Azhar Ali appointed as ODI captain

"It's a big responsibility and I am happy and ready to take the challenge"

“It’s a big responsibility and I am happy and ready to take the challenge”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali has succeeded Misbah-ul-Haq as the country’s ODI captain after the latter retired from the format following the World Cup.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan confirmed that ul-Haq will continue leading the Test side, while Shahid Afridi will remain in charge of the Twenty20 team.

Khan also revealed that Sarfraz Ahmed has been appointed as the ODI and Twenty20 vice-captain, while former batsman Haroon Rasheed has been named as the new chief selector.

However, Khan added that these changes are only on a short-term basis.

“Using my constitutional right as chairman I have appointed Azhar Ali as Pakistan ODI captain,” Shaharyar said during a press conference in Lahore. “There were four to five recommendations for captaincy but I didn’t want to go back, and wanted to look ahead for young players. I know Azhar Ali was not in the team for the last two years, not even in the World Cup squad but his performance in the Pentangular Cup recently proved that he has the ability for the job.

“We wanted to built a team based on unity, spirit, fitness and discipline rather than having people with personal agendas. So I have discussed it with every stakeholder involved in the board and considering all aspects I have decided to appoint Azhar. He has the character, leadership quality, team spirit and has proved himself. We can’t afford to have a young, 22-year-old captain in our system but we have inducted Sarfraz Ahmed as vice-captain [in ODIs] to groom him in the rebuilding process.”

Even though Ali has not played an ODI since January 2013, he is confident that he is the right man for the job.

“I am fine with it as I am already assured full cooperation by the board and I am thankful to them for choosing me,” he said. “It’s a big responsibility and I am happy and ready to take the challenge.”

When asked how he intends to control players like Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad, Ali said: “I have captained them in the past and it shouldn’t be any problem in the future as well. They are good players and I hope they will be better in my captaincy.”

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