Sarfraz new ODI captain, as Azhar Ali steps down

Azhar Ali's ill-fated tenure as Pakistan's ODI skipper has come to an end after a PCB announcement declared Sarfraz Ahmed to be the new 50-over Captain of the National side.

"Azhar Ali informed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan that he is ready to step down as captain, after which the PCB appointed Sarfraz captain", the sources added.

Besides Azhar's captaincy, according to sources, the side's Test skipper Misbah told the PCB that he needs some time to decide whether he will remain Test captain or not and will reach a decision after the Pakistan Super League.

The captaincy shake-up comes in the wake of Pakistan's debacle in the Australia ODI series on their home soil.

He was appointed captain after Misbah-ul-Haq retired from one-day cricket in 2015.

Following the team's 1-4 defeat in Australia, the noose tightened on Azhar with several former players publicly calling for his removal. He led Pakistan in 31 ODI's, winning 12 and losing 18, while one ended in no result. 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.

Meanwhile, under Sarfraz's leadersip, Pakistan have picked up wins in all 4 T20Is.

Even though Azhar got a reprieve during the 3-0 hammering of West Indies at UAE, it proved to be a false dawn as Pakistan's inability to adapt to the modern-day aspects of ODI cricket was exposed in Australia. Azhar went on to lead the side to the wrong side of a whitewash against Bangladesh in Bangladesh, and subsequent miserly performances in England and Astralia, where they team won only one of their five scheduled ODIs.

  • Stacy Allen