An opening batsman by trade, Azhar has worked his way steadily up Pakistan's domestic scene since 2006. That was the season he began opening regularly for Khan Research Laboratories, a move that fetched him two hundreds and two fifties in five matches, and he hasn't looked back. In four seasons since, he's been averaging 40-plus with 11 hundreds, commendable figures in a country where opening is a modern-day curse.
All of his runs have been made with a compact technique, designed to get behind the line of each ball. Observers say he gets into a tangle against the shorter ball often but his patience is key. On an A tour to Australia in 2009, he twice made five-hour 70s against an attack that included Doug Bollinger, Clint McKay and Jason Krejza. That series propelled him into senior team focus and a solid, if not spectacular 2009-10 season, coupled with a move to look beyond Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf, brought about a richly-deserved Test debut - in the middle order - at Lord's against Australia.
His first 18 months in international cricket suggests he belongs at this level. Azhar scored his first Test fifty in difficult batting conditions at Headingley, in a fourth-innings run-chase of 180 against Australia. Since then, he has been a model of consistency. His first Test hundred came only after he'd scored ten fifties, but that's only a minor blemish for a batsman who looks like he's the real deal in every way. Soon after that century against Sri Lanka came his best Test series, against England in the UAE in 2011-12, when he showed remarkable patience and temperament to score a second-innings century in another low-scoring match in Dubai. In a series dominated by the bowlers, Azhar was the only batsman from either side to average more than 50.
Full name : Azhar Ali
Date of Birth : February 19, 1985, Lahore, Punjab
Height : 1.75 m
Major teams : Pakistan, Khan Research Laboratories, Lahore,Lahore Eagles, Lahore Lions, Lahore Qalandars, Pakistan A
Position : Top-order batsman
Test debut : Australia v Pakistan at Lord's, Jul 13-16, 2010
ODI debut : Ireland v Pakistan at Belfast, May 30, 2011
T20I debut : Abbottabad Rhinos v Islamabad Leopards at Karachi, Feb 24, 2006