LAHORE: Batsman Azhar Ali is likely to be replaced as Test captain ahead of the New Zealand tour less than a year after he was appointed in place of Safaraz Ahmed.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan and current limited-overs captain Babar Azam are at the top of the list of potential replacements for the Test captaincy.
According to a sports website, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is carrying out Azhar’s annual appraisal and CEO Wasim Khan had already met him. The final decision will be made after Azhar meets PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani within the next ten days.
Babar Azam is a likely replacement as he is one of the few players guaranteed a place in all three formats. Rizwan has remained a permanent part of the team since Sarfaraz was dropped following his poor form last year. Recently, under his captaincy, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa won the National T20 Cup in Rawalpindi.
Azhar has struggled for form over the past two years and found himself in a sustained slump until he scored a century in Karachi late last year, followed by another hundred in a rain-hit draw against England in Southampton in August.
Azhar is presently is the most capped player in the Pakistan side with 81 Test matches in a career that started in 2010. He was appointed ODI captain following both Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi’s ODI retirements after the 2015 World Cup.
He was axed from the captaincy in January 2017 after disappointing results in England and Australia but remained in the squad until 2018. He refused an offer to take up Test captaincy in 2017 after Misbah and Younis Khan retired from the longer format.