Azhar steps down as ODI skipper, Misbah seeks time to decide his future

Azhar steps down as ODI skipper, Misbah seeks time to decide his future
Misbah Ul Haq and Azhar Ali.

Azhar Ali has relinquished the captaincy of the Pakistan One-Day International team, but Misbah-ul-Haq has sought time to decide on his future as Test captain, Shaharyar Khan, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, has confirmed.

“Azhar told me that captaincy was affecting his batting form, and he has therefore stepped down from the leadership role,” Shaharyar told ARY NEWS on Thursday (February 9). “Sarfraz Ahmed will take over as the captain of the ODI and Twenty20 International teams. We offered him both the roles, and he was happy to accept them.”

Azhar has overseen series losses in England and Australia in the last five months, and made scores of 24, 7 and 6 in his three appearances in Australia last month. He has made just two half-centuries and a hundred in his last 23 innings as captain.

Khan had said openly during the Australia tour that Azhar had lost confidence as skipper and that a series defeat could end his tenure, which controversially started after Misbah retired from one-day cricket following the 2015 World Cup.

That was after Azhar stubbornly refused to step down as skipper following defeat in England.

“We need to match the rest of the world, who seems to be playing ODI cricket on Jupiter. We are on Earth, so I hope this change will help that lift. Pakistan’s ODI team needs to change the mindset. Look at England, how they transformed after the 2015 World Cup,” said Wasim Akram.

“Since the 2015 World Cup, England have scored 350-plus eight times as compared to only two before that. Look at India, who chase down 350-plus like a cakewalk. We are the only side amongst the top eight who have yet to make 400.”So I hope the mindset will change

“So I hope the mindset will change, which, with due respect to Azhar, was not happening.”