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Azhar Ali became the 1st Pakistani batsman to score a double-ton in Australia © Getty Images

Oh, Misbah-ul-Haq scores a hundred in his first Test assignment in England, and the venue is Lord’s — Home of Cricket. His name will now be etched on the honour’s board. All this, at the age of 42. There, that gets more limelight.

Oh, Mohammad Aamer dismantles Alastair Cook and ends his six-year hiatus, again at Lord’s — the same venue where he had committed the spot-fixing crime. There, that gives a nice angle to the story.

Oh, Younis Khan scores a magnificent double-hundred at The Oval and helps Pakistan level series 2-2. There, experience comes into play.

Oh, Yasir Shah becomes the highest wicket-taker for Pakistan. There, a leg-spinner shines on tracks that are tailor-made for the pacers.

Pakistan now become No. 1 team for the first time in Test cricket. Oh, look! Misbah poses for a photograph with the mace. There, that makes it the picture of the year.

Amidst all this there is a man churning out runs without anyone taking a notice, without a fuss. Mind you, he is playing his first Test of 2016 in July, with only five months to enter a new year. He comes in to bat at No. 3, after Chris Woakes dismisses Shan Masood. He scores a mere 7 from 43 deliveries. In the second innings he goes for 23. Pakistan win the series opener by 75 runs. Yasir becomes Man of the Match. In the next Test he perishes for 1 and 8. Pakistan lose the contest by 330 runs.

Misbah, Aamer, Younis, and Yasir have all been in the news — good and bad. But this man — the man who is now the fifth-highest run-scorer in 2016 — was hidden in the shadows of the headline-grabbers.

You have read that right. This man is now the fifth highest run-scorer, after Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, and Alastair Cook in 2016.

This man is now the highest run-scorer for Pakistan in only five months of Test cricket in 2016, amidst Misbah’s Man-of-the-Series-winning performance in England and Younis’ knack of producing gem of an innings.

Oh, wait! So far he has scored only 39 in 4 innings. Azhar Ali has scored only 39 from 4 innings.

Pakistan and England go to Edgbaston with 1-1. Pakistan win the toss, invite England to bat, bowl them out for 297. In reply, Pakistan post 400 thanks to Azhar’s 139. There, he gets the hundred. But Pakistan lose again. The limelight is on England now, for they are 2-1 ahead, with only one match to go.

Azhar opens the innings in the last match. He scores 49 and 30*. He hits the winning runs; he hits a winning six over long-on. Misbah gets Man of the Series; Younis, Man of the Match. But Azhar ends as the second-highest run scorer for the Pakistan, between Misbah and Younis in the list. Azhar gets no award. Azhar does not feature in the news. But Azhar scores 295 runs at 42.14, becoming the second-highest run scorer for Pakistan. He gets those runs without anyone taking notice, without making fuss.

Pakistan return to UAE, their home away from home. They play West Indies, lowly West Indies in a three-Test series. Both teams play their first ever day-night Test. The shiny pink ball, the lights: both teams are all set for a new concept.

The pink ball moves. The pink ball creates lateral movement. The pink ball seams and swings even more at twilight. But that does not bother Azhar. He scores an unbeaten 302 instead. He becomes only the fourth triple-centurion for Pakistan — and first in pink-ball cricket. Pakistan win the series 2-1. But Yasir gets Man of the Series. However, Azhar ends up as the highest run-scorer of the series: 474 at 94.80.

Pakistan go to New Zealand, and lose series 0-2. Azhar scores only a fifty in four innings. But he still manages more runs than Younis.

Pakistan visit Australia for a three-Test series. Australia, a nation he had scores of 70 twice in during an A tour, against an attack that boasted of Clint McKay and Doug Bollinger. It was the same series that earned him a ticket to international cricket.

However, Pakistan lose the first Test by 39 runs. Azhar scores a mere 5 in the first innings, followed by a characteristic 71 off 179 in a pursuit of 490 in the fourth innings. He bats for over 4 hours to take Pakistan out of the woods. Barring Asad Shafiq’s 137, Azhar’s is the only innings that seemed to have changed the course of the match.

It was the same old problem on the bouncy Australian tracks: edged and gone. The likes of Younis, Misbah, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam were out caught behind the wickets.

Pakistan go to the vast MCG 0-1 down. They are cornered, for they are asked to bat. Nathan Lyon draws first blood in the 11th over. Azam, Younis and Misbah, between them, add a mere 55. Yet again, Shafiq is in the thick of things. His resounding 137 at Brisbane is still fresh in the hosts’ mind. At the other end, still batting, is Azhar.

Azhar tries hard not to flash anything outside off, for he is aware of his dismissals in the first match. He gets behind the line and plays accordingly. Meanwhile, Shafiq strikes lovely boundaries. His four boundaries have, somehow, already stolen Azhar’s thunder. Few notice that Azhar has already reached his fifty. The fall of wickets, followed by Shafiq’s stylish strokeplay, has meant that Azhar has attracted very little attention. Not that he minds, for he is getting there; 70s, 80s, nervous 90s: he is getting there.

The attention gradually shifts to Azhar. He scores a hundred in a Boxing Day Test — an occasion that comes once in four years for the visiting team in Australia. He then deals in ones and twos. He loses Shafiq, but he deals in ones and twos, for he knows the rain interruption was decreasing Pakistan’s dream of winning their first series in Australia.

Australian are spot on in the field. They are not giving away runs, and Pakistanis do not have a reputation of being quick runners between the wickets. Azhar falls, more or less, in the same category. Hence, the only way to keep the scoreboard ticking is to use the length of the stadium and get ones and twos.

The rain is persistent. The match is on and off. Pakistan are into the tail, with Azhar still at the crease. He lets Aamer take centrestage, for he knows he is not hitting fours at will and they were racing against time. Aamer hits 29 off 27 inclusive of 6 fours. Both add 49 off 62 for the seventh wicket.

In comes Sohail Khan. Meanwhile, Azhar reaches 150. A slight drizzle is around. Australia are desperate to skittle Pakistan out and bat. Azhar hits two fours off Jackson Bird’s over: a drive past mid-one and a pull to long-leg.

Sohail then takes Australia to cleaners, scoring a run-a-ball 65. They add 118 for 8th wicket before Sohail gets run out.

Two deliveries later Azhar becomes only the fourth player to score a double-century at the MCG. Azhar becomes the first Pakistani to score a double-century in Australia — all this in a Boxing Day Test and all this without making any fuss.

Azhar has already played 55 Tests, scoring over 4,579 runs at nearly 47 including 12 hundreds and 25 fifties. At 31, he is 3-4 years older than the Kohli-Root-Williamson-Smith batch. He has played, more or less, 5 Tests more than these mavericks. The number of hundreds, more or less, is almost the same.

Above all, Azhar had made his debut at Lord’s in 2010 — the same match that resurfaced spot-fixing and triggered Pakistan cricket’s downward spiral. Above all, Azhar has not played a single Test in Pakistan. This should be enough to mark the genius of Azhar.

Team Misbah. We often talk about Team Misbah, for the man has taken Pakistan cricket to unattainable highs from outrageous lows. Younis, Aamer, Shafiq, and now Yasir: all these belong to Team Misbah. But there is a man who serves his nation with great distinction without anyone taking notice, without making fuss; there is a man who who stands out from Team Misbah.

That man is Azhar Ali, winning matches without anyone taking notice, without making fuss.