Azhar Ali's entry into the Pakistan team was on the back of some strong performances in the domestic circuit. Following his prolific run-scoring seasons with Khan Research Laboratories and an impressive Pakistan A's tour of Australia, the youngster finally reaped rewards of his hard work when he was drafted into the national side following the exclusions of Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan in the Test series against Australia in 2010.
With a huge responsibility on his shoulders to emulate the stalwarts and come up with the goods, he made sure that the selectors weren't disappointed, scoring a half-century in arduous conditions in the fourth innings in just his second Test helping Pakistan achieve their first Test victory over Australia in 15 years, at Headingley.
He continued to impress with consistent performances on tours to England, UAE(vs South Africa) and New Zealand. For a player possessing immense concentration, one of his shortcomings were the inability to convert fifties into hundreds but soon he got into that groove and started scoring 'daddy' hundreds.
Two scores of 157 first against England in Dubai and then against Sri Lanka in Colombo and that too in difficult conditions impressed one and all and soon he became an integral part of the Pakistan Test batting line-up. His magnificent innings of 157 against England in the 3rd Test in Dubai was a perfect example of the determination and patience one must possess in order to become a top level Test player.
He had a bright start to his ODI career but soon inconsistencies started to creep in and he went out of favour. Patience personified, his greatest strength is his temperament. His ability to structure the innings along with developing crucial partnerships makes him a different player altogether in the league of upcoming youngsters who are naturally flamboyant.