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.
“World’s second-ranked T20I batsman suffered the injury during a throw-down session, following which he was taken to a local hospital where X-rays confirmed his fracture,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed in a statement on Sunday.
As per the details, Babar will be unable to attend nets for at least 12 days, meaning he will not be available for the 18, 20, and 22 December T20Is to be played in Auckland, Hamilton, and Napier, respectively.
Former wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif believes that Pakistan’s all-format captain Babar Azam’s injury could be a blessing in disguise, as it provides an opportunity to young guns like Haider Ali and Abdullah Shafique to prove their mettle.
Azam has been ruled out of New Zealand T20Is after suffering a fracture in his right thumb during Sunday morning’s practice session. The Lahore-born batsman will be unable to attend nets for, at least, 12 days, meaning he will not be available for the December 18, 20 and 22 T20Is to be played in Auckland, Hamilton and Napier, respectively.
“Babar Azam is a big loss. Hopefully he recovers soon. But it can be a blessing in disguise as well. When sometimes a big player gets injured, it could lead to a new player being discovered. If Abdullah Shafique and Haider Ali opens the innings in Babar’s absence, then they might avail this opportunity and Pakistan might get a new star,” Latif said in a video on his YouTube channel.
“I hope they don’t force Mohammad Rizwan or Sarfaraz Ahmed to open the innings. Let the youngsters open the inning and face the fire. If they are able to handle that, then they will eventually become good players,” he added.
Shadab Khan, who has a groin niggle, is set to lead Pakistan for the T20Is against New Zealand in Babar’s absence. However, a decision on his participation in the Auckland T20I will be made closer to the match.
“If Shadab is not fit in time then Imad Wasim could lead Pakistan in T20s as he recently led in PSL. If we win the T20I series and then suffer defeat in Test series, then it will raise a big question mark on Pakistan’s white-ball captaincy. This could be an issue in future,” he concluded.