Sarfaraz stripped off captaincy in Tests and T20Is
Pakistan Cricket Board has wielded the axe on their under-fire all-format skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, stripping him of captaincy and dropping him for the upcoming tour of Australia, where they will play three T20Is and kick-start their World Test Championship campaign with two Tests. The big move comes exactly 12 months ahead of the T20 World Cup, to be played in Australia.
PCB has handed the Test reigns to Azhar Ali, while the T20 captaincy goes to Babar Azam.
Under Sarfaraz Ahmed's captaincy, Pakistan won the Champions Trophy in 2017 and rose to the top of the T20I rankings, but the tough call from the board comes in the aftermath of the team's home series defeat to a severely-depleted Sri Lanka in T20Is.
Azhar Ali is currently Pakistan's leading batsman in the Test format and had also quit ODI cricket last year in order to focus on the longest format of the game. Currently, he has 15 centuries and has scored more than 5600 runs in Tests.
"There is no bigger honour than to captain the Pakistan national cricket team in the pinnacle format of the game," Azhar Ali said following the appointment. "I feel humbled, excited and privileged, and with the support of the team, look forward to justifying the faith that has been entrusted upon me for the World Test Championship.
"Sarfaraz Ahmed has done an excellent job in transforming raw talent into experienced players and I now look forward to inspiring those skillful players in our endeavours to collectively achieve our World Test Championship objectives and beyond."
Babar is currently the world's number one ranked T20I batsman and was also the vice captain during the recently concluded Sri Lanka series.