AFP/ Lahore, Pakistan
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.
“It’s an honour to lead my country,” said Azhar, who was himself sacked after losing 4-1 against Australia in a one-day series in 2017.
Pakistan will next play three Twenty20 internationals in Australia in November ahead of two Test matches.
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