PCB sacks Sarfaraz as captain of both formats, names Azhar as Test skipper
LAHORE (Reuters) – The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sacked Sarfaraz Ahmed as their captain across all formats, naming Azhar Ali on Friday as the new Test skipper and putting Babar Azam in charge of the Twenty20 squad.
Sarfaraz’s struggles with his form have also prompted the selectors to drop the stumper-batsman altogether from both the formats.
“It has been a difficult decision to drop Sarfaraz Ahmed, who has performed well as a player and a leader,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani said in a statement.
“But, his loss in form and confidence is visible and, in the best interest of the team, it has been decided to leave him out and provide him the opportunity to reflect and regroup himself and try to reclaim his form away from international cricket.”
Pakistan under Sarfaraz failed to make the knockout stage in this year’s 50-overs World Cup and languish at seventh in test rankings.
A new one-day captain will be named later, the PCB said.
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.”
Azhar, who quit as Pakistan ODI captain in 2017, will begin his stint with a two-Test series in Australia later this year before Pakistan host Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for two tests apiece.
“There is no bigger honour than to captain the Pakistan national cricket team in the pinnacle format of the game,” said Azhar who will have former team mate Misbahul Haq as the coach and chief selector.
“These are exciting times in Pakistan cricket with a new team management. As a captain, I feel comfortable that there will be a 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.”