LAHORE: Sarfaraz Ahmed has been retained as Pakistan captain while Babar Azam has been named as vice-captain for three One Day Internationals and three T20 International home series against Sri Lanka, which will be held from September 27 to October 9.
In April 2016, Sarfaraz was appointed Pakistan captain for the T20Is before being elevated as ODI captain in early 2017. He was then named captain across all formats following the 2017 tour of the West Indies. To date, Sarfaraz has captained Pakistan in 13 Tests, 48 ODIs and 34 T20Is, winning four, 26 and 29 matches respectively.
Babar Azam is ranked 16th in Tests, third in ODIs and No1 in T20Is, and has previously captained Pakistan in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012. He had also featured in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2010 before breaking into international cricket in 2015 and since has been a regular feature of the side in all formats.
The appointments were confirmed by PCB Chairman Mr Ehsan Mani, following recommendations made by Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq and the PCB Cricket Committee.
Sarfaraz Ahmed said, “I feel humbled and honoured to have been awarded extension to my captaincy term. I have enjoyed captaining the Pakistan cricket team and look forward to improve my leadership qualities under the new set-up of Misbah-ul-Haq who also has a proven record as captain.
“I have played most of my cricket under Misbah and we know each other pretty well. I think we will make a good combination, which will contribute to improved performances of the side across all formats.
“I am aware we have not done justice to our potential in ODIs, which has disappointed us as well as our fans. I am hopeful we will be able to turn things around in the coming season and in this relation, I remain committed to stepping up to the challenge with my performances and captaincy.
“I have complete faith in my team, which has time and again shown the talent, class and charisma it possesses. The only thing missing has been consistency, which Misbah and I would like to focus and improve across all departments of the game. I assure all our fans we will not leave any stone unturned in our preparations for the forthcoming assignments and will do our best to translate these preparations into solid performances.”
Ehsan Mani said Sarfaraz was an experienced campaigner who had excelled and improved as a leader with every match. He expressed faith in his abilities and said he would continue to blossom under Misbah’s wings.
“We have appointed Babar Azam as Sarfaraz’s vice-captain. This is part of Babar’s gradual development as a future captain and in line with our strategy of introducing a succession plan across the board so that there are no gaps. I am hopeful the trio of Misbah, Sarfaraz and Babar will do well for Pakistan cricket.”
Misbah-ul-Haq congratulated Sarfaraz on his confirmation as Pakistan captain and Babar on his appointment as vice-captain. “Both are one of the most talented and exceptionally gifted Pakistan cricketers and thoroughly deserve these assignments,” he said.
“Consistency has been my yardstick for recommending Sarfaraz as captain. Furthermore, I think I am better placed to get the best out of Sarfaraz as I know him better than most of the cricketers as he has played most of his cricket under my captaincy.
“I have emphasised on changing the dressing room culture and mind-set of the players to achieve better results, and I believe Sarfaraz is a perfect fit to help me attain these objectives.
“In the past couple of weeks, Sarfaraz and I have worked together on certain areas of his cricket that will enhance his overall performance. Both of us realise it is a performance-oriented world and we are expected to give our best every time we take the field. I look forward to working with him and hope we will succeed in changing the outlook of the Pakistan cricket team.”
Nineteen probables for the ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka will be announced on Monday, 16 September. The camp will commence at the National Cricket Academy from Wednesday, 18 September.
The 16-player ODI and T20I squads will be named on Monday, 23 September.