Azhar Ali could lose captaincy of Test team
Months after Sarfaraz Ahmed was sacked as the captain of Pakistan cricket team, Azhar Ali too is set to lose his Test captaincy. According to reports, either Babar Azam or Mohammad Rizwan could replace the latter as the Test captain. Notably, the change is likely to happen ahead of Pakistan's upcoming New Zealand tour (in December). Here is more on the same.
What is the reason behind this move?
It is understood that Azhar has lost favor with an influential member of the cricket committee. Meanwhile, the PCB chairman and CEO are also having second thoughts about retaining him as captain. Moreover, his recent captaincy graph has been dismal. He was named the captain in Test format last year, after sacking of Sarfaraz Ahmed as captain and player across formats.
How has Azhar fared as captain?
Azhar's captaincy stint commenced from the Australian tour in 2019, wherein Pakistan were cleaned up 0-2. However, they defeated Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the succeeding Test series at home, before the COVID-19 pandemic stalled cricket. In July, as cricket was reinstated, they were beaten by England 0-1 in the three-match Test series despite impressive performances from the core group.
His numbers while leading Pakistan
In captaincy of Azhar, Pakistan have won mere two Tests out of nine, losing as many as four. They have also drawn three Tests. While leading the side, his own batting average has also dropped to 37.07, as compared to his overall (42.86).
Babar, Rizwan in contention to replace Azhar
Both Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan are in contention to replace Azhar as the Test captain. The former is already leading Pakistan in white-ball cricket and has the required experience to replicate so in Test cricket. On the other hand, Rizwan recently led his team Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the National T20 Championship title and is said to be the favorite to replace Azhar.
Azhar's fate to be decided soon
PCB CEO Wasim Khan reiterated a meeting could be held on November 11, to decide Azhar's fate. The committee will also find a new chief selector as head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has stepped down from the post. Notably, a 22-member squad was recently announced for the upcoming limited-overs series against Zimbabwe. All-rounder Shadab Khan was also appointed the vice-captain in white-ball cricket.