Reports: Azhar Ali set to be sacked as Pakistan's Test captain ahead of New Zealand tour

Azhar Ali is now looking set to be sacked as captain and it would not be surprising if he is dropped from the side too.

Azhar Ali
Azhar Ali. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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Azhar Ali is reportedly set to lose Pakistan’s Test captaincy ahead of their tour of New Zealand later this year. Media reports are suggesting that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) wants to change the Test captain again in order to name a younger captain for the side. Limited-overs skipper Babar Azam and wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan are in contention to replace Azhar Ali.

Azhar was named the Test captain last year when PCB had sacked Sarfaraz as the skipper across formats. But things have not gone well for the veteran batsman since then. Pakistan have failed to deliver under his captaincy and the 35-year old’s poor form with the bat has only made things tougher for him. Azhar, in fact, has been struggling with poor form for last two years.

Barring the century against Sri Lanka in Karachi last year and another fighting century in England earlier this year, he has failed to play any substantial knock in recent months. During the same tour of England, his captaincy was criticized too with Pakistan legend Wasim Akram openly expressing his disappointment over Azhar’s decisions as captain.

Akram’s comments had come after England chased down 277 to take the lead in the three-match Test series. The hosts were reeling at 117 for 5 and Pakistan were looking favourites to win the clash. However, the visitors failed to contain Jos Buttler (75) and Chris Woakes (84 not out) as the duo forged a 139-run stand to help the hosts go 1-0 up.

Azhar Ali’s captaincy record

Azhar Ali’s captaincy stint started with the tour of Australia and it was a series to forget for him and for his side. Pakistan had lost both the matches by innings as the hosts made light work of them. It was followed by a series win against Sri Lanka at home and another Test win against Bangladesh before suffering another loss in England.

Azhar is now looking set to be sacked as captain and it would not be surprising if he is dropped from the side too. According to ESPNcricinfo, his annual appraisal is being carried out, and PCB CEO Wasim Khan had already met him. PCB is expected to make the announcement soon.