Three of the most prolific batters of the modern era in Test cricket – including Worcestershire’s Azhar Ali – are set to do battle in Thursday’s LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Sussex at New Road.
Azhar Ali, Steve Smith, who played T20 cricket for Worcestershire in 2010, and Cheteshwar Pujara have scored more than 23,000 Test runs between them.
It promises to be a mouth-watering spectacle for spectators during the four-day fixture.
In total, the talented trio have amassed 68 Test centuries and have been key figures for Pakistan, Australia and India, respectively, during the past decade.
Azhar totalled 7,142 runs in 97 Tests with 19 tons before retiring from international cricket this winter, including a career-best 302 not out against West Indies in Dubai seven years ago.
He said: “It will be great for cricket fans to have the opportunity to see players of the class of Steve and Cheteshwar playing domestic cricket in the same game.
“Both of them have had superb careers, and we saw Cheteshwar’s quality with a century at New Road for Sussex in last season’s Championship game.
“I have had many battles with them over the years at Test level, and it can also only be of benefit to our bowlers to be competing against and bowling to such players and a great learning curve.”
Smith played five T20 matches for Worcestershire against Nottinghamshire (twice), Yorkshire, Durham and Northamptonshire and, in those days, was largely regarded as a leg spinner and useful batter.
But since those days, he has gone on to become one of the most talented batters in world cricket with 8792 Test runs from 96 Tests at 59.80 with 30 centuries.
He is playing three Championship matches for Sussex ahead of the Ashes series with England this summer.
Smith hit a highest Test score of 239 against England at Perth in 2017.
Pujara has played 102 Tests for India, totalling 7154 runs with 19 tons, and his highest score is also against England – 206 not out at Ahmedabad in 2012.
Advanced adult tickets are available online from wccc.co.uk and in person at New Road priced at £16. Juniors aged 17 and under can gain free entry to every day of Worcestershire’s LV=Insurance County Championship fixtures in 2023.