Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Sarfaraz axed as Pakistan captain ahead of Aussie tour
Pakistan's experienced leader has been removed as captain based on "poor performance" in a recent series against Sri Lanka
18 October 2019, 07:06 PM AEST
Pakistan have opted for a change of captaincy ahead of their November tour of Australia, with Sarfaraz Ahmed removed from his post as Twenty20 and Test skipper on Friday
Senior batsman Azhar Ali will replace Sarfaraz as Test skipper, while Babar Azam will lead the Twenty20 side, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said.
"It has been a difficult decision to drop Sarfaraz Ahmed, who has performed well as a player and a leader," PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said on Friday in a statement.
"But, his loss in form and confidence is visible and, in the best interest of the team, it has been decided to leave him out and provide him the opportunity to reflect and regroup himself and try to reclaim his form away from international cricket."
The change in leadership comes a week after the 32-year-old led Pakistan to a shocking 3-0 home defeat against an inexperienced Sri Lanka.
The three-match series in Lahore gave the visitors their first Twenty20 series win against Pakistan in seven attempts. Sri Lanka were missing 10 of their top players, including regular T20 captain Lasith Malinga, who refused to tour Pakistan over security fears.
The change is seen as surprising despite the Sri Lanka whitewash. Pakistan had reached number one in the world T20 rankings under Sarfaraz, winning 11 series along the way. He also scored the most runs of any Pakistani batsman in 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.
"These are exciting times in Pakistan cricket with a new team management. As a captain, I feel comfortable that there will be a 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."
Pakistan’s first match on Australian soil will take place at the SCG on November 3.
Gillette T20 Internationals v Sri Lanka
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
First T20: October 27, Adelaide Oval, 2pm (Fox & Kayo)
Second T20: October 30, Gabba, 6.10pm (Fox & Kayo)
Third T20: November 1, MCG, 7.10pm (Fox & Kayo)
Gillette T20 Internationals v Pakistan
First T20: November 3, SCG, 2.30pm (Fox & Kayo)
Second T20: November 5, Manuka Oval, 7.10pm (Fox & Kayo)