Azhar wants to play for Pakistan


Former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood has expressed his desire that he is not finished as an international player and he still has the ambition of playing for his native country.
The Rawalpindi born cricketer last played for Pakistan during the 2007 World Cup. He has been a regular in the county scene since 2002, representing Surrey for six seasons before switching to Kent. He also holds a British passport. “I’m always available for Pakistan. I haven’t retired yet,” Mahmood told English magazine ‘The Cricketer’.
“A lot of people have been asking me if I want to play for England. It’s like a bubble in the air. If the opportunity comes I will take it,” he said
Mahmood began his Test career with a century on debut against South Africa at home in 1997 and went on to score two more in the return series. He was a regular in the one-day side for the last few years as one of the world’s leading all-rounder. However, his one-day appearances became sporadic from 2003. He said it was frustrating because the Pakistan Cricket Board never explained why he wasn’t in their plans.
“It was tough to miss so much cricket,” Mahmood added. “People said I wasn’t fit and had put on weight. It was just a media thing. I had played county cricket for nine years and I had proved my fitness,” he said.
“In the few chances I got for Pakistan, I wasn’t given the new ball, I was batting at six spot or below. It’s tough when you have only the last three to four overs to bat,” he stated.
He said he was offered the captaincy at 25, but turned it down because of his inexperience. “In 2000, Tauqir Zia (the then PCB chairman) took me aside and said you’re the next Pakistan captain. I said, no, make Waqar Younis the captain”, he expressed. “That was the biggest mistake I made in my life,” he added. Waqar, now Pakistan’s coach, was impressed with Mahmood’s fitness when Pakistan toured England last year and hinted at a recall to the one-day side. However, the offer was not materialised.