Babar Azam has been appointed as Pakistan Test captain, effectively making him skipper across all three cricket formats, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Tuesday.
In a statement, the PCB said that Babar’s first task “will be to captain Pakistan in the ICC World Test Championship fixtures against New Zealand, which will be played in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch from 26-30 December and 3-7 January, respectively”.
Babar has succeeded Azhar Ali, who led Pakistan against England this summer.
A meeting was held on Tuesday between PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani and Azhar Ali following which Babar’s appointment was confirmed.
During the meeting, Azhar was “thanked for his contributions as a captain”, the press release stated.
The PCB chairman then spoke with Babar, acknowledging his side’s eight-wicket win against Zimbabwe in the third T20I, and congratulated him on his appointment.
“I want to thank Azhar Ali for stepping up last year by captaining the side in what was a historic first home Test series in over a decade. I believe Azhar still has a lot of cricket left in him and Pakistan cricket can continue to make the best use of his experience and knowledge as specialist top-order batsman moving forward,” Mani said.
“Babar Azam was identified at a very young age as a future leader and as part of his progression and development, he was appointed white-ball captain last year. With his consistent performance and leadership skills, he has demonstrated that he is ready to take on the additional responsibilities of a captain,” he added.
The PCB chairman said that it is “appropriate” to appoint Babar as captain now “so that he continues to grow stronger with every match”.
He said he is positive Babar will propel Pakistan forward across all formats with his “positive attitude and result-oriented approach”.
Responding to the development, Babar said he feels “truly honoured” to have been chosen as Test captain. He said this enables him to “join some of the most iconic players who have captained Pakistan in the purist format of the game”.
“I can now say with conviction that dreams can come true only if you chase them with honesty, dedication and commitment,” he remarked.
“I am ready and prepared to take up the additional responsibility and the fact which gives me additional confidence is that I can do the job is the experience that is available to me in the changing room in the shape of the players and support staff,” Babar said.
He also thanked Azhar Ali “for the way he captained the team in the last season which was a difficult one”.
“I know that he will leave no stone unturned in giving his very best to the team.”