Babar Azam confirmed as Pakistan’s ODI captain

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Babar Azam has been confirmed as Pakistan’s new ODI captain, officially completing his elevation to the leadership role in both white-ball formats.

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The 25-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence over the last 15 months, a period during which he was handed the reins of the T20I side late last year. Azhar Ali, who skippered the Test side post Sarfaraz Ahmed’s axing, will continue to lead in the longest format, the PCB also announced.

“I want to congratulate Azhar Ali and Babar Azam for getting captaincy extensions,” head coach and national selector Misbah ul Haq said.

“This is absolutely the right decision as they also require certainty and clarity on their future roles. I am sure they will now start looking to the future and start planning so that they can build sides that can perform at the expected levels.”

Babar, who averages 54.17 and is ranked No.3 in ICC’s ODI charts for batsmen behind Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, has some experience of leading at the 50-over format. He led Pakistan’s Under-19 team during at the 2012 World Cup, where he finished as the team’s leading run-getter.

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Since his elevation to the top role at the international level last October, he has led Pakistan in five T20Is, winning the last two, at home against Bangladesh. Babar also leads the Central Punjab team at the first class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and has captained Karachi Kings franchise at the Pakistan Super League in the absence of regular leader Imad Wasim.

He will, however, have to wait a while before he leads Pakistan out in an ODI with the team’s lengthy layoff from the format – they last played an ODI in October 2019 – likely to extend amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Their tour of England, comprising three Tests and an equal number of T20Is, hasn’t yet been cancelled with the two boards set to discuss the possibilities during their May 15 meeting.

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