Sarfraz to replace Azhar Ali as Pakistan's ODI skipper

Azhar Ali led Pakistan in 31 ODIs winning 12 and losing 18. Under his captaincy Pakistan plummeted to ninth in ODI rankings. Currently at eighth Pakistan risks having to qualify for the 2019 World Cup to be held in England.

Azhar Ali stepped down as Pakistan's ODI skipper following the team's poor results in Australia and his mediocre run with the bat.   -  Reuters

Azhar Ali stepped down as Pakistan One-Day International captain after a string of poor results and will be replaced by Sarfraz Ahmed, the head of Pakistan's cricket board told AFP.

Ali'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.

"Ali came to me and said that his batting form was affecting due to captaincy and that he wanted to step down, so we have appointed Sarfraz as one-day skipper," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan told AFP.

Sarfraz, who accepted the one-day captaincy, is already leading the Twenty20 side.

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

Ali was surprisingly appointed captain after Misbah-ul-Haq retired from one-day cricket following Pakistan's quarterfinal exit in the World Cup in 2015.

He led Pakistan in 31 ODIs winning 12 and losing 18. One match ended without result due to rain.

Under his captaincy Pakistan plummeted to ninth in ODI rankings. Currently at eighth Pakistan risks having to qualify for the 2019 World Cup to be held in England.

The top seven teams plus host 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.

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

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

"Misbah has asked for some time (about his future) so we have given him time to decide in the next few days," said Khan.

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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