The Pakistan Cricket Board said in a media release on Saturday that Pakistan captain Babar Azam was ruled out of the second test against New Zealand at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch beginning Jan 3 due to mild pain in his thumb.
Babar, 26, had participated in a training session on Friday, but after reporting mild discomfort in his thumb, the team’s management decided not to include him in the second test to prevent any chance of further injury. Mohammad Rizwan, in his place, has been named captain.
Due to a broken thumb, Babar was also similarly ruled out of the first test and had to sit out the three-match Twenty20 International series as well.
We’ve seen changes in the injury to Babar Azam, but he has yet to fully heal. Dr. Sohail Saleem, the named doctor for the Pakistan cricket team, said that he is our captain and the most valuable batsman in the lineup, so we don’t want to take any chances.
He said the medical staff will continue to track and continuously assess Babar’s injury. Saleem said he is confident that Pakistan’s captain will be available against South Africa for the home series.
Similarly, for the New Zealand cricket team, the pressure is still on. In the second test, there is a lot at stake for New Zealand where they need to win in order to have a chance to reach the Lords World Test Championship final in June.
To make the final two, New Zealand is battling with Australia, India and England. A draw or better will affirm New Zealand as the world’s number one, stretch their undefeated home record to 17 tests, and for the first time, a victory will see New Zealand win six straight tests.
For the Second Test against New Zealand, Pakistan squad:
(Captain) Mohammad Rizwan, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah, Sohail Khan, and Zafar Gohar Gohar