Babar Azam ruled out of T20I against New Zealand


Pakistan captain suffered a broken thumb in training on Sunday

Pakistan captain Babar Azam broke his right thumb in training on Sunday and was subsequently out of action for 12 days. That means he will not be available to play for the three T20Is that kick off the team’s New Zealand tour from December 18.

A press release from the PCB said that Azam picked up the injury while dealing with takedowns. He was then transferred to a hospital in Queenstown, where X-rays revealed the extent of the damage, prompting a period of rest and rehabilitation.

“During this period, physicians will continue to monitor Babar’s injury before confirming his participation in the first test, which begins at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, on December 26,” the PCB statement said.

The loss of Azam could be a serious blow to Pakistan. Not only is he their captain, he is also the No. 2 hitter in the T20I rankings and had entered the tour with several good scores behind him. Just a month ago he led his PSL team, the Karachi Kings, to their first title in half a century in both qualifying one and the final. It was Man-of-the-Match both times and, prior to that, it had hit Zimbabwe for a couple of half centuries to bolster a T20 average of 57.53 and a strike rate of 139 since August 2020.

“Injuries are an integral part of professional sport and while it is very disappointing to lose a player of Babar Azam’s caliber to the T20Is, this opens up opportunities for other very talented and exciting players to advance,” said Pakistan coach Misbah. -ul -said Haq.

However, since Azam plays at the top of the order, they may prefer to use Mohammad Hafeez in that position and look for a new lower-order hitter to complete the XI.

Pakistan also has other injury issues, including one for their potential substitute captain. The groin discomfort that knocked Shadab Khan out of the home series against Zimbabwe in November has not been fully cured yet and the decision on his first T20I game in Auckland on Friday will be made closer to game time.

“We remain optimistic that he will be available for the T20Is,” Misbah said of his leg lynching bolt, “but we will not risk his and the team’s chances if we think he needs a few more days to get back in shape.”

Among the test players, Imam-ul-Haq is also caring for a broken finger that he suffered in training on Saturday and has been recommended 12 days off. As a result, he has been withdrawn from the Shaheens’ four-day game against New Zealand A as of December 17.