AUCKLAND: 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.
According to a statement by the Pakistan Cricket Board, the batsman suffered the injury during a throw-down session, following which he was taken to a local hospital where X-rays confirmed the fracture. Babar will be unable to attend nets for at least twelve days and will not be available for the three-match T20 series starting December 18.
During this period, the doctors will continue to monitor Babar’s injury before confirming his participation in the first Test, which starts at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui on December 26.
Babar suffered the injury a day after Imam-ul-Haq fractured his left thumb also during a throw-down session. Imam had also been advised a 12-day rest and will be unavailable 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. He missed the Zimbabwe T20 series due to a similar injury and a decision on his participation in the Auckland T20 will be made closer to the match.
Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq: “Injuries are part and parcel of professional sport and while 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.
“I have spoken with Babar and he is sad to miss the T20I series as he was fully focused and keenly looaking forward to the T20Is. We have a long season of cricket ahead and we now hope that he regains complete fitness as early as possible so that he can return to competitive cricket.
“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.”