Friday, May 20th, 2022


Double century-maker Azhar Ali is backing Worcestershire to press home their position of strength during the second half of the LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Leicestershire at New Road.

Azhar will resume on a magnificent unbeaten 202 out of 456-3 – an overall lead of 348 heading into day three.

It continued his superb form for Worcestershire after scores of 92, 88 and 60 in his previous three innings.

Azhar put on a superb 281 for the third wicket with Jack Haynes – a record by Worcestershire for any wicket against the Running Foxes.

The Pakistan star said: “It was nice to make a big score, and I’m really pleased with the position we are in as a team. We obviously wanted to bowl first on this wicket.

“The toss didn’t go our way, but they batted first, and we made full use of the conditions, and we wanted to bat long and make sure that whoever gets in made a big score and played in partnerships.

“It was lovely to bat with Jack (Haynes). The way he batted was fantastic, three hundreds in a row, a great effort, and also the partnership was very good as well.

“I heard about the (partnership) record when it was announced, and very pleasing to achieve that.

“As a team, we are very happy, and hopefully, we can build on the situation tomorrow and get a win out of this.”

Azhar paced his innings perfectly and reached 200 in the final over of the day with a cover drive for four off Rehan Ahmed.

He said: “As a batter, you play different phases of the innings. There were times when we were a little bit more aggressive when the bowlers were a bit tired, and the wicket was not doing much.

“At other times, when they bowled well, we were patient and tried to make sure we didn’t lose wickets.”

Azhar also spotted some encouraging signs about the wicket for the Worcestershire bowlers.

He said: “There was a hint of turn in the last few overs from Callum Parkinson, not a huge amount but still encouraging for us.

“Hopefully, after a little while, it will start doing more for us.

“What is the plan? The team management will reassess in the morning, and hopefully, we can build up enough lead so we can just try and bowl Leicestershire out.

“It will be hard work, and we have we will have to bowl really well, but I’m sure if we bowl to our ability, we will be able to do that.”

Azhar has now been involved in five-century partnership in just over a week – three with Haynes, one with Jake Libby and the current one with Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira (52 not out) so far worth 122.

He said: “About a week ago, I couldn’t get a run, so really happy to be involved in all those partnerships.

“It is always exciting to be batting with Jack, the way he is batting right now, and Jake (Libby) made a terrific comeback at Derby.

“I’m really happy for those guys because they are very talented players and I’m sure they are going to go a long way.

“Hopefully I can help them out and we as a unit can help Worcestershire out to win more games.”