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Azhar Ali

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