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Goodbye and Thank you Azhar Ali

Azhar Ali has bid a fond farewell to Somerset.

The 33-year-old said his goodbyes after playing in seven Specsavers Championship matches in which he scored 402 run at an average of 33.50 with a best of 125 against Worcestershire at New Road.

Azhar was recruited after Matt Renshaw returned to Australia and certainly seemed to enjoy his time in Taunton where he fitted in well.

Before he departed he talked about his time with the county.

“Everyone here at Somerset, the fans, the players and the management have been really supportive and very welcoming,” he said. “The fans at Somerset go all out to support, and it doesn’t matter if you win or lose they keep on turning up, even to away matches.

“I have been really happy to play for Somerset this year and it has been a very great privilege.”

This was Azhar’s first experience of playing in English domestic cricket, so how had he found it?

“In England you play in a lot of different conditions. Some when it is turning and some where it is seaming, and some when it is good to bat on. It’s a good challenge for anyone to play in and all of the teams in Division One have good bowlers, so it has been a good standard of cricket.”

How did Somerset compare to the side he plays for in Pakistan?

“The team that I play for in Pakistan also has a good culture as well, so I was really happy to see when I came here that the culture of the Club is so good. Everyone here is so gelled together, which is impressive.

“It is a really good dressing room to be part of and I really enjoyed it. If the Club can keep that culture going then Somerset is going to go a very long way.”

Talking about the challenges he had faced he said: “Playing cricket in England is not easy and I have to admit that it gives you a different challenge. Bowlers here are used to the conditions so they get you out. They are very well structured and plan against you and bowl in good areas.

“Almost every team can bat down to number 11 which means that you can’t get through them so quickly. Even the lower order can bat and I have played in a few games where we thought that we have won it but it took a long time to win it.”

Azhar talked about how he had adapted his own game by playing in England.

“It is a very good experience. When I came here I wanted to learn a lot because England is one of the places where it is sometimes not easy to bat. I thought that if I played in these conditions for longer then it would help my game.

“I had good interaction with the coaching staff here at the Club and learned a lot from them, so hopefully it can benefit me in years to come.”

Would Azhar like to come back to Somerset at some stage in the future?

“The way that things went for me I am really happy and I hope that Somerset are happy also. We will have to wait and see. If the opportunity comes along then I would love to come back.”

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