Sussex Head Coach Paul Farbrace revealed some of his batters “picked the brains” of Azhar Ali after his superb century for Worcestershire in the drawn LV=Insurance County Championship fixture at New Road.
Former England Assistant Coach Farbrace says Azhar is a long-time admirer of the Pakistan star, who has just started his second season at New Road and is the ideal sort of overseas player.
He believes the number three batter is “a great example” of the kind of top-level overseas player needed in county cricket and a “great signing” by Worcestershire.
Farbrace said: “Azhar is an outstanding player, and he showed on Sunday he is a world-class player in all conditions.
“As much as I would have liked to have seen the back of him earlier, it was a pleasure to watch him bat again.
“He is a fantastic man and a great advert for the game, the patience with the way he played and lined the ball up.
“He was the difference probably between us trying to sneak a victory and the game finishing as a draw.
“When you come up against high quality, world-class players as Azhar is, then you know you’ve got a challenge and a battle on his hands.
“I thought the way he paced his innings, how he played, how straight he played, how late he played was a great example for everyone here watching the game.”
Farbrace, who led Sri Lanka to ICC Men’s T20 World Cup glory in 2014, added: “Obviously, both sides are going to learn from that.
“One or two of our batters were picking his brains at the end of the game about how he plays, how he prepares.
“This is what county cricket needs. It needs the best players playing county cricket and, if we are going to protect county cricket and make it the game we all want it to be, we need the best players playing, and Azhar is a great example of someone.
“He just plays the game in the right way, and you can’t help but admire such a fantastic player.
“Azhar is someone you want in your dressing room, and Worcestershire have chosen wisely there because it is not just your performances as a player. It is also your personality and what you bring to the team as well.
“I thought that was a great signing when they got him, I think he is a fantastic player, and I’m sure he adds huge value to the players at the club.
“Jack Haynes is someone I’m sure who will have learnt a lot from him, would have spent time in the middle with him and been a help with his development. Coaches can only do so much.”