Cricketer Sarfaraz Ahmed was sacked by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as Twenty20 and Test skipper just a week after he led the side to a shocking 3-0 home defeat against an inexperienced Sri Lanka. The PCB has confirmed that senior batsman Azhar Ali will replace Sarfaraz Ahmed as Test skipper, while Babar Azam will lead the Twenty20 side.
JUST IN: Sarfaraz Ahmed has been removed as Pakistan's Test and T20I captain. Azhar Ali and Babar Azam will replace him. pic.twitter.com/3OhXWYbrCG
— ICC (@ICC) October 18, 2019
Sarfaraz Ahmed has been the captain in all three formats of the game since the last two years and even led Pakistan to the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy title. In Tests and ODIs, Pakistan’s ranking has slipped under his captaincy while they were whitewashed in the recent T20 home series against Sri Lanka. The showdown in Lahore gave Sri Lanka their first Twenty20 series win against Pakistan in seven attempts and this came while the island nation was missing 10 of their top players, including regular T20 skipper Lasith Malinga, who refused to tour Pakistan over security fears.
"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" – @AzharAli_
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) October 18, 2019
The Pakistan Cricket Board has said in a press release that “Sarfaraz has been replaced… on poor performance”. The change, however, also came as a surprise to many despite the Sri Lanka whitewash as Pakistan had reached number one in the Twenty20 rankings under Sarfaraz, winning 11 series along the way. The ex-skipper also topped the batting chart with 67 runs across the series. While Azam has been appointed skipper until next year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, Azhar will remain in charge for the 2019-2020 season. Sarfaraz Ahmed congratulated both new captains on the honour as he was quoted saying, “I wish Azhar and Azam the best of luck and thank all the coaches, selectors and officials for helping me in the journey”.