Pakistan has sacked captain Sarfaraz Ahmed from the T20I and Test side, replacing them with Babar Azam and Azhar Ali respectively for the tour of Australia.
The appointments were confirmed after Sarfaraz Ahmed was left out of both formats due to the drop in his overall form during the past few series.
Seventh-ranked Pakistan will play fifth-ranked Australia in two Tests in Brisbane (21-25 November) and Adelaide (29 November-3 December (d/n)) before hosting Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for two Tests apiece.
Pakistan is also scheduled to play three T20Is each against Australia (3, 5 and 8 November) and Bangladesh before the curtain falls on their international domestic season in early February 2020.
“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 Ali was quoted as saying.
“Sarfaraz Ahmed has done an excellent job in transforming raw talent into experienced players and I now look forward to inspiring those skillful players in our endeavours to collectively achieve our World Test Championship objectives and beyond.
“These are exciting times in Pakistan cricket with a new team management. As a captain, I feel comfortable that there will be number of knowledgeable people in the hut who I can rely for advice and guidance.
“I am not only targeting wins, but also aim to provide opportunities to players to grow in stature and express themselves so that Pakistan cricket can resume its journey to the top.
I have always played my cricket the hard way but in a fair manner, and will ensure I continue to uphold the spirit of cricket and enhance the image of the team and the country.”
Babar Azam, the No.1 ranked batsman in T20Is, has previously captained Pakistan in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012. He was the vice-captain in the recently-concluded series against Sri Lanka and is presently captaining Central Punjab in the National T20 Cup where he scored a 59-ball 102 on an opening day against Sindh.
“To be named captain of the No.1 ranked side in the world is the biggest thing that has happened to my career to date. I am ready for this challenge and also willing to learn more in the process. I feel it has been a natural progression for me and I am delighted that the PCB has put faith in my capabilities,” said Babar.
“Sarfaraz Ahmed has led the side in the shortest format by example and it is my responsibility to take forward his accomplishments so that we remain a consistent, attractive and powerful side.”
Sarfaraz Ahmed, meanwhile, said it was an honor to lead Pakistan and wished Azhar Ali and Babar Azam.
The release further stated that the decision on ODI captaincy will be taken on a later date with the team having no international commitments in the format before July 2020.