NZ vs Pak 2020: Babar Azam ruled out of the Boxing day Test, Mohammad Rizwan will lead the side in his absence

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam and the opening batsman Imam-Ul-Haq will miss the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui while Imran Butt, the 24-year-old uncapped batsman has been added to the 17-member squad.

Although it will be nearly two weeks to Babar’s injury when the first Test starts, it will be hard on him and the team to play him without any net sessions,” said Misbah-Ul-Haq as quoted by PCB.

Babar Azam sustained a thumb fracture to his right hand during last week’s practice session at Queenstown and the star batsman was ruled out of the ongoing 3-match T20I series which they are 2-0 down after 2 games. He is yet to return to practice and now is ruled out of the opening Test match. Imam had also fractured his left thumb while practicing, just one day prior.

Further call on Azam’s availability will be taken as the 2nd Test comes closer said the statement from PCB. Wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan will take over as captain of Pakistan in the First Test and will become their 33rd Test skipper.

Decision on their participation in the second Test, which commences in Christchurch on 3 January, will be made closer to the time,” the statement read.

Misbah-Ul-Haq said in a statement released by PCB that he was disappointed after losing the T20I series but was optimistic that the team will do well in the red-ball cricket as they have a well-rounded squad.

It is disappointing to lose the T20I series against a well-settled New Zealand side, who utilized their resources and conditions to their advantage. We need to upskill and improve our individual and team performances, including in Tuesday’s match, and the sooner we get these sorted, the better it will be in term of player confidences, and team results as 2021 will not be any easier as we have two major events,” said Misbah-ul-Haq as quoted by Pakistan Cricket Board.

Contrary to the T20I side, the Test side appears to be pretty organized and we boast some experienced cricketers, both in the batting and bowling departments. With some competitive cricket on the tour now under the belt, I am hoping we will be a better outfit in the longer version of the game. I remain confident and optimistic that other players will rise to the occasion in Mount Maunganui and use the opportunity to rise to the occasion and put the disappointment of the T20I series behind them,” he added.

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 the first Test)

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