The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has on Friday sacked Sarfraz Ahmed as Test and Twenty20 International (T20I) captain following the drop in his overall form during the past few series.
Azhar Ali has been appointed national cricket team captain for Pakistan’s World Test Championship matches in the 2019-20 season, while Babar Azam has been named captain of the No.1 ranked T20I side until next year’s ICC T20 World Cup Australia 2020, which is now exactly one year away, said an official statement by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Seventh-ranked Pakistan will play fifth-ranked Australia in two Tests in Brisbane (21-25 November) and Adelaide (29 November-3 December (d/n)) before hosting Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for two Tests apiece.
Pakistan are also scheduled to play three T20Is each against Australia (3, 5 and 8 November) and Bangladesh before the curtain falls on their international domestic season in early February 2020.
Azhar Ali has been a mainstay of Pakistan’s batting line-up since making his debut against Australia at Lord’s in 2010. The 34-year-old is regarded as Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan’s prodigy and has scored 5,669 runs with 15 centuries and 31 half-centuries in 73 Tests.
Azhar had an excellent tour of Australia last time when Pakistan were there in 2016-17 when he had scores of 5, 71, 205 not out, 43, 71 and 11. His other scores against Australia in England and the UAE are 16, 42, 30, 51, 53, 30, 109, 100 not out, 18, 4, 15 and 64. This means the 21st ranked batsman in the world has aggregated 938 runs in nine Tests against Australia, his second most after Sri Lanka (1156 runs in 14 Tests).
In the ongoing four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Azhar is the second most successful batsman with 388 runs in four matches as his side Central Punjab leads the field with two wins.