Azhar Ali named Pakistan ODI captain

Azhar Ali

The Pakistan Cricket board have named batsman Azhar Ali as their new one-day international captain even though he has not made the 50-over team in more than two years.

Thirty-year-old Ali replaces Misbah-ul-Haq who retired from playing ODI’s after Pakistan were eliminated from the World Cup at the quarter final stage.

Pakistan were knocked out of the Cricket world cup by Australia who went on to win the world cup this past weekend.

Ali has played just 14 ODIs, the most recent in January 2013, when he contributed two with the bat as Pakistan beat arch-rivals India by 85 runs at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.

He was not even included in the final 15-man World Cup squad, but Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan insisted he had proved himself in the domestic Pentangular Cup.

“Azhar Ali has been appointed captain because of his leadership skills, team spirit and character,” Khan told reporters.

“I know Azhar Ali was not in the team in the last two years but his performance in the pentangular series proved that he deserves to be the captain.”

Ali was also named as vice-captain for the Test side, which Misbah will continue to lead, while big-hitting allrounder Shahid Afridi stays on as Twenty20 skipper.

Wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed was named vice-captain for both ODIs and T20s, a move that appears to cement his place in the side.

The 27-year-old was left out for the early matches of the World Cup but when he was finally called up, he responded with some dazzling glovework and Pakistan’s first century in the tournament since 2007 in the last group game against Ireland.

Misbah led the side in 87 of his 162 ODIs, winning 45 of them, and has been a beacon of dogged stability in the often-turbulent world of Pakistani cricket in recent years.

Ali acknowledged he had a hard act to follow.

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