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Babar Azam appointed Pakistan Test captain in place of Azhar Ali
Pakistan News

Babar Azam appointed Pakistan Test captain in place of Azhar Ali

Babar Azam has been appointed Pakistan's new Test captain, making him the team's leader across all three formats.

The world No. 5 Test batsman's first assignment in charge of the Test side will be the two-match series against New Zealand next month starting with the Boxing Day game in Mount Maunganui.

Babar's promotion to the role of Pakistan's Test skipper comes at the back of the sacking of Azhar Ali from the important position.

Azhar captained Pakistan during their series defeat to England earlier this summer where he was criticised for supposed tactical errors in the agonising loss in the first Test.

Pakistan were close to gaining the lead in the three-match series after reducing England to 117-5 in pursuit of the 277-run target at Old Trafford.

England were then let off the hook as Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler starred in a breathtaking stand to clinch a stunning come-from-behind win for the hosts.

Azhar's tenure lasted a little over a year after he was handed the captaincy job following the removal of Sarfaraz Ahmed at the helm of the side.

Azhar's maiden stint as the permanent red-ball skipper saw Pakistan crash to humiliating defeats by an innings margin in the Australia tour.

Later, he led the team during a successful international home season, which marked the return of Test cricket in Pakistan following a decade. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 1-0 over the two matches and won the Rawalpindi Test against Bangladesh.

Assessing Azhar's reign as the Test captain, PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said: “I want to thank Azhar Ali for stepping up last year by captaining the side in what was a historic first home Test series in over a decade."

"I believe Azhar still has a lot of cricket left in him and Pakistan cricket can continue to make the best use of his experience and knowledge as specialist top-order batsman moving forward," he added.

Meanwhile, Babar has established himself as Pakistan's premier all-formats batsman with his heroics consistently being a feature of Pakistan's international outings.

Babar was named Pakistan's ODI leader in May in addition to the T20I duties. Although Pakistan endured a Super Over loss in the third ODI against Zimbabwe, they stormed to a series whitewash in the T20I encounters.

“Babar Azam was identified at a very young age as a future leader and as part of his progression and development, he was appointed white-ball captain last year. With his consistent performance and leadership skills, he has demonstrated that he is ready to take on the additional responsibilities of a captain," Mani claimed.

“As we are looking into the future, it is appropriate that we appoint him the captain now so that he continues to grow stronger with every match," he reiterated.

Babar reacted to the news positively and looked forward to fulfilling his responsibilities with perfection.

“I feel truly honoured to have been appointed Test captain and join some of the most iconic players who have captained Pakistan in the purest format of the game. I can now say with conviction that dreams can come true only if you chase them with honesty, dedication and commitment," he was quoted as saying in the PCB press release.

“I am ready and prepared to take up the additional responsibility and the fact which gives me additional confidence is that I can do the job is the experience that is available to me in the changing room in the shape of the players and support staff," he stated.