Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali may lose his job as leader of the side when the team tours New Zealand amidst speculations that either white-ball skipper Babar Azam or Muhammad Rizwan could replace him.

It was nearly 12 months ago that Azhar Ali replaced Sarfaraz Ahmed as the Test skipper of Pakistan. However, Azhar Ali’s meek results for the national team as the captain could see him lose the position ahead of the tour of New Zealand in December. Keeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan could take the mantle from the veteran batsman following some gutsy knocks in England this year.

Azhar Ali has struggled with the bat in the last two years, averaging 30.41 and 21.73 respectively. During this tenure in 15 Tests, the right-handed batsman two centuries and four half-centuries. However, he struck an unbeaten 141 in Manchester against England this year. But the men in green also lost in England and Australia under Ali’s leadership, failing to win even a single Test.

Pakistan

On the other hand, Mohammad Rizwan has shown massive potential in the Test arena. Rizwan scored his career-best of 95 against Australia in Brisbane, sharing a stand of 132 along with Babar Azam. The right-handed batsman averaged a healthy 40.25 in Pakistan’s recent three-Test tour of England and recorded two more half-centuries. Rizwan’s performance with the gloves was also outstanding as he stood up to Mohammad Abbas at times.

Most-capped player in the current Pakistan Test line-up:

Azhar Ali

Meanwhile, Azhar Ali is the most-capped player for Pakistan in their current Test team, having made 81 appearances and amassing over 6000 runs. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) appointed the 35-year old as the ODI captain following the retirements of Shahid Afridi and Misbah-Ul-Haq after the 2015 World Cup. However, the national team endured poor results in England and Pakistan, facing an axing in January 2017.

The board offered him the Test captaincy in 2017; however, he refused the same as Misbah and Younis Khan hung up their boots. As a result, Sarfaraz Ahmed became the skipper for all the formats of the game. While Babar Azam has just begun his captaincy stint and looks secure for now, Azhar Ali’s tenure remains doubtful and could be closing in.

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Pakistan players test negative for Covid-19 ahead of Zimbabwe series

All Pakistan men’s national team’s players and support staff assembled in Lahore were integrated into a bio-secure bubble in a local hotel today after they tested negative for Covid-19.

The tests were conducted on Wednesday upon the squad’s arrival at the hotel.

The squad will now start preparations for the three-match ODI series at the Gaddafi Stadium with a training and practice session today. The Pakistan squad will travel to Rawalpindi from Lahore on October 26.

The three One-Day Internationals, between Pakistan and Zimbabwe, in Rawalpindi are set to be played on October 30, November 1 and 3, while the three Twenty20 Internationals will be held at Gaddafi Stadium on November 7, 8 and 10.

Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafiq, Abid Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Musa Khan, Rohail Nazir, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz and Zafar Gohar

Series schedule

Oct 30 – 1st ODI, Rawalpindi.

Nov 1 – 2nd ODI, Rawalpindi.

Nov 3 – 3rd ODI, Rawalpindi.

Nov 7 – 1st T20I, Lahore.

Nov 8 – 2nd T20I, Lahore.

Nov 10 – 3rd T20I, Lahore.

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