Maybe some of Younis' good luck rubbed off on me: Ali
A file photo of when Azhar Ali (L) and Younis Khan (R) during a Test series against England.
Dubai - "I missed Younis bhai a lot. I have always said that he is my role model."
After joining some illustrious company following his magnificent triple hundred, Pakistan opening batsman Azhar Ali said that it was a great honour to have his name alongside the likes of the great Hanif Mohammad, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
Ali made an unbeaten 302 on the second day of the first day-night Test at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium and the opener also recalled being a part of Inzamam's triple against New Zealand in Lahore in 2002.
Ali was a substitute fielder when Inzamam scored that triple hundred. "It is a matter of pride and honour to see my name alongside Inzamam-ul-Haq," said Ali.
Ali's fine knock was one of discipline, determination and overcoming the odds and he took the occasion to remember his role model Younis Khan, who unfortunately could not feature in this Test because of an illness.
"I missed Younis bhai a lot. I have always said that he is my role model. I was sitting on his seat during this match and my feeling was to respect that seat. And maybe some of his good luck rubbed off on me. Whenever Younis bhai makes a century, he goes on and makes it a double or a big innings. I tried and kept his area neat and clean, the way he keeps it and I also tried to give the same kind of performance on the ground. I cannot obviously become a player like him but I tried my best to show the respect to that seat," he said.
Ali is one of those Pakistan cricketers who has played all of his international cricket away from home. Ali made his Test debut against Australia at Lord's and hasn't had the chance to play back home in Pakistan because of security concerns.
And Ali was a touch sad that he couldn't score his triple century at home. "Had I scored this at home, it would have been a much better feeling than this. And a better crowd would have made this occasion better. But a 300 is a 300 and I will take that any day," said Ali.
"But I would love it if a much bigger crowd came in and watched the day-night Test. I would want to dedicate this innings to my parents and my country, who live cricket so much and support Pakistani cricket even through tough times when we can't play at home," he added.
Nevertheless, he said it was a proud moment for him. "It is a great achievement to score 300. For me, it is a really proud moment. I can't really explain my feelings, the way the team and captain supported me through the last few runs, when I was nearing 300, it was exceptional from them. It is a big achievement and I will obviously remember it all my life. It is a proud moment for me, those who have already scored triple-centuries have been exceptional and world-class players, I am still working hard on my game but getting on that 300 list is a proud moment for me," Ali said.