After missing series opener, Babar ruled out of second Test
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has been ruled out of the second Test against New Zealand, starting Sunday in Christchurch. In his absence, stand-in captain Mohammad Rizwan, who led Pakistan in the series opener, will be once again be at the helm. Notably, the team management decided against taking any risk and ruled the former out of the second Test. Here is more.
Azam underwent a "full-fledged" training session in Christchurch on Friday. However, he felt slight pain in his thumb which he had fractured earlier on the tour. "We've seen improvement in Babar's injury, but he is yet to fully recover," team doctor Sohail Saleem said. "He's our captain and the most important batsman in the line-up, so we do not want to take any risk."
Speaking on the same, Saleem said he will likely be available for the home series against South Africa. "The medical team is constantly reviewing his injury and we are hopeful he will be available for the home series against South Africa," he added.
Babar hasn't featured in any game on the tour so far, after he sustained a blow to his thumb while taking throw-downs during a training session. The incident took place in Queenstown last month, ahead of the three-match T20I series. Pakistan missed the services of their premier batsman, thereby losing the series 1-2. Despite Mohammad Hafeez's valuable experience in the middle, the visitors faltered.
Babar, on Friday, was named the 'Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year' at the PCB awards. The 26-year-old was also adjudged the 'White-ball Cricketer of the Year'. Notably, he averaged over 50 across formats. He amassed 338 runs from four Tests at 67.60, including a ton. Furthermore, he racked up 221 ODI and 276 T20I runs at 110.50 and 55.20 respectively.
Hosts NZ have the all-important 1-0 lead in the two-Test series after winning Bay Oval Test by 101 runs. A historic ton by Fawad Alam (102) went in vain as the rest of team collectively perished while chasing 373. Besides, make-shift captain Rizwan also played his part by scoring a 191-ball 60. Pakistan will be aiming for a win in the final Test.