Pakistan Cricket Board stripped Sarfaraz Ahmed off Test and T20I captaincy and also dropped the wicket-keeper-batsman for the upcoming tour of Australia, where three T20Is will be played. They also start their World Test Championship campaign with two Tests against Australia. The move to play in Australia comes 12 months ahead of the T20 World Cup.
PCB has handed over Azhar Ali the Test reigns while Babar Azam will be the T20 captain.
Under the captaincy of Sarfaraz Ahmad, Pakistan won the championship Trophy in 2017 and rose to the top of the T20I rankings. The tough call from the board comes after Pakistan lost to a severely depleted Sri Lanka in T20Is.
Azhar Ali is currently Pakistan’s leading Test format batsman. He left ODI cricket last year to focus on the game’s longest format. He has 15 centuries and scored over 5,600 runs in Tests at the moment.
Azhar Ali, after his appointment, said, “There is no bigger honor 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, I look forward to justifying the faith that has been entrusted upon me for the World Test Championship.”
Babar is currently the number one T20 batsman in the world and was also the vice-captain for the Sri Lanka series that ended recently. Babar has the experience of leading Pakistan in Australia’s 2012 under-19 World Cup.
Babar said, “To be named the 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.”
PCB also confirmed that an ODI captaincy decision will be taken later as Pakistan is scheduled to play against the Netherlands in the 50-over format in July 2020.