Babar named as Sarfaraz's deputy for Sri Lanka series

In April 2016, Sarfaraz was appointed Pakistan captain for the T20Is before being elevated as ODI captain in early 2017

Babar named as Sarfaraz's deputy for Sri Lanka series PHOTO: AFP

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani along with the Head Coach and Chief Selector Misbahul Haq, in a press conference at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, announced top-order batsman Babar Azam as the new vice-captain of the Pakistan cricket team on Friday.

Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed has been retained as captain for three One-day International (ODI) and three Twenty-20 International (T20I) home series against Sri Lanka, which will be held from September 27 to October 9.

In April 2016, Sarfaraz was appointed Pakistan captain for the T20Is before being elevated as ODI captain in early 2017. He was then named captain across all formats following the 2017 tour of the West Indies. To date, Sarfaraz has captained Pakistan in 13 Tests, 48 ODIs and 34 T20Is, winning four, 26 and 29 matches respectively.

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Babar Azam is ranked 16th in Tests, third in ODIs and number one in T20Is, and has previously captained Pakistan in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012. He had also featured in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2010 before breaking into international cricket in 2015 and since has been a regular feature of the side in all formats.

The appointments were confirmed by PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, following recommendations made by Misbah and the PCB Cricket Committee.

Sarfaraz stated that he was honoured to continue in the role of captain and was looking forward to working alongside Misbahul Haq.

 “I feel humbled and honoured to have been awarded extension to my captaincy term. I have enjoyed captaining the Pakistan cricket team and look forward to improve my leadership qualities under the new set-up of Misbah-ul-Haq who also has a proven record as captain,” said Sarfaraz. “I have played most of my cricket under Misbah and we know each other pretty well. I think we will make a good combination, which will contribute to improved performances of the side across all formats.”

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The Pakistan skipper admitted that the performance of the team had not been phenomenal and expressed hope of turning things around for the Men in Green.

“I am aware we have not done justice to our potential in ODIs, which has disappointed us as well as our fans. I am hopeful we will be able to turn things around in the coming season and in this relation, I remain committed to stepping up to the challenge with my performances and captaincy,” he said. “I have complete faith in my team, which has time and again shown the talent, class and charisma it possesses. The only thing missing has been consistency, which Misbah and I would like to focus and improve across all departments of the game. I assure all our fans we will not leave any stone unturned in our preparations for the forthcoming assignments and will do our best to translate these preparations into solid performances.”

The PCB Chairman expressed his faith in Sarfaraz and stated that Babar was being groomed for a leadership role in the future.

 “Sarfaraz is an experienced campaigner who has excelled and improved as a leader with every match. I have complete faith in his abilities and confident he will continue to blossom under Misbah’s wings,” said Mani. “We have appointed Babar Azam as Sarfaraz’s vice-captain. This is part of Babar’s gradual development as a future captain and in line with our strategy of introducing a succession plan across the board so that there are no gaps. I am hopeful the trio of Misbah, Sarfaraz and Babar will do well for Pakistan cricket.”

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The head coach and chief selector congratulated Sarfaraz and Babar on their appointments.

“I want to congratulate Sarfaraz on his confirmation as Pakistan captain and Babar on his appointment as vice-captain. Both are one of the most talented and exceptionally gifted Pakistan cricketers and thoroughly deserve these assignments,” said Misbah. “Consistency has been my yardstick for recommending Sarfaraz as captain. Furthermore, I think I am better placed to get the best out of Sarfaraz as I know him better than most of the cricketers as he has played most of his cricket under my captaincy.”

Misbah emphasised the need for changing the mind-set of the team in order to achieve better results in the future.

“I have emphasised on changing the dressing room culture and mind-set of the players to achieve better results, and I believe Sarfaraz is a perfect fit to help me attain these objectives,” he said. “In the past couple of weeks, Sarfaraz and I have worked together on certain areas of his cricket that will enhance his overall performance. Both of us realise it is a performance-oriented world and we are expected to give our best every time we take the field. I look forward to working with him and hope we will succeed in changing the outlook of the Pakistan cricket team.”

Nineteen probables for the ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka will be announced on Monday, September 16. The camp will commence at the National Cricket Academy from Wednesday, September 18.

The 16-player ODI and T20I squads will be named on Monday, September 23.