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PCB chairman Ehsan Mani reveals why Sarfaraz Ahmed was sacked

Azhar Ali replaced the Karachi cricketer as the captain in Tests while Babar Azam became the new T20I captain.

Ehsan Mani
Ehsan Mani. (Photo Source: Twitter)

It was being apprehended for some time and finally, the lightning struck on Friday. Sarfaraz Ahmed, who has been leading Pakistan in Tests and T20Is, got axed – not only from the captaincy but also from the team. It was reported on Thursday that clouds were looming over the wicketkeeper-batsman’s captaincy and the fears came to be true eventually.

Azhar Ali replaced the Karachi cricketer as the captain in Tests while Babar Azam became the new T20I captain. Babar was recently elevated as the team’s vice-captain in the home series against a depleted Sri Lanka side that Pakistan lost 0-3.

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The decision for the ODIs was still pending since Pakistan will not be playing in the 50-over format for some time now (their next ODI engagement is against the Netherlands in July 2020). Also, vice-captains in Tests and T20Is will also be announced later. Sarfaraz captained Pakistan in 13 Tests since 2017, winning four, losing eight and drawing one.

In the ODIs, Sarfaraz led his country on 50 occasions, winning 28 times and losing 20. Two matches remained inconclusive. Sarfaraz’s best captaincy record was registered in the T20Is in which he led the Men in Green to win 29 times out of 37 games and losing just eight. Sarfaraz’s biggest success, however, came in the ODIs when he captained Pakistan to win the Champions Trophy in England in 2017, thrashing arch-rivals India by 180 runs in the final.

‘Decision on Sarfaraz was not an easy one’

Speaking on the ouster of Sarfaraz, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani conceded that it was not an easy task to do. “It has been a difficult decision to drop Sarfaraz Ahmed, who has performed well as a player and a leader. But his loss in form and confidence is visible and, in the best interest of the team, it has been decided to leave him out,” he said.

Sarfaraz, 32, came under scrutiny in recent times after Pakistan failed to inspire under his leadership at the ICC World Cup 2019. They failed to make the semi-finals and although the coaching staff was shown the way, Sarfaraz survived another day. He led Pakistan to a 2-0 win over the Lankans in the ODIs at home but the humiliation in the T20Is saw his downfall.

Sarfaraz has scored just one fifty since the World Cup while his last half-century in the T20Is came in June last year. In the longer format. He averaged less than 30 since the beginning of 2018. Pakistan next travel to Australia for three T20Is and two Tests, starting November 3.

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