THE Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed two new captains – both of whom played for Somerset County Cricket Club in the 2019 season.

Today saw the PCB announce that Azhar Ali has been appointed national team captain for Pakistan’s World Test Championship matches in the 2019-20 season, while Babar Azam has been named skipper of Pakistan's T20 side until next year’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

These appointments follow Sarfaraz Ahmed being left out of both formats due to a dip in form in recent months.

Azhar Ali came on board at Somerset in 2018, replacing Matt Renshaw as overseas signing for their remaining County Championship matches, and returned this season.

He was a steady influence at the top of the batting order, and took 5-34 in the One-Day Cup victory over Worcestershire – Somerset going on to win that competition at Lord's.

Babar Azam, meanwhile, was signed for this season's T20 Blast and ended it with the most runs of any player in the competition (578 from 13 matches).

For Pakistan, Azhar – who made his debut in 2010 – has scored 5,669 runs (with 15 centuries) in 73 Tests.

The 34-year-old told the PCB website: "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.

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

"As a captain, I feel comfortable that there will be number of knowledgeable people in the hut who I can rely for advice and guidance.

“I am not only targeting wins, but also aim to provide opportunities to players to grow in stature and express themselves so that Pakistan cricket can resume its journey to the top."

Babar is the number one-ranked batsman in T20Is, and captained Pakistan in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in 2012.

He said: “To be named captain of the No.1 ranked side in the world is the biggest thing that has happened to my career to date.

"I am ready for this challenge and also willing to learn more in the process.

"I feel it has been a natural progression for me and I am delighted that the PCB has put faith in my capabilities.

“Sarfaraz Ahmed has led the side in the shortest format by example and it is my responsibility to take forward his accomplishments so that we remain a consistent, attractive and powerful side.”