So Azhar Ali is bidding us farewell, called home by the Pakistan Cricket Board to prepare for their forthcoming Test series with Sri Lanka. The manner of Azhar’s departure says everything about the man, thinking not about himself but about the interests of the county.
By giving Andy Hurry the maximum amount of time to find a replacement for the last three championship games Azhar has done all he can to fill the void a the top of the order in time for the Yorkshire game.
I can’t pretend to have any idea who are the likely candidates but am sure that an announcement isn’t far away given the way Somerset have handled similar situations in the past.
The need is clearly for an opening batsman but, and I know you’ll call me an old romantic, are the stars aligning for Marcus’ return? If the replacement is a middle order batsman the possibility exists of moving Tom Banton up to open with his captain, but I’d prefer to leave him where he is to develop his red ball skills.
The other question swirling around is whether the PCB’s decision will mean that Babar won’t be available for finals day. It seems likely given the timing of Edgbaston this year. It seems likely therefore that the replacement will be someone who plays in both the longer and shorter form.