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Former skipper Azhar Ali said on Tuesday that although his doctors would make the final call on his fitness and availability for the upcoming series against New Zealand, he was optimistic about his chances for a return to international cricket.

Ali was incapacitated following a knee injury in an ODI in Sydney in January this year, which Pakistan lost by 92 runs.

Ali had complained about his dodgy knee before the start of the Test series against Sri Lanka but played in two games after taking pain-killing injections.

"I have been consulting my doctors on a daily basis and they are taking it one step at a time," he said.

During the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy series in Karachi, Ali scored a century in his comeback match. "It is never easy to make a comeback after an injury and it is always a frustrating time," he said, adding that the experience was a "pleasing" one that gave him hope of a return to international cricket.

The opener said he had been working very hard with doctors for over a month, and that he now felt more comfortable on the pitch.

"I will continue my work, which I have been doing for more than a month," he said.

Pakistan are to tour New Zealand later this month, and Ali said that he had enough time before the series began to get fit.

Azhar Ali captained the Lahore Qalandars in the opening season of Pakistan Super League, but was replaced by New Zealand’s Brendon McCollum in season two and remained unpicked for the third season.

"Challenges and disappointments are part of life but I always take things positively. I am trying to focus on the formats in which I am getting to play," he added.