Azhar retained as ODI skipper for WI series


Karachi—The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has once again put its faith in Azhar Ali’s leadership as the right-handed batsman has been retained as ODI skipper for the series against the West Indies in the UAE.
The three-match series starts on Sept 30 in Sharjah.
Azhar’s captaincy came under scrutiny following his side’s 1-4 series thrashing in England this summer, with rumours suggesting that the 31-year-old would either resign or would be removed as the leader in the 50-over format.
Earlier, PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan had also said that they would discuss Azhar’s position as the captain of the ODI side once the team returns back home.
The PCB official, however, confirmed that nothing is going to change and Azhar would continue to lead the team against the Caribbean side, the ANI news agency reported.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Hafeez, who is still struggling with his fitness, has been dropped from the 22-member preliminary list handed to the PCB by former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq led selection committee.
Test opener Sami Aslam and veteran paceman Umar Gul have also failed to make it to the preliminary list, following their poor performance against England in the ODI series while Umar Akmal and young left-arm pacer Rumman Raees have been included in the list.
In contrast, fast-bowler Mohammad Irfan, who bowled just five overs after replacing Hafeez on the England tour, has been named in the 22-man squad.
Besides ODIs, Pakistan will also play three T20s and three Tests against the West Indies in the UAE.
Former cricket legend Wasim Akram thinks Azhar Ali should be given some more time as ODI captain and that a change in leadership in the national cricket team would be premature.
Speaking to journalists on Saturday evening, Wasim said a captain should be observed for at least 30 to 35 matches before giving a final call about him.
He added that some 24 or 25 matches have been played under the captaincy of Azhar, so he should be given some more time.
Commenting on Sarfraz Ahmed’s performance, he said that the wicketkeeper-batsman led Pakistan well in the T20 format and although it seemed as though the players were cooperating with him, the decision to make him ODI captain would be premature.
Wasim added that the West Indies are likely to give Pakistan a tough time as they are the current T20 world champions. Earlier, former skipper Shahid Afridi had said that Azhar Ali’s performance was not bad in the series against England, and was of the view that Sarfraz should not be made ODI captain immediately.—Agencies

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