Islamabad. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday removed Sarfaraz Ahmed as captain from all formats, with immediate effect. The wicketkeeper-batsman has also been dropped from the side ahead of Australia tour and asked by the PCB to regain form in domestic cricket. Top-order batsman Azhar Ali is set to take over Pakistan’s Test reigns while prolific batsman Babar Azam has been named as captain of the Twenty20 side, Pakistan media reported.
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Pakistan’s Head coach-cum-chief selector Misbahul Haq was reportedly unhappy with Sarfaraz’s captaincy and had made it clear to the PCB that Sarfaraz should not continue as the captain of the national team. Azhar Ali has been appointed national cricket team captain for Pakistan’s World Test Championship matches in the 2019-20 season, while Babar Azam has been named captain of T20I side until next year’s ICC T20 World Cup Australia 2020.
Pakistan will play Australia in two Tests in Brisbane (November 21-25) and Adelaide (November 29-December 3 (d/n)) before hosting Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for two Tests apiece. Pakistan are also scheduled to play three T20Is each against Australia (November 3, 5 and 8) and Bangladesh before the curtain falls on their international domestic season in early February 2020.
Azhar has been a mainstay of Pakistan’s batting line-up. The 34-year-old has scored 5,669 runs with 15 centuries and 31 half-centuries in 73 Tests.
"There is no bigger honour than to captain the Pakistan national cricket team in the pinnacle format of the game.
I feel humbled, excited and privileged, and with the support of the team, look forward to justifying the faith that has been entrusted upon me for the World Test Championship," Azhar said. Babar Azam has previously captained Pakistan in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012. He was vice-captain in the recently-concluded series against Sri Lanka.
Outgoing skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed said, 'It has been an honour to lead Pakistan at the highest level. I want to thank all my colleagues, coaches and selectors who have helped me in this journey. My good wishes are with Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and the Pakistan cricket team, and I hope they will continue to grow stronger and stronger.'