The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Thursday that batsmen Azhar Ali and Babar Azam have replaced Sarfaraz Ahmed as the skipper for the Test and T20I teams respectively.
“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 the number one ranked T20I side until next year’s ICC T20 World Cup Australia 2020, which is now exactly one year away,” PCB stated on its press release. “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.”
Pakistan will square off against Australia in a three-match T20I series before heading into a two-match Test series in November.
They will host Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for two Tests apiece.
Azhar Ali said he is honoured to be leading the side in the longest format. “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.”
Speaking about Sarfaraz Ahmed’s captaincy, he said that the wicketkeeper-batsman had done an excellent job in transforming raw talent into experienced players and he is looking forward to inspire the players to collectively achieve the targets in the Test championship.
“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,” said Azhar.
Babar Azam, who led the U19 side in the 2012 Cricket World Cup, is also relishing the challenges which are ahead of him.
“To be named captain of the number one 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. 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, who will continue to lead the side in the 50-over format has wished the best of luck to Babar and Azhar on their new assignments.
“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.”