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Sarfraz Ahmed named Pakistan’s ODI captain

LAHORE: Sarfraz Ahmed has been appointed the captain of Pakistan ODI team, PCB chairman Shahryar Khan announced on Thursday.

Sarfraz has replaced Azhar Ali as the captain of the ODI format. Azhar held a meeting with Shahryar Khan in Dubai to inform of his decision to step down from the captaincy, the PCB chairman said.

Azhar Ali has also resigned from his position as Test vice-captain. He told the PCB chairman in the meeting that he wants to maintain his focus on his batting.

He had been under fire for his captaincy following Pakistan’s 4-1 defeat to Australia in the ODI series last month.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz is already the national team’s T20I captain and was also the vice-captain of the ODI team.

Azhar´s job was on the line since Pakistan’s 4-1 defeat in England in September last year but he was given a lifeline after he led the side to a clean sweep against West Indies in the United Arab Emirates in September-October.

Azhar managed just 37 in the three matches in Australia and missed the remaining two with injury.

Azhar was surprisingly appointed captain after Misbah-ul-Haq retired from one-day cricket following Pakistan´s quarter-final exit in the World Cup in 2015.

He led Pakistan in 31 one-day internationals winning 12 and losing 18. One match ended without result due to rain.

Under his captaincy, Pakistan plummetted to ninth in one-day rankings. Currently at eighth, Pakistan risks having to qualify directly for the 2019 World Cup to be held in England.

The top seven teams plus hosts England will get direct entry in the 2019 World Cup while four other ranked teams will feature in a 10-team qualifying round in 2018.

Shahryar Khan said Test captain Misbah´s future is also in question.

Pakistan´s 3-0 Test series loss in Australia in December-January — their fourth consecutive whitewash — had raised calls for his sacking.

Pakistan players are currently featuring in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League in United Arab Emirates.

Their next international assignment is a three-match one-day and three-Test tour of the West Indies starting late March.

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