Azhar Ali steps down as Pakistan captain, Sarfraz Ahmed to replace him

AFP, Feb, 09 2017

Dubai: Azhar Ali stepped down as Pakistan one-day captain after a string of poor results and will be replaced by Sarfraz Ahmed, the head of Pakistan's cricket board told AFP.

Ali's job was on the line since Pakistan's 4-1 defeat in England in September last year but he was given a lifeline after he led the side to a clean sweep against West Indies in the United Arab Emirates in September-October.

File photo of Azhar Ali. Reuters

File photo of Azhar Ali. Reuters

"Ali came to me and said that his batting form was affecting due to captaincy and that he wanted to step down, so we have appointed Sarfraz as one-day skipper," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan told AFP.

Sarfraz, who accepted the one-day captaincy, is already leading the Twenty20 side.

Ali managed just 37 in the three matches in Australia and missed the remaining two with injury.

Ali was surprisingly appointed captain after Misbah-ul-Haq retired from one-day cricket following Pakistan's quarter-final exit in the World Cup in 2015.

He led Pakistan in 31 one-day internationals winning 12 and losing 18. One match ended without result due to rain.

Under his captaincy Pakistan plummetted to ninth in one-day rankings. Currently at eighth Pakistan risks having to  qualify for the 2019 World Cup to be held in England.

The top seven teams plus hosts England will get direct entry in the 2019 World Cup while four other ranked teams will feature in a 10-team qualifying round in 2018.

Khan said Test captain Misbah's future is also in question.

Pakistan's 3-0 Test series loss in Australia in December-January -- their fourth consecutive whitewash -- had raised calls for his sacking.

"Misbah has asked for some time (about his future) so we have given him time to decide in the next few days," said Khan.

Pakistan players are currently featuring in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League in United Arab Emirates.

Their next international assignment is a three-match one-day and three-Test tour of the West Indies starting late March.

Published Date: Feb 09, 2017 | Updated Date: Feb 09, 2017

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4493 125
2 South Africa 3395 110
3 England 4097 105
4 Australia 3087 100
5 New Zealand 3114 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 5957 119
2 Australia 5505 117
3 India 4579 114
4 England 5645 113
5 New Zealand 5123 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 New Zealand 1625 125
2 England 1962 123
3 Pakistan 2417 121
4 West Indies 2222 117
5 India 2183 115