Salman Butt reveals reason behind Azhar Ali’s struggles in Tests

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Former Pakistan opening batsman Salman Butt believes that captain Azhar Ali’s poor run in Test cricket is down to his knee troubles.

The 35-year-old is under increasing pressure to produce the goods with the bat in hand after managing to score just a single score of 50 or more in last 17 matches in the five-day format.

Butt, while talking to senior journalist Waheed Khan on his official YouTube channel, highlights that Azhar’s problem is with his knee positioning.

“To be very honest, I don’t think his [Azhar] actual problem is the form,” said Butt. “His problem is the position of his knee. When you play forward, your knee should bend but since his knee is heavily taped, he cannot do this. That’s what the English bowlers are also targeting. They bowl three or four outswingers and then bring the ball in where Azhar gets trapped in front of the stumps.”

The left-hander further went on to blame successive team managements for aggravating the current Test captain’s knee problem by focusing on the Yo-Yo Test.

“Successive managements of the national team have destroyed his [Azhar] knee,” he said. “They kept asking him to run when the focus should’ve been to build the muscles around his knee like quadriceps, hamstring and calf. But in Pakistan, people are obsessed with Yo-Yo Test. They don’t pay attention to these details.”

He continued by saying: “He is a good guy and I’ve known him since his early days. He will never highlight these things. I am saying all of this because he is lucky to have played 70 Tests for Pakistan despite all this mismanagement but I fear for the future of our kids.”

However, the 35-year-old also urged the former Lahore Qalandars’ captain to find a way to return to form and lead from the front.

“He [Azhar] will not be honest to say that there is no pressure because of his poor form,” said Butt. “There is not a single day in international cricket, whether you are in form or out of form when you are not feeling the heat. The point is how he is going to deal with it because he is the leader of the team and he has to find a way to figure this out.”