Sarfaraz Ahmed has been sacked as Pakistan captain in Tests and T20Is, the country’s cricket board announced on Friday. It remains to be seen who will lead the side in ODIs, with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) saying that a decision will be “finalized in due course”. Pakistan’s next ODI assignment is not until July next year, a three-match series against the Netherlands in Amstelveen.
The PCB said Azhar Ali will lead the side in Test matches, while Babar Azam has been appointed the new T20I captain. Not only has Sarfaraz lost his captaincy, but due to the “drop-in his overall form”, he has been dropped from both the Test and T20I sides.
Pakistan’s new Test skipper Azhar Ali delighted with the new responsibility, said, “There is no bigger honor than to captain the Pakistan national cricket team in the pinnacle format of the game”.
Babar Azam who will lead the Pakistan T20I side he will carry forward the legacy of his predecessor under whom the team achieved the No. 1 spot and help the team evolve into a “powerful side”.
“It is my responsibility to take forward Sarfaraz Ahmed’s accomplishments in T20Is so that we remain a consistent, attractive and powerful side,” said Azam.
Azhar Ali has been made the Test captain for the World Test Championship in the 2019-20 season, while Babar Azam will lead the side in the shortest format shortest until next year’s ICC T20 World Cup Australia 2020.
Pakistan is scheduled to tour Australia for a three-match T20I series and a two-Test series. Ahmed, who led the Pakistani side in the World Cup 2019, has been dropped from both the squads “due to the drop in his overall form during the past few series”.
The outgoing skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed said he was honored to lead the side at the highest level. He also wished the new captains well for future assignments.
“It has been an achievement to captain Pakistan at the highest level. I want to thank all my partners, coaches, and selectors who have helped me in this journey. My good wishes are with Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, and I hope they will proceed to grow stronger and stronger,” Sarfaraz stated.
PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, who approved the appointments, said: “I want to congratulate Azhar Ali and Babar Azam on their heights to the most coveted and prestigious roles in cricket. It is a reward for their sustained hard work in strive for perfection and I am sure they, like their predecessors, will make the nation proud of their performance, captaincy, and sportsmanship.
“It has been a difficult decision to drop Sarfaraz Ahmed, who has performed well as a player and a leader. 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 chance to speculate and regroup himself and try to improve his form away from international cricket.
“Sarfaraz Ahmed’s contributions are second to none and being the gutsy cricketer and fighter that we all know he is, I have no doubts he will be back in Pakistan colors at some stage.”
“The choice on vice-captaincy will be advanced closer to the series, whilst captaincy for the ODIs will be finalized in a while as the national team’s next task is cataloged from 4-9 July 2020 against the Netherlands in Amstelveen” the PCB’s statement read.