Azhar Ali quits as Pakistan’s ODI captain, T20 captain Sarfaraz to replace him

Azhar Ali informed the PCB that he is ready to step down as captain of Pakistan’s ODI team following the 4–1 defeat in Australia.

Pakistan senior batsman Azhar Ali on Thursday stepped down as the ODI captain after a meeting with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan in Dubai. Azhar Ali stepped down as Pakistan one-day captain after a string of poor results and will be replaced by Sarfraz Ahmed, the head of Pakistan’s cricket board told AFP.

Ali’s job was on the line since Pakistan’s 4–1 defeat in England in September last year but he was given a lifeline after he led the side to a clean sweep against West Indies in the United Arab Emirates in September-October.

“Azhar met me today and offered to step down as one-day captain as he says it has been affecting his own performances,” Khan told the media in Dubai.
“I have spoken to Sarfraz Ahmed and he has given his consent to take over as the ODI captain,” Khan said. “We have appointed Sarfraz as the new ODI captain,” he added.

Sarfraz, who has impressed while leading Pakistan Super League (PSL) side Quetta Gladiators as well as the Pakistan T20I team, will take over with immediate effect; meaning that he will be captaining the side in Pakistan’s next assignment to the West Indies.

Ali managed just 37 in the three matches in Australia and missed the remaining two with injury. Ali was surprisingly appointed captain after Misbah-ul-Haq retired from one-day cricket following Pakistan’s quarter-final exit in the World Cup in 2015.

He led Pakistan in 31 one-day internationals winning 12 and losing 18. One match ended without result due to rain. Under his captaincy, Pakistan plummeted to ninth in one-day rankings. Currently at eighth Pakistan risks having to qualify for the 2019 World Cup to be held in England.

Khan said Test captain Misbah’s future is also in question. Pakistan’s 3–0 Test series loss in Australia in December-January — their fourth consecutive whitewash — had raised calls for his sacking.

“Misbah has asked for some time (about his future) so we have given him time to decide in the next few days,” said Khan.

Pakistan players are currently featuring in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League in United Arab Emirates.

Their next international assignment is a three-match one-day and three-Test tour of the West Indies starting late March.

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