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Azhar Ali to be stripped off Test captaincy ahead of New Zealand tour: reports
Pakistan News

Azhar Ali to be stripped off Test captaincy ahead of New Zealand tour: reports

Azhar Ali may be removed from his post as the Pakistan Test captain when the team embarks on its tour of New Zealand scheduled to commence in December.

Azhar recently oversaw Pakistan's first Test series defeat to England in 10 years as the visitors were consigned to a 0-1 scoreline in their maiden international assignment since the coronavirus outbreak.

Azhar's tumultuous tenure in the Test leadership position began with a humiliating series whitewash in Australia where the endured successive defeats by an innings margin.

Subsequently, the 81-Test veteran captained Pakistan to their first home Test series in over a decade as his troops were able to clinch two victories in three games against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The decision to sack Azhar as skipper is reported to be caused by an unfavourable opinion harboured by the PCB Cricket Committee regarding his tactics on the field.

PCB CEO Wasim Khan told a private television channel earlier this week that a meeting would be held next month to deliberate on Azhar's future and finding a new chief selector to take over from Misbah-ul-Haq.

He was promoted to his current designation following the unceremonious removal of Sarfaraz Ahmed as captain and player from all three formats of the game.

The likely candidates understood to be in line to replace Azhar include white-ball skipper Babar Azam and wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan.

The latter was the standout performer for his team during the England tour where he was named Pakistan's player of the series. Rizwan also led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the National T20 Cup title by dominating Southern Punjab in the final at Rawalpindi.

This is not the only instance of Azhar reportedly losing his captaincy job as he had decided to resign from the ODI leadership responsibilities after the ill-fated England tour in 2016, prompting the board to appoint Sarfaraz in his place.

Azhar's batting form, meanwhile, was revived on the last match of the England series in August as he struck a terrific ton to help his team avoid another defeat.