Pakistan name Sarfraz Ahmed as new ODI captain.Sarfraz Ahmed Named as Pakistan ODI Captain after Azhar step down. Sarfraz Ahmed on Thursday took a big stride towards the goal of becoming Pakistan’s captain in all three formats when the combative wicketkeeper-batsman was installed as the country’s One-day International skipper.
The ODI leadership was left vacant when the embattled Azhar Ali stepped down as captain allowing the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to give the team’s charge in the 50-over format to Sarfraz, the T20 captain.
Sarfraz was always the favourite to replace Azhar, whose tenure as ODI captain began on a promising note but soon took a disastrous turn. The opener was finally forced to quit in the wake of mounting pressure on his leadership following the 4-1 defeat in Australia earlier this year.
The Board announced on Thursday that Azhar informed PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan about his decision to step down as ODI captain.
Sarfraz Ahmed Named as Pakistan ODI Captain
“Azhar Ali recently called on Shaharyar Khan and informed him that he wished to relinquish the captaincy of Pakistan’s ODI team mainly because it was affecting his batting form,” a PCB statement said.
“Chairman PCB thanked him for his dignified leadership of the team and informed him that his standing in the team would not be affected by his relinquishing of the captaincy. After consulting relevant stakeholders, the Chairman has nominated Sarfraz Ahmed as captain of Pakistan’s ODI team for future series,” it added.
While PCB has decided to retain Azhar as a playing member of the ODI squad, he is set to miss Pakistan’s next ODI because of a one-match suspension for a slow over rate during the tour of Australia.
Pakistan’s leadership issues in one-day cricket had been discussed in January at a meeting attended by Shaharyar, chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Mushtaq Ahmed, the head coach at the National Cricket Academy, in Lahore. They were thought to be united in their belief that Sarfraz should take over the ODI captaincy but were going to wait until Misbah-ul-Haq retired to name a new Test captain.
Under Azhar’s leadership, Pakistan’s slipped to a record-low ninth in the ODI rankings. They rose one place since, to at least be in the running for direct qualification to the 2019 World Cup, and scraped into this year’s Champions Trophy — which features the top-eight teams.
Pakistan won only five out of ten bilateral series under Azhar, two of them against Zimbabwe, and one each against Ireland, Sri Lanka and West Indies. In all, Pakistan won 12 and lost 18 games under him.
The PCB had been thinking of removing Azhar for some time as well. In September last year, following a 4-1 loss in England, Shaharyar had asked Azhar to consider stepping down. Azhar decided to stay on, however, and led Pakistan to a 3-0 whitewash of West Indies in the UAE. That win left the PCB no choice but to retain him for the Australia tour. —with inputs from