Azhar Mahmood

Occupation:

Professional Sportsman

Designation: All Rounder
Institution / Org:

Others

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Azhar Mahmood Sagar born February 28, 1975 in Rawalpindi) is a Pakistani cricketer, . Originally his father objected to his interest in cricket, but later started to appreciate it seeing his accomplishments. As a teenager, Azhar was mentored by Irfan Bhatti who played a One Day International for Pakistan in the early 90’s. When not doing net practice, Azhar would fancy himself playing tape ball cricket on the cemented pitch in the cricket ground in front of his home.

Azhar made his One-Day International debut against India in 1996, but did not gain major recognition until his Test debut against South Africa the following year when he hit a century and a half-century without being dismissed. He later went on to score two more centuries against the South Africans.

He joined the Pakistani team primarily as a medium pacer but he has surprised many by his batting prowess. His hard hitting but orthodox batting skills have also been extremely useful in the one-day game. Unlike most Pakistani pacers who are swing bowlers, he is a useful English-style seam bowler, who can chip in with wickets in time of need.

In 2000, Lt-General Tauqir Zia, then the PCB chairman, said that the board would choose the next captain - not based on seniority alone - and if people find the choice unacceptable they will not be selected. Later - in front of some senior players - he told Azhar Mahmood that he will be the next Pakistan captain. Together they would plan the future strategy. But till now this never came to happen.

Azhar has played county cricket for Surrey and in November 2007 signed a two year deal to play for Kent.

He was recalled to the national side for the ODI series against South Africa in early 2007, but subsequently dropped when the 2007 Cricket World Cup team was announced. He was however recalled to go with the squad to the West Indies after a knee injury to Abdul Razzaq. It was Mahmood's 3rd World Cup.

However, aside from playing in a practice match, Azhar didn't get a chance to participate in the World Cup and Pakistan's early exit from the tournament meant that he was once again, in line for being axed from the national squad. Following his exclusion, Mahmood returned to playing county cricket in UK. Over the years, due to his constant exclusion from the Pakistani squad and the fact that he has crossed the 30 year mark in his age, it seems that Mahmood is not as interested in returning to Pakistani line up as he once was. His weight gain, mediocre performances in ODIs, combined with the tough competition for the all rounder slot in the Pakistani line up means that his chances for making a return to the national squad are very limited. He has recently signed with the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and has been released from his central contract.

Recently he has received British citizenship, thus allowing him to play for Kent as an English-qualified player, further distancing himself from a recall to the Pakistan side


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