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Babar Azam named Pakistan’s full-time ODI captain

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed star batsman Babar Azam as their full-time ODI captain. Babar was earlier elevated to Pakistan’s T20I captaincy last year, following ex-captain Sarfaraz Ahmed’s axing after the 0-3 home drubbing against Sri Lanka. The PCB confirmed Azhar Ali will continue to lead the Test team.

One of the most consistent batsmen in the Pakistani batting line-up, Babar has enjoyed considerable success in white-ball cricket. In his first T20I match as captain, he smashed the highest score by a Pakistani player on T20I captaincy debut and broke a few other records on the way.

Criteria for selection was simple: Misbah

Last year, the PCB had named Babar and Ali as T20I and Test captains respectively. However, they continued to persist with Sarfaraz until Pakistan’s next series in one-day internationals. Babar’s appointment as ODI skipper was imminent after his impressive performances in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England.

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

The philosophy and criteria for this merit-based central contract list was simple and straightforward: the selectors reviewed player performances in the past 12 months and then looked ahead to our team requirements in the forthcoming 12 months.”

Pakistan Men’s Central Contracts for 2020-21

The PCB also released a list of their centrally contracted players for the 2020-21 season. Two new faces, Naseem Shah and Iftikhar Ahmad make their way into the 18-player list, which is set to come into effect from 1 July 2020. Four other players – Abid Ali, Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood and Shaheen Afridi have been given deserving promotions in their contracts. On the other hand, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz have all missed out on central contracts but will remain in contention.

Further, the PCB has also created a new ‘Emerging Players’ Category as a strategy to reward high-performing cricketers in the team. Haider Ali and fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Mohammad Hasnain are the three new inductees in this category.

Pakistan are scheduled to play nine Tests, six ODIs and 20 T20Is, besides the Asia Cup and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020.

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