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19 October, 2019 00:00 00 AM

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PCB sacks Sarfaraz as skipper

Azhar, Babar made Test, T20 captains
AFP, Lahore
PCB sacks Sarfaraz as skipper

Pakistan sacked Sarfaraz Ahmed from his post as Twenty20 and Test skipper yesterday, a week after he led the side to a shocking 3-0 home defeat against an inexperienced Sri Lanka. The showdown in Lahore gave the visitors their first Twenty20 series win against Pakistan in seven attempts while missing 10 of their top players -- including regular T20 skipper Lasith Malinga, who refused to tour Pakistan over security fears.

Senior batsman Azhar Ali will replace Sarfaraz as Test skipper, while Babar Azam will lead the Twenty20 side, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said. “Sarfaraz has been replaced... on poor performance,” said a board press release. Azam has been appointed skipper until next year's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, while Azhar will remain in charge for the 2019-2020 season.

Squads for the tour will be announced on October 21. The change is seen as surprising despite the Sri Lanka whitewash. Pakistan had reached number one in the Twenty20 rankings under Sarfaraz, winning 11 series along the way. Sarfaraz also topped the batting chart with 67 runs across the series. Sarfaraz congratulated both new captains on the honour.

“I wish Azhar and Azam the best of luck and thank all the coaches, selectors and officials for helping me in the journey,” he is quoted as saying in the release. Azhar previously skippered Pakistan in one Test and 31 one-day internationals between 2015 and 2017, losing 18 and winning 21 with one no result.

Meanwhile, Azhar Ali has been a mainstay of Pakistan’s batting line-up since making his debut against Australia at Lord’s in 2010. The 34-year-old is regarded as Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan’s prodigy and has scored 5,669 runs with 15 centuries and 31 half-centuries in 73 Tests.

Azhar had an excellent tour of Australia last time when Pakistan were there in 2016-17 when he had scores of 5, 71, 205 not out, 43, 71 and 11. His other scores against Australia in England and the UAE are 16, 42, 30, 51, 53, 30, 109, 100 not out, 18, 4, 15 and 64. This means the 21st ranked batsman in the world has aggregated 938 runs in nine Tests against Australia, his second most after Sri Lanka (1156 runs in 14 Tests).

In the ongoing four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Azhar is the second most successful batsman with 388 runs in four matches as his side Central Punjab leads the field with two wins.

Reacting to the news, Azhar Ali said: “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.

“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.

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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