World No. 5 Babar Azam has been appointed Pakistan’s Test captain, confirmed PCB on Tuesday, adding that Azhar Ali has stepped down from the role.
Azhar led Pakistan in the England Test tour, but the team slumped to a 1-0 series loss. Across his nine Tests at the helm – he captained the team once in 2016 – he won two, lost four and drew three.
Babar’s first assignment will be to captain Pakistan in the ICC World Test Championship fixtures against New Zealand scheduled to be played in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch in December.
Ehsan Mani confirmed the news after he met outgoing captain Azhar Ali and thanked him for stepping up during the first home Test series in last ten years.
“I want to thank Azhar Ali for stepping up last year by captaining the side in what was a historic first home Test series in over a decade,” said the PCB Chairman.
“I believe Azhar still has a lot of cricket left in him and Pakistan cricket can continue to make the best use of his experience and knowledge as specialist top-order batsman moving forward.”
Mani further said the decision to appoint Babar as skipper was made after seeing his consistent performances and leadership skills as captain in white-ball cricket.
“As we are looking into the future, it is appropriate that we appoint him the captain now so that he continues to grow stronger with every match,” he said, wishing the new captain best of luck for the team’s future.
On his appointment, Babar said: “I feel truly honoured to have been appointed Test captain and join some of the most iconic players who have captained Pakistan in the purest format of the game. I can now say with conviction that dreams can come true only if you chase them with honesty, dedication and commitment.
“I am ready and prepared to take up the additional responsibility, and the fact which gives me additional confidence is that I can do the job is the experience that is available to me in the changing room in the shape of the players and support staff.
“I want to thank Azhar Ali for the way he captained the team in the last season, which was a difficult one, but I know that he will leave no stone unturned in giving his very best to the team.”