulling that has plagued Pakistan cricket. Azhar Ali might not be considered a natural talent and his shot selection limited, but he is indeed one of the most technically sound batsmen Pakistan cricket has ever witnessed. His composed attitude and cool temperament backed by his mental toughness can probably help Pakistan reach the same heights India has reached under MS Dhoni. 

 "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." Greatness is achievable, as we have witnessed during the times of Imran Khan, Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq. Only time can tell whether or not Azhar can prove himself to be another historical figure for Pakistan cricket, in the years to come. Until then, we must wait, we must pray.