Biggest thing that has happened to me: Babar Azam after being named Pakistan T20I captain
Babar Azam will take over T20I captaincy from Sarfaraz Ahmed (AP Photo)
- Babar Azam has been named Pakistan T20I captain, Azhar Ali appointed Test skipper
- Sarfaraz Ahmed will continue to lead the national team in ODI cricket
- Babar and Azhar's first assignments as captain will be in the upcoming T20I and Test series in Australia next month
Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday handed over the captaincy of the Test and T20I teams to Azhar Ali and Babar Azam, respectively, ending days of speculation over Sarfaraz Ahmed's future as skipper of the national team in all three formats.
Sarfaraz Ahmed was sacked as captain from both formats and removed from the squad for the upcoming tour to Australia where they will play a series of three T20Is and kick-start their World Test Championship campaign with two Tests.
Babar, who made his debut in 2015, is relatively inexperienced in international cricket as compared to Azhar Ali, who had led Pakistan in ODIs for two years between 2015-2017. But 25-year-old Babar is determined to make this opportunity count and take Sarfaraz's accomplishments forward as the leader in the shortest format.
"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.
"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," Babar said in a statement released by the PCB.
JUST IN: Sarfaraz Ahmed has been removed as Pakistan's Test and T20I captain. Azhar Ali and Babar Azam will replace him. pic.twitter.com/3OhXWYbrCGICC (@ICC) October 18, 2019
Azhar meanwhile, was thankful to have gotten the chance to lead the team in the longest format after his stint as ODI captain.
"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 said.
Pakistan had won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 under Sarfaraz after beating India in the final and rose to the top of the T20I rankings during his tenure. His axing however, was on the cards owing to their dismal performance in the 50-over World Cup followed by the recent home series defeat to a second-string Sri Lankan team in T20Is.