The Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday sacked Sarfaraz Ahmed as captain of the cricket team from all three formats of the game. The decision was not exactly a surprise, but did raise some eyebrows because Sarfaraz was the most successful T20 skipper for the country.
Senior batsman Azhar Ali will replace Sarfaraz as Test skipper, while Babar Azam will lead the T20I side. Babar Azam Azam has been appointed skipper until next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia, while Azhar will remain in charge for the 2019-2020 season.
“Sarfaraz has been replaced… on poor performance,” PCB said in a press release.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday apologised for an ill-timed tweet, posted at the time of Sarfaraz Ahmed’s removal as captain of the national time.
The tweet which has been deleted showed a gif of Fakhar Zaman dancing in front of Sarfaraz as he sent off during some training session.
— Osman Samiuddin (@OsmanSamiuddin) October 18, 2019
“The PCB apologies for this post and accepts the timing of it was wrong,” PCB said in a tweet.
The board further said, “This was a pre-planned post as part of the one-year to go T20 WorldCup promotional campaign. The timing of this post clashed with the captaincy announcement for which the PCB offers its regrets.”
The PCB apologies for this post and accepts the timing of it was wrong. This was a pre-planned post as part of the one-year to go #T20WorldCup promotional campaign. The timing of this post clashed with the captaincy announcement for which the PCB offers its regrets.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) October 18, 2019
Sarfaraz has been under immense pressure since World Cup 2019, largely due to the team’s performances but also because of his own form with both bat and behind the wickets. After the recent T20I humiliation to Sri Lanka, Sarfaraz has been facing severe criticism regarding his role in the team both as a captain and player. However, 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.
Reacting on appointed as test team captain, 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.”
He added, “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,” Azhar Ali added.
Babar Azam said: “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.”
Pakistan will next play three T20 internationals in Australia in November ahead of two Test matches.