Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed has been named as ODI captain after Azhar Ali decided to step down from the role on Thursday.
Sarfraz, who has impressed while leading Pakistan Super League (PSL) side Quetta Gladiators as well as the Pakistan T20I team, will take over with immediate effect; meaning that he will be captaining the side in Pakistan’s next assignment to the West Indies.
That series may well decide which of the two sides will directly qualify for the next World Cup in England.
“Azhar Ali decided to step down from ODI captaincy and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management has decided to make Sarfraz Ahmed as the next ODI captain,” a Pakistan Cricket Board official told The Express Tribune.
“The PCB management including Chairman and Executive committee member are present in Dubai for opening of PSL where they have decided to give ODI captaincy to Sarfraz who have been a successful captain in T20 format,” he added.
There had been calls from several quarters to sack Azhar, who replaced Misbahul Haq as the ODI captain, after an underwhelming stint that saw him win just five of his matches as captain against the top eight sides — all coming against Sri Lanka.
Azhar Ali resigns from Test vice captaincy
Azhar Ali later also resigned from the vice captaincy post in the five-day format. The 31-year-old confirmed the news on his official twitter account.