Babar Azam becomes Pakistan's all-format captain after taking over Test reins

Star batsman replaces Azhar Ali ahead of New Zealand series

Pakistani batsman Babar Azam (R) plays a shot as New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling looks on during the second day of the second Test cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Dubai International Stadium in Dubai on November 25, 2018. / AFP / AAMIR QURESHI

Star batsman Babar Azam was on Tuesday named Pakistan's Test captain on Tuesday, becoming the leader in all three formats.

Azam replaced the under-pressure Azhar Ali ahead of the two-match series in New Zealand starting next month.

Azhar was criticised following Pakistan's three-wicket defeat in England in August this year, losing the three-match series 1-0.

The PCB made Azam the nation's all-format skipper after he assumed the Twenty20 role last year and one-day captaincy in May this year.

"Azam has been appointed as Pakistan Test captain, which now makes him the captain across all three formats. His first assignment will be to captain Pakistan on New Zealand tour," said a PCB release.

Azam becomes the third Pakistan Test captain in 13 months after Sarfaraz Ahmed was sacked in October last year.

Pakistan will play three T20s and two Tests against the Black Caps, a squad for which is expected to be announced on Wednesday.

Azam, who led Pakistan to a 3-0 whitewash of Zimbabwe in the Twenty20 international series on Tuesday, said he was ready to take charge.

"I feel truly honoured to have been appointed Test captain," Azam said in the PCB's statement. "I am ready and prepared to take up the additional responsibility."

Azhar led Pakistan in nine Tests, winning two, losing four and drawing the other three.

Pakistan's three T20 Internationals in New Zealand are scheduled for Auckland on December 18, Hamilton two days later and a third at Napier on December 22.

The first Test is at Mount Maunganui from December 26-30 and the second at Christchurch from January 3-7.