Pakistan Cricket Team skipper Babar Azam has been ruled out of the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand starting December 18. The visitors will lock horns with the Kiwis in a three-match series which will set the tone for upcoming ICC T20 World Cup next year in India.
Babar has fractured his right thumb in training on Sunday and has subsequently been ruled out of action for 12 days. A PCB press release said Babar Azam picked up the injury while facing throwdowns. He was then taken to a hospital in Queenstown where X-rays revealed the extent of the damage, prompting a period of rest and rehabilitation.
Babar Azam suffers a fracture on right thumb
The management expects Babar to regain his fitness and be available for selection for the Boxing Day Tests starting December 26 at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
“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 26 December,” the PCB release said.
Babar Azam’s absence will prove to be a significant blow to Pakistan. Besides being the captain of the side, Babar has been a consistent performer with the bat and is currently the No.2 ranked batsman in the shortest format.
He recently led Karachi Kings, to their first-ever title with half-centuries in both qualifier one and the final. He was Man of the Match both times. Prior to that, he walloped Zimbabwe for a couple of half-centuries to rack up a T20 average of 57.53 and a strike-rate of 139 in since August 2020.
It is likely the veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez might take up the spot in the absence of Babar Azam. Pakistan have other injury concerns as well. The groin problem that ruled Shadab Khan out of the home series against Zimbabwe in November has not fully healed yet and a decision on his playing the first T20I in Auckland on Friday will be taken closer to game time.