Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali has been ruled out of the second ODI against Australia in Melbourne on Sunday after failing to sufficiently recover from a hamstring injury.
Azhar sustained the injury while running between the wickets in the first ODI in Brisbane on Friday, where he retired hurt on 12 before returning later on and getting dismissed for 24.
To make matters worse, Azhar is also expected to miss the third ODI in Perth on Thursday, but according to a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) release, the national team believe the 31-year-old will “recover quickly and … return to play in Sydney and Adelaide”.
With Azhar out for the second ODI and possibly the third as well, Pakistan have confirmed that veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez will take over as captain.
Hafeez does have experience leading Pakistan in Test cricket and Twenty20 Internationals, but has never been captain in an ODI.
Regular vice-captain Sarfraz Ahmed would have been handed the captaincy ahead of Hafeez, but he returned home prior to the start of the ODI series after his mother was admitted to the Intense Care Unit (ICU) in Karachi.
Pakistan trail Australia 1-0 going into the second ODI as they were thrashed by 92 runs in Brisbane.