LAHORE-Pakistan Test skipper Azhar Ali has said that the Test captaincy isn’t affecting his batting performance and he is more focused on the series to see how he can win it.  

“After playing cricket for 10 years, I do know what I need to do when in cricket. When I bat, I only think about batting, regardless of whether I am in form or not. When I am batting, I do not think about my captaincy. As a captain, you want to perform but if you cannot, then you have to captain in the way you are supposed to with an open mind,” Azhar told the sports journalists during the post-match online press conference following his side’s defeat to England in the first Test in Manchester. 

“I will say that in reference to captaincy that in hindsight things look easy, but when someone from the opposing teams puts up a good partnership, they should be given credit also. In the first innings, we were ahead, Shan Masood and Shadab Khan also had a good partnership so all the time, you cannot blame captaincy. I am here to take the responsibility and I, being a captain, will never shirk from that and I will never step back from that responsibility,” he added.  Azhar, who scored 0 and 18 in both the innings, said: “The series is not over yet and we will try our best to play up to the mark. It’s disappointing but not over yet. There a lot of positives from this game, as we outplayed England on most parts of this Test match.” 

To a query regarding the inclusion of two leg spinners in the squad, the Test captain said: “We were quite clear to have a fifth bowling option, and Shadab was batting very well. Since the PSL, which I know is T20, he has grown as a batsman and he was playing really well in the nets, also in the first class and four-day games, we played. Every time he went into bat, he was batting nicely. 

“Looking at the pitch here in Manchester, it was quite a tired looking pitch, we thought that if we bat first, Shadab as an all-rounder can come handy in the first innings especially against the tail with his wrong un, he can be very handy and finish the tail off very quickly. Obviously, Yasir was our front line spinner and that’s why he bowled most of the overs. Our selection was fine and worked well but Shadab’s contribution until Friday was very significant.”  To another query, Azhar replied: “My focus is on this series, let’s leave what is said on Social Media aside as a lot is said on it. We will analyse where we went wrong. The captaincy is a matter of pride and we, as players, cannot control who is captain, but as for now, I am focussing on this series to see how we can win this.”