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 T20I side.
The appointments were confirmed after Sarfaraz was left out of both Test and T20I squad for Australia tour due to the drop in his overall form during the past few series.
Pakistan will compete with Australia in two Tests in Brisbane (November 21-25) and Adelaide (November 29-December 3) before hosting Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for two Tests apiece.
The Men in Green will also play three T20Is each against Australia (3rd, 5th and 8th of November) and Bangladesh before the curtain falls on their international domestic season in early February 2020.
“There is no bigger honour 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, look forward to justifying the faith that has been entrusted upon me for the World Test Championship,” Azhar Ali was quoted as saying by PCB.
“Sarfaraz Ahmed has done an excellent job in transforming raw talent into experienced players and I now look forward to inspiring those skillful players in our endeavours to collectively achieve our World Test Championship objectives and beyond.
“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.
“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. I have always played my cricket the hard way but in a fair manner, and will ensure I continue to uphold the spirit of cricket and enhance the image of the team and the country.”
Babar Azam, the No.1 ranked batsman in T20Is, has previously led the Pakistan side in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012. He was vice-captain in the recently-concluded series against Sri Lanka and is presently captaining Central Punjab in the National T20 Cup.
“To be named 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,” said Babar.
“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, meanwhile, said it was an honor to lead Pakistan and wished good luck to Azhar Ali and Babar Azam.
The decision on Pakistan’s new ODI captain will be taken on a later date as the team is having no 50-over games before July 2020.