LAHORE -- Azhar Ali has been appointed national cricket team captain for Pakistan's World Test Championship matches in the 2019-20 season while Babar Azam has been named captain of the no.1 ranked T20I side until next year's ICC T20 World Cup Australia 2020.
The appointments were confirmed after Sarfaraz Ahmed was left out of both formats due to the drop in his overall form during the past few series.
Seventh-ranked Pakistan would play fifth-ranked Australia in two Tests in Brisbane (November 21-25) and Adelaide (November 29- December 3(d/n)) before hosting Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for two Tests apiece.
Pakistan team has also schedule to play three T20Is each against Australia (November 3, 5 and 8) and Bangladesh before the curtain falls on their international domestic season in early February 2020.
Azhar Ali has been a mainstay of Pakistan's batting line-up since making his debut against Australia at Lord's in 2010. The 34-year-old is regarded as Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan's prodigy and has scored 5,669 runs with 15 centuries and 31 half-centuries in 73 Tests.
Azhar had an excellent tour of Australia last time when Pakistan were there in 2016-17 when he had scores of 5, 71, 205 not out, 43, 71 and 11. His other scores against Australia in England and the UAE are 16, 42, 30, 51, 53, 30, 109, 100 not out, 18, 4, 15 and 64. This means the 21st ranked batsman in the world has aggregated 938 runs in nine Tests against Australia, his second most after Sri Lanka (1156 runs in 14 Tests).
In the ongoing four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Azhar is the second most successful batsman with 388 runs in four matches as his side Central Punjab leads the field with two wins.
Reacting to the news, Azhar Ali said on Friday "There is no bigger honor than to captain the Pakistan national cricket team in the pinnacle format of the game. 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 endeavors to collectively achieve our World Test Championship objectives and beyond", he said.
"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...