Sarfaraz Ahmed has been axed as the captain of Pakistan in both Tests and T20I formats as they aim to get back to winning ways and prepare for the World Test Championship and the upcoming World T20 in Australia. He has also been dropped from the team for the upcoming international tours.
The wicketkeeper-batsman has now been replaced by Azhar Ali as the captain in red-ball cricket while Babar Azam will lead the side in T20Is. The decision to remove him from captaincy was taken after he was dropped from both the formates due to his poor form.
After being sacked as captain, Sarfaraz expressed his gratitude towards the Pakistan Cricket Board and wished Azhar Ali and Babar Azam all the luck for the future.
"It has been an honour to lead Pakistan at the highest level. I want to thank all my colleagues, coaches and selectors who have helped me in this journey. My good wishes are with Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and the Pakistan cricket team, and I hope they will continue to grow stronger and stronger."
Pakistan's next assignment will be the three-match T20Is against Australia and then go on to play two Tests against the Baggy Greens Down Under before hosting Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for two Tests each.
Pakistan will also play three T20Is against Bangladesh.
"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.
"These are exciting times in Pakistan cricket with a new team management. As a captain, I feel comfortable that there will be number of knowledgeable people in the hut who I can rely for advice and guidance.
"I am not only targeting wins, but also aim to provide opportunities to players to grow in stature and express themselves so that Pakistan cricket can resume its journey to the top. I have always played my cricket the hard way but in a fair manner, and will ensure I continue to uphold the spirit of cricket and enhance the image of the team and the country," Azhar Ali said.
Babar Azam also expressed his happiness after being named the captain of the No.1 T20I side in the world.
"To be named captain of the No.1 ranked side in the world is the biggest thing that has happened to my career to date. I am ready for this challenge and also willing to learn more in the process. I feel it has been a natural progression for me and I am delighted that the PCB has put faith in my capabilities.
"Sarfaraz Ahmed has led the side in the shortest format by example and it is my responsibility to take forward his accomplishments so that we remain a consistent, attractive and powerful side."
PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, who approved the appointments, also had say on the appointments and thanked Sarfaraz for his contribution.
"I want to congratulate Azhar Ali and Babar Azam on their elevations to the most coveted and prestigious jobs in cricket. It is a reward for their continued hard work in strive for excellence and I am sure they, like their predecessors, will make the country proud with their performance, leadership and sportsmanship.
"It has been a difficult decision to drop Sarfaraz Ahmed, who has performed well as a player and a leader. But, his loss in form and confidence is visible and, in the best interest of the team, it has been decided to leave him out and provide him the opportunity to reflect and regroup himself and try to reclaim his form away from international cricket.
"Sarfaraz Ahmed’s contributions are second to none and being the gutsy cricketer and fighter that we all know he is, I have no doubts he will be back in Pakistan colours at some stage," Mani concluded.