T20 and ODI captain Sarfraz to lead Pakistan in Tests

Sarfraz Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Cricket Board has appointed Sarfraz Ahmed Test captain after the wicketkeeper-batsman led the national team to a surprise triumph at the Champions Trophy tournament in England last month.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan announced the decision yesterday during a ceremony to honor the winning team at the prime minister’s residence in Islamabad. Ahmed already leads Pakistan in Twenty20s and ODIs. He has played 36 test matches since making his debut in 2010, scoring 2,089 runs at an average of 40.96 with three centuries and 13 half centuries.

Khan said he informed Ahmed about the PCB’s decision just before yesterday’s ceremony. “I talked to him when we were coming here and he said ‘I am ready to serve Pakistan,'” Khan said.

Pakistan, ranked No. 8 in the eight-team Champions Trophy, routed archrival and defending champion India by 180 runs in the final.

Pakistan easily lost its opening group game against India but made a strong comeback with fast bowler Hasan Ali and opening batsman Fakhar Zaman playing pivotal roles.

Ali took 13 wickets in the tournament and Zaman scored two half centuries and a century in the final. Pakistan went on to beat South Africa and Sri Lanka in the remaining two group matches before humiliating title favorite England in the semifinals.

“I watched the whole match (final),” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told players and officials at the reception. Khan said he would like to see India playing against Pakistan in a bilateral series.
“We challenge you to come and play (but) they don’t play against us because they are afraid of us,” Khan claimed. “I think bilateral cricket will be good for us and will benefit cricket.” – AP

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