'Biggest thing in my career,' Babar Azam ecstatic after being named Pakistan's T20I skipper
With a 0-3 scoreline versus a second-stringed Sri Lankan side in the home T20Is, criticism resumed for Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed. After a rather disappointing campaign in the 2019 World Cup, Sarfaraz was expected to lead from the front as international cricket resumed in Pakistan. However, nothing of that sort happened and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) took the inevitable step on Friday (October 18).
The 32-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman was not only sacked from Test and T20I captaincy but also removed from the respective sides ahead of the Australian tour. With the board stressing more towards the longer format and T20Is due to the ongoing ICC Test Championship and the next T20I World Cup, in 2020, the Men in Green have appointed Azhar Ali and Babar Azam as Sarfaraz's replacements in both the formats respectively.
After his appointment, the 25-year-old batsman reacted to the new development. "To be named the 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," in an official release.
Babar further pointed out, "Sarfaraz Ahmed has led the side in the shortest format by example. Now, it is my responsibility to take forward his accomplishments. So that we remain a consistent, attractive and powerful side."
Babar is well aware of the challenges lying ahead, beginning with the Australia tour. He will have to maintain his side's number-one rank in the format and also build a core for the upcoming World Cup. The right-hander would like to use his experience of leading the junior men's team in the 2012 U-19 World Cup.
Despite all the criticism, Sarfaraz had a splendid record as a T20I skipper, winning 29 out of 37 games. Hence, the task won't be easy for Babar.
Pakistan's tour of Australia commences from November 3, where they play three T20Is and two Tests. So far, they have played a solitary T20I Down Under and lost.