Babar Azam, Imamul Haq ruled out of first Test New Zealand due to injuries
WALLINGTON (92 News) - Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and opening batsman Imamul Haq have been ruled out of the first Test against New Zealand due to injuries.
Pakistan announced the squad for the two-match Test series against New Zealand in a press release on Monday. Babar and Imam had sustained injuries ahead of the three-match T20I series and they were made to sit out from the fixture.
According to the statement, the duo will not take part in the opening game of the two-match Test series at Mount Maunganui and the decision regarding their selection for the second fixture will be taken at a later date by the tour’s selection committee.
“Babar had fractured his right thumb a day after Imam had fractured his left thumb during training sessions in Queenstown last week,” the statement read. “Both are yet to return to nets with the team’s medical staff closely monitoring their progress. Decision on their participation in the second Test, which commences in Christchurch on 3 January, will be made closer to the time.”
Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan will lead the Green Caps in the batsman’s absence. “When he will step out for the toss on Saturday, he will become Pakistan’s 33rd captain to lead the side in the traditional format of the game.”
Moreover, the tour’s selection committee has included Imran Butt in the 17-player squad on the back of his performances in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2020-21.
Balochistan’s top-order batsman amassed 191 runs in the three matches before being included in the side.
The 24-year-old was the highest run-getter in the 2019-20 competition with 934 runs at an average of over 62 with four centuries and three fifties.
Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan and Yasir Shah will be featuring in the squad in place of Abdullah Shafiq, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz who represented the Green Caps in the T20I series.
Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez will no longer take part on tour following the third T20I against New Zealand in Napier.
Imad is all set to represent Melbourne Renegades in the ongoing Big Bash League 2020-21 in Australia whereas Hafeez will return to Pakistan.
The two-match series begins on December 26 in Mount Maunganui.
Pakistan squad for Tests: Mohammad Rizwan (captain for 1st Test), Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan and Yasir Shah. (Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq not available for first Test)