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Sarfraz named Pakistan captain

04 July 2017

Dave Middleton


Dave Middleton


Champions Trophy hero fills void of Misbah retirement to lead Pakistan in all three formats

Sarfraz Ahmed has capped a remarkable six weeks to be confirmed as Pakistan's new Test captain, replacing the retired Misbah-ul-Haq.

The 30-year-old now captains Pakistan in all three formats of the game. He had held the T20 captaincy since taking over from Shahid Afridi following the 2016 World T20, and took over the one-day job from Azhar Ali in February this year following Pakistan's poor showing on their tour of Australia.

Sarfraz lead Pakistan's one-day side to a memorable Champions Trophy triumph last month, toppling arch-rivals India in a lopsided final to complete a stirring reversal of fortunes.

Having been smashed by India in the opening game of the tournament, Pakistan turned the form guide on its head to beat South Africa and then Sri Lanka, before ousting tournament hosts England in the semi-final to set up the rematch with India.

A fortnight after they were thrashed by the same opponent at Edgbaston to leave their campaign on a knife's edge and a cricket-mad nation demanding answers, Pakistan romped to a 180-run victory at The Oval to win their first major one-day title since the 1992 World Cup.

Pakistan thrash India to claim Champions Trophy

Sarfraz took the catch for the final wicket and following that tournament victory he was welcomed home as a national hero, with thousands packing the streets in front of his residence to celebrate the win.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan made the announcement at a function at the Pakistan Prime Minister's residence to honour the Champions Trophy winners. 

The announcement ends the uncertainty that followed Misbah's retirement after guiding Pakistan to their first ever Test series win in the Caribbean in May. Misbah had been Paksitan's longest serving and most successful Test skipper, and the team had briefly held the world No.1 Test ranking 12 months ago.

Sarfraz has had a long association with leadership roles for Pakistan. He was captain of the side that won the Under-19 World Cup in 2006, with his senior international debut coming a year later.

He spent several years in and out of the national team before earning a recall for the October 2014 limited-overs series against Australia in the UAE. He consolidated his position in the Test team as the No.1 wicketkeeper in that period and went on a hot streak, scoring three centuries and four fifties.

Sarfraz stands tall with sparkling fifty

Ahead of his retirement, Misbah nominated Sarfraz among the leaders to take Pakistan forward.

"The onus is now on the likes of Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed to step up and fill the void," Misbah wrote in his column before his final Test.

"When two Pakistan greats Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf left the scene, Younis and I tried to fill that gap.

"Azhar and Asad have developed in the meantime and now they are at a stage to replace us. We need Azhar and Asad to now take ownership of the Test side, and with players like Babar Azam, Umar Amin, Mohammad Rizwan, Ahmed Shehzad, Usman Salahuddin, Fawad Alam among others in the ranks I am hopeful that Pakistan will remain in good shape.

"Every team goes though transition periods and Pakistan is no different."

About the Writer


Dave Middleton is's senior news editor. From Queensland, he spent 10 years in the UK where he wrote for The Times, The Sunday Times, the Guardian and The Telegraph.