Ahmed replaces Ali as Pakistan ODI captain


February 10, 2017
Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP):

Pakistan one-day international (ODI) captain Azhar Ali has stepped down, and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed as the new skipper.

Ahmed also leads Pakistan in Twenty20 internationals and will make his ODI captaincy debut against the West Indies in April.

The PCB said in a statement yesterday that Ali recently met with board chairman Shaharyar Khan and informed him that he wished to relinquish the captaincy "because it was affecting his batting form".

However, Khan told Ali that his place in the team will not be affected.

Some former test cricketers, including Wasim Akram and former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, criticised Ali's captaincy after Pakistan lost the ODI series in Australia, 4-1, last month.

The PCB surprisingly made Ali ODI captain soon after the World Cup in 2015, after which Misbah-ul-Haq quit the limited-overs captaincy.

Ali was not part of the Pakistan's World Cup squad, which was beaten in the quarter-finals by hosts Australia, and since then, his defensive approach in limited-overs cricket was often criticised by former cricketers.

Pakistan slipped to number eight in the world rankings during Ali's captaincy, winning only five of 10 bilateral ODI series. Two of those wins came against Zimbabwe.

Overall, Pakistan lost 18 ODIs under Ali's captaincy and won 12 matches.

"Azhar was under a lot of pressure and the writing was on the wall," Akhtar told Geo television. "He did the right thing to step down and we should endorse it."

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