Major blow to Pakistan as Babar Azam ruled out of New Zealand T20 series

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LAHORE: Pakistan captain Babar Azam has been ruled out of New Zealand T20Is after suffering a fracture in his right thumb during Sunday morning’s practice session.

“World’s second-ranked T20I batsman suffered the injury during a throw-down session, following which he was taken to a local hospital where X-rays confirmed his fracture,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed in a statement on Sunday.

As per the details, Babar will be unable to attend nets for at least 12 days, meaning he will not be available for the 18, 20, and 22 December T20Is to be played in Auckland, Hamilton, and Napier, respectively.

Pakistani skipper suffered the injury a day after Imam-ul-Haq had fractured his left thumb also during a throw-down session. 

Imam had also been advised a 12-day rest, which confirmed his non-availability for the Pakistan Shaheens’ four-day match against New Zealand ‘A’, which starts in Whangarei on Thursday, December 17.

Meanwhile, Pakistan T20I vice-captain Shadab Khan is also carrying a groin niggle, which limited his participation in Sunday’s net sessions to batting only. 

Commenting on the new developments in the team, Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said: “Injuries are part and parcel of professional sport and while it is hugely disappointing to lose a player of Babar Azam’s caliber 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.”

“I have spoken with Babar and he is sad to miss the T20I series as he was fully focused and keenly looking forward to the T20Is,” he added.

He further said that the medical team is monitoring Shadab Khan’s groin niggle and the management remains optimistic that he will be available for the T20Is.

Pakistan Shaheens’ squad members will travel to Whangarei on December 14 where they will play a four-day game against Kiwis from 17th. Pakistan’s senior national team will travel to Auckland on December 15 to play the first T20I on December 18.

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