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Azhar Ali

'Our pride has been hurt' – Pakistan captain Azhar Ali rues big defeats in Australia

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Pakistan were completely outperformed in Australia last month, suffering heavy defeats in T20Is as well as in the Tests, prompting Azhar Ali to declare "our pride has been hurt".

Pakistan were defeated 2-0 in the three-match T20I series, and they suffered big margins of defeat in the Tests as well, with innings defeats in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Ali, the Test captain, said Pakistan's pride took a beating in Australia. "We are a proud cricketing nation, and definitely our pride has been hurt," he told the reporters on Friday, 6 December. "We did prepare to [the] best of our abilities, we went there with positive intent. But unfortunately, sometimes results don't come as per your expectations."

Pakistan had opted for a young bowling attack in the Tests, calling up 16-year-old Naseem Shah and 19-year-old Musa Khan. But David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne were on song and laid bare their inexperience. 

Despite that, Ali said the experience would hold the players in good stead for the future. "The bowling attack was young and couldn't perform as expected, but still the world is talking about them today," he said. "They have pace, and with little bit more experience, they will be great for Pakistan in the future."

We went there with positive intent but unfortunately sometimes results don't come as per your expectations.

The captain himself struggled in the Tests, scoring 35, 5, 9 and 9 in his four outings. He conceded he's not been the same since returning from a knee injury. "It's true that after knee injury, my form is not the same," said Ali. "But I passed all the fitness test, I do all the sprinting and it's [injury] not the only reason.

"As far as I am concerned, it's not that ball is not coming onto my bat or when I am at the crease my footwork is not working. Unfortunately, it's not working. I know I need runs. [Be it the] captain or any other player, nobody can play without giving performance."

Pakistan's next assignment is at home against Sri Lanka, an important one as it will signal the return of Test cricket to Pakistan after a decade. 

"The next series is against Sri Lanka, which is a momentous occasion for all of us, all players will be playing their first test match in Pakistan," he said. "Sri Lanka is bringing their full-strength side and we have to play very good cricket to beat them."

The two-Test series begins in Rawalpindi on 11 December.

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