Pak axes Sarfaraz, name Azhar as Test captain

Reuters . Lahore | Published: 14:45, Oct 18,2019 | Updated: 23:19, Oct 18,2019

 
 
Azhar Ali

Newly appointed Test captain of Pakistan cricket team, Azhar Ali, speaks during a press conference in Lahore on Friday. — AFP photo

Pakistan have 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 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.

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 Misbah-ul-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.’

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