Pakistan’s is scheduled to play the first T20I against New Zealand on December 18. Pakistan suffered a huge blow ahead of series when Pakistan captain Babar Azam ruled out of New Zealand T20Is after suffering a fracture in his right thumb.
All-rounder Shadab Khan will be leading the Pakistan Cricket Team against New Zealand in the absence of Babar Azam, sources revealed on Wednesday.
Sources said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management is satisfied with the cricketer’s fitness after the training session. He had previously complained of groin injury which restricted him to batting during the training session on Sunday.
Earlier, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had confirmed that Pakistan T20I vice-captain Shadab Khan was carrying a groin niggle. He had missed the Zimbabwe T20Is due to a similar injury and decision on his participation in the Auckland T20I will be made closer to the match.
According to sources, Now he is completely fit and all set to lead Pakistan Cricket Team. Head Coach Misbah-ul-Haq also discussed the playing XI for the first T20I with Shadab.
The leg-spinner took part in an extensive training session on Wednesday, which included bowling, batting and fielding.
The absence of Babar Azam from the T20I series against New Zealand would appear to be the loss not just of a player but of an entire strategy of late. Few sides in world cricket are quite as reliant on one batsman as Pakistan have been on Azam in T20Is.
In absence of both openers (Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman), Pakistan are forced to change their opening pair.
According to sources, Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan and young batsman Abdullah Shafique are likely to open the innings for Pakistan during the upcoming three-match T20I series against New Zealand.
It is reported that, Mohammad Rizwan was set to open the innings for Pakistan, during the T20Is, even before the injury to Babar. Now in absence of Babar Azam he will be joined by Abdullah Shafique, who scored an unbeaten 41 during his debut T20I innings against Zimbabwe recently, at the top of the order.
Pakistan’s T20I Squad:
1. Babar Azam (Ruled Out), 2. Shadab Khan (vice-captain), 3. Abdullah Shafique, 4. Faheem Ashraf, 5. Haider Ali, 6. Haris Rauf, 7. Hussain Talat, 8. Iftikhar Ahmed, 9. Imad Wasim, 10. Khushdil Shah, 11. Mohammad Hafeez, 12. Mohammad Hasnain, 13. Mohammad Musa Khan, 14. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 15. Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), 16. Shaheen Shah Afridi, 17. Usman Qadir, 18. Wahab Riaz.