The Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed on Monday that Mohammad Rizwan will be leading the Test side in the absence of Babar Azam. When Rizwan steps out for the toss on Saturday, he will become the Pakistan Cricket Team’s 33rd Test captain.
Babar and top-order batsman Imam ul Haq have been ruled out of the first Test match against New Zealand due to injuries sustained during training sessions.
Both players are being closely monitored by the team’s medical staff. The decision on whether they will be included in the playing 11 for the second Test match on January 3, 2020 would be made when the time comes.
“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,” Misbah ul Haq was quoted as saying in a PCB press release.
“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,” he added.
Meanwhile, the selection committee has named Imran Butt in the 17-player squad. The 24-year-old player from Balochistan scored 191 runs in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy before joining the New Zealand-bound national cricket team.
In 2019, Butt topped batting charts in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with 934 runs with four centuries and three half-centuries.
Also returning to the Pakistan Test side are Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, and Yasir Shah.
They will replace Abdullah Shafiq, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan, Usman Qadir, and Wahab Riaz who will now join Pakistan Shaheens for five T20 matches against the local and New Zealand XI sides.
Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez will not be in action on the New Zealand tour after the Napier T20I.
Wasim will travel to Australia to join Melbourne Renegades in the BBL, while Mohammad Hafeez will return to Pakistan.
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)
26-30 Dec – 1st Test at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
3-7 Jan – 2nd Test at Hagley Oval, Christchurch