Pakistan's Babar Azam ruled out of T20Is against New Zealand
Pakistan cricket team captain Babar Azam has been ruled out of the upcoming T20Is against New Zealand. The star batsman fractured his right thumb in training on Sunday and will miss action for 12 days. That means he will not be available to play the three T20Is that kick off Pakistan's tour of New Zealand starting December 18. Here are further details.
The PCB issued a statement saying that Babar suffered the injury during a throw-down. He was then taken to a local hospital where X-rays confirmed the fracture. "As a result, he will be unable to attend nets for, at least, 12 days. During this period, the doctors will continue to monitor Babar's injury before confirming his participation in the first Test," the statement added.
Pakistan coach Misbah ul Haq expressed his disappointment in losing Babar to the injury. "It is hugely disappointing to lose a player of Babar Azam's calibre for the T20Is, this opens up opportunities for the other highly talented and exciting players to step-up, understand their responsibilities and try to prove that the Pakistan side is a complete package," Misbah said.
Babar's absence might prove to be a significant blow to Pakistan. He is ranked the number two batsman in T20Is and had come into the tour with several good performances behind him. Last month he had led his PSL team, the Karachi Kings, to their first title with half-centuries in both qualifier one and the final. Prior to that, he had impressed against Zimbabwe.
Shadab Khan, who is expected to lead the side in Babar's absence in the T20Is, has a groin niggle. The injury had seen him get ruled out of the home series against Zimbabwe in November . It has not fully healed yet and a decision on his playing the first T20I in Auckland on Friday will be assessed.
Misbah said that the medical team is monitoring Shadab's groin niggle. "The medical team is monitoring Shadab Khan's groin niggle and we remain optimistic that he will be available for the T20Is, but we will neither risk him nor the team's chances if we think he needs a few more days to be back to his complete fitness," he said.
Meanwhile, Test specialist Imam-ul-Haq is also nursing a broken finger suffered in training on Saturday and has been advised 12 days' rest. As a result, he has been withdrawn from the Shaheens' four-day game against New Zealand A starting December 17.