Pakistan's squad has had a major shake-up for the upcoming tour of Australia, with five uncapped players named across the Test and Twenty20 parties.

Sarfraz Ahmed was sacked as Pakistan's captain on Friday, with the wicket-keeper batsman also dropped from the squad following a dismal 3-0 T20 series defeat to Sri Lanka.

Azhar Ali has taken over as the Test captain and will have teenage seamer Muhammad Musa Khan, who has been included in both touring selections, at his disposal.

Experienced spinner Kashif Bhatti will also be available for Azhar, as will youngster Nasim Shah.

Khushdil Shah and leg-spinner Usman Qadir, meanwhile, have been included in the T20 squad, which will be led by Babar Azam.

Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, the injured Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Amir, who announced his retirement from Test cricket earlier in 2019, have all dropped out of the five-day squad, while Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal miss out on the T20 group.

Pakistan will play three T20Is and two Tests in Australia, with the tour beginning on November 3.

 

Pakistan T20 squad in full: Babar Azam (captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz.

Pakistan Test squad in full: Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Nasim Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.

Sarfraz Ahmed has been sacked as Pakistan's Test and Twenty20 captain, also losing his place in the squad for both formats.

Pakistan have endured a difficult 2019, with a poor start to the Cricket World Cup group stage meaning a late charge was not enough to secure their place in the semi-finals.

Sarfraz's sacking comes in the wake of a 3-0 T20 defeat to Sri Lanka, as the world's top-ranked side in the shortest format succumbed to a series whitewash.

While a decision on the captaincy for the 50-over format has been put on hold for now, Sarfraz – who retained his position last month despite his performances coming under scrutiny – has been removed as the team's skipper ahead of their Test and T20 tour of Australia, which starts in November.

Azhar Ali – who was white-ball captain prior to Sarfraz – will replace the wicketkeeper-batsman as Test skipper, while Babar Azam will take charge of the T20 side until the 2020 World Cup.

In a statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board, Azhar said: "There is no bigger honour than to captain the Pakistan national cricket team in the pinnacle format of the game.

"I feel humbled, excited and privileged, and with the support of the team, look forward to justifying the faith that has been entrusted upon me for the World Test Championship.

"Sarfraz has done an excellent job in transforming raw talent into experienced players, and I now look forward to inspiring those skilful players.

"These are exciting times in Pakistan cricket with a new team management."

Pakistan dismissed their head coach and chief selector following the World Cup, with Misbah-ul-Haq taking over both positions.

Sarfraz Ahmed warned Pakistan must improve in all three facets of the game after they were consigned to a historic 3-0 Twenty20 International series whitewash by Sri Lanka.

Pakistan top the rankings in the shortest format but they did not resemble the best side in the world as the tourists sealed a first T20 clean sweep with a 13-run victory in Lahore on Wednesday.

Oshada Fernando blasted 78 not out off only 48 balls as Sri Lanka posted 147-7 at Gaddafi Stadium, Mohammad Amir the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with 3-27.

Pakistan fell short on 134-6 in reply despite a half-century from Haris Sohail (52), with man of the series Wanindu Hasaranga (3-21) and Lahiru Kumara (2-24) doing the damage.

Captain Sarfraz says his side must raise their game after losing six of their last seven T20 matches.

The wicketkeeper-batsman said: "We were subdued, we didn't express ourselves throughout this series,

"We just wanted to try out as many players as possible. We need to work a lot on all three fronts, especially fielding.

"We can't beat any team if we drop catches like that in the middle overs."

New Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka, on the other hand, savoured a dream start to his reign.

"It's really a good victory. It's a big honour. All the players were bonded, that was the key to our success. Bonding is the key - they do the right things in the middle," he said.

"There are no extraordinary players here - they're all equally talented, but the unity was the secret. If we play smart cricket, there's always a possibility to win. The decisions were taken smartly today, each and every one of us."

Sarfraz Ahmed will stay on as Pakistan captain and Babar Azam has been appointed as his deputy for the upcoming limited-overs encounters against Sri Lanka.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz's position was called into question during and after a disappointing Cricket World Cup.

Head coach Mickey Arthur's contract was not renewed after the ICC Champions Cup holders failed to make it beyond the group stage of the World Cup, with former skipper Misbah-ul-Haq replacing him this month and becoming chief selector.

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday announced Sarfraz will continue to lead his country in all formats following a recommendation from Misbah.

Babar steps up to take over as vice-captain ahead of three ODIs and as many Twenty20 Internationals at home to Sri Lanka.

Sarfraz said: "I feel humbled and honoured to have been awarded extension to my captaincy term. I have enjoyed captaining the Pakistan cricket team and look forward to improving my leadership qualities under the new set-up of Misbah-ul-Haq, who also has a proven record as captain.

"I have played most of my cricket under Misbah and we know each other pretty well. I think we will make a good combination, which will contribute to improved performances of the side across all formats.

"I am aware we have not done justice to our potential in ODIs, which has disappointed us as well as our fans. I am hopeful we will be able to turn things around in the coming season and in this relation, I remain committed to stepping up to the challenge with my performances and captaincy.

"I have complete faith in my team, which has time and again shown the talent, class and charisma it possesses. The only thing missing has been consistency, which Misbah and I would like to focus and improve across all departments of the game.

"I assure all our fans we will not leave any stone unturned in our preparations for the forthcoming assignments and will do our best to translate these preparations into solid performances."

Pakistan duo Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez have lost their central contracts for the 2019-20 international campaign.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday announced the list of centrally contracted players has been reduced from 33 to 19.

Batsman Babar Azam, captain Sarfraz Ahmed and spinner Yasir Shah are the only three to be given a top-level Category A deal.

Shoaib and Hafeez were overlooked a day after it was announced head coach Mickey Arthur would depart his role along with bowling coach Azhar Mahmood, batting coach Grant Flower and trainer Grant Luden.

Experienced all-rounders Shoaib and Hafeez will still be available for selection in a new era for Pakistan.

PCB managing director Wasim Khan said: "I want to congratulate all those who have been offered central contracts for the next season.

"We have significantly increased the financial value of the 2019-20 retainers across each category. This is over and above what had been agreed in the current agreement, which is due to run until 2021.

"The PCB have set high standards and targets in its strategic plan for the upcoming season. We want to attach a high value to receiving a central contract. We have complete faith and confidence that these players will set up and produce on-field performances that will help us collectively achieve our objectives and targets."

The contracts run from August 1 2019 to June 30 2020, the PCB said, with Pakistan playing Tests and limited-overs matches against Sri Lanka, Australia and Bangladesh in that period.

 

Pakistan's centrally contracted players for 2019-20:

Category A – Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah

Category B – Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Abbas, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Wahab Riaz

Category C – Abid Ali, Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Usman Shinwari

Sarfraz Ahmed paid tribute to Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Afridi after he posted his country's best Cricket World Cup figures in Friday's win over Bangladesh.

Pakistan were knocked out of the World Cup as their 94-run win was not a large enough victory to overhaul New Zealand but much of the focus was on teenager Shaheen, who took 6-35 runs to decimate the Bangladesh batting order.

Captain Sarfraz considered the display "one of the best" he had seen but suggested 19-year-old Shaheen has consistently been performing at a similarly lofty level in the past couple of weeks.

"The way Shaheen is bowling in the last four matches is very good," he said in the post-match presentation. "The consistency is amazing, with the line and length.

"Today he's taken six wickets and it was one of the best bowling performances I've ever seen."

Pakistan crashed out despite winning four consecutive matches to finish the group stage, at least giving Sarfraz cause for encouragement.

"It's very unfortunate that we've played really good cricket in the last four matches but we could not qualify," he said. "There was only the one match that cost us [in terms of run rate].

"Throughout the tournament, we've played very good cricket and the boys responded very well after the India match."

Bangladesh also bowed out despite Shakib Al Hasan's 606 runs moving him clear as the tournament's top scorer, prompting captain Mashrafe Mortaza to offer an apology to his star man.

"The whole team feel very sorry for him because we couldn't support him throughout the tournament, otherwise the team would have been in a different zone," he said.

"He batted exceptionally in almost every match, bowling very well, fielding well. I think he's been fantastic."

Mortaza later indicated he will take time to decide whether to continue his international career.

"My future plan is, obviously, going home from here, and I will have a think," he added.

Jason Holder was delighted to see West Indies deliver an opening performance against Pakistan that will increase talk of a Cricket World Cup title challenge.

The Windies dished out a seven-wicket thrashing after Pakistan bowled out for a measly 105 at Trent Bridge

Man-of-the-match Oshane Thomas took 4-27 before Chris Gayle made 50 as West Indies reached their target inside 14 overs.

Windies captain Holder says his side fancy their chances of going all the way and lifting the trophy.

"We wanted to start with a win, so I'm very happy that we started the tournament with a win," Holder said in the post-match presentation.

"It's been a long build-up. We've been anxiously waiting for this first game. It's good to get it out of the way and to be on the better side today.

"As long as we stay fit, we've definitely come here to win this World Cup. But we've got to play the cricket to say that. We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves.

"As I've said, I have no expectations whatsoever - it's just for us to come out and enjoy our cricket and make the people back home proud."

Andre Russell took 2-4 in a brilliant three-over spell and Holder was impressed with how relentless his side as Pakistan were bounced out.

"[Russell] is an impact player. You all can see what he can do with the ball and, as well, with the bat," he said. "It's really good to see him coming and making that impact he did today.

"He was well followed up by Oshane, Sheldon started really well for us, and we were always in the game.

"In the past, we've probably let ourselves down in terms of letting teams get back into the encounter. But credit to the boys with the way we stuck to the task and finished it off."

Praise was also reserved for paceman Thomas, with Holder adding: "It's good to have a young quick in Oshane.

"We know he can be a bit expensive at times, but he's a genuine wicket-taker - and that's a gamble we're willing to take now in the modern-day format.

"With such high totals in cricket, you need to get wickets. That's one area that we wanted to highlight and pinpoint. We see him as an impact player and he came in today and did an outstanding job for us."

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed merely wrote off the defeat as a "bad day" for his batsmen.

"I think today is a bad day for us," he said. "But I'm very confident my team will bounce back."

West Indies captain Jason Holder has backed opener Shai Hope to shine at the Cricket World Cup.

The Windies have looked sharp with the bat in their World Cup warm-up matches and start their campaign against Pakistan at Trent Bridge on Friday.

Hope's form has been hugely impressive, with the 25-year-old having clocked up three centuries in warm-up matches for the tournament, including a haul of 170 against Ireland on May 5.

And, after Hope's 101 helped West Indies to a 91-run victory over New Zealand in their final tune up on Tuesday, Holder believes the batsman is well placed to star at the World Cup.

"Shai has been carrying some form for a long time in the limited overs format and he's really confident," Holder told a news conference.

"I think he's worked out pretty much his method of scoring. It's been very, very consistent, which as a group we've probably lacked in the recent past.

"It's really good to see a young batter stepping up and being as consistent as he has been and leading the charge for us, and we've got power around him.

"I think we've got a really good mix in terms of our batter line-up, but obviously Shai has stood out in the recent past with his success."

Given the Windies' form with the bat, Trent Bridge – with its short boundary – could present an ideal venue to kick-start their campaign, but Holder insisted that his side have no preconceptions ahead of their opening fixture.

"I don't want to sit here and try to predetermine what's going to happen," Holder added. "We assess the conditions and we play to suit. It doesn't matter where we're playing.

"That's the way cricket is played, and that's the nature of the game. I don't want to sit before a game and say we're looking to score 500 or 600.

"We are all excited to play in England. The magnitude of this tournament speaks for itself. There's no need to sit here and harp on about it, we just want to take it game by game."

Pakistan offered little resistance to England in a 4-0 series loss earlier in May, before losing to Afghanistan in their final preparation match.

"We are not thinking about the previous results," Captain Sarfraz Ahmed told a news conference. 

"We didn't play well as a team, but our batters are performing well, so we don't think about it. We are very focused and we are very hopeful as a team that we will do well."

Coach Irfan Ansari has been banned from all cricket for 10 years for breaching three counts of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.

Sarfraz Ahmed reported Ansari after he approached the Pakistan captain during a series against Sri Lanka in October 2017, with a view to soliciting information from him.

Ansari, a coach of two teams that play domestic matches in the United Arab Emirates, has been banned for a decade by the governing body - a punishment that was compounded by his failure to cooperate with its investigation.

Alex Marshall, ICC General Manager – ACU said: "I'd like to place on record my thanks to Sarfaraz Ahmed, who showed true leadership and professionalism from the moment he reported this approach.

"He recognised it for what it was, rejected it and reported it. He then supported our investigation and subsequent tribunal.

"This is the first time we have prosecuted for failure to cooperate with an investigation since the new rules enabling us to demand the participants hand over their phone for examination and the sanction reflects the seriousness of the offence.

"It is an important tool to aid our investigations and continue in our efforts to rid the sport of these corrupters."

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