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A big change in Test squad, Babar Azam and Imam Ul Haq ruled out from the First Test, Rizwan to lead

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Just in: Babar Azam and Imam Ul Haq ruled out from 1st Test against New Zealand following the injuries. Muhammad Rizwan to lead Pakistan as 33rd Test captain on December 26th in Mount Maunganui.

Pakistan all-format captain, Babar Azam and opener, Imam Ul Haq has been ruled out from 1st Test against New Zealand following the injuries. Muhammad Rizwan to lead as 33rd Test captain of Pakistan in a Test starting from December 26th at Mount Maunganui. The selection committee has also added Imran Butt, a domestic prolific run-scorer in a 17 players squad.

PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) has announced on Monday that Babar Azam had fractured his right thumb a day after Imam Ul Haq fractured his left thumb during a training session in Queenstown. Both are yet to come back in the training sessions with the team’s medical staff monitoring them closely.

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

the statement said.

It has also been announced that Muhammad Rizwan will fill Babar Azam’s absence in the First Test match against New Zealand. He will become the 33rd captain to lead Pakistan in the longest format of the game.

The domestic star of Pakistan, Imran Butt was a part of ongoing four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches in which he scored 191 runs. He was also the highest performer in 2019-20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches with 934 runs at an average 62, following four centuries and three half-centuries.

Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, and Yasir Shah also managed to comeback in Pakistan Test side squad.

Abdullah Shafiq, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan, Usman Qadir, and Wahab Riaz are the players who will be replaced by them. These players will further join Pakistan Shaheens for five T20 matches against the local and New Zealand A sides.

PCB also mentioned that Imad Wasim and Muhammad Hafeez will not go further with the touring party after final T20 against New Zealand.

Imad Wasim will travel to Australia for BBL 2020, to join Melbourne Renegades while Muhammad Hafeez will travel back to Pakistan.

The hosts, NZ have already won the T20I series against Pakistan with a game to spare, played on Tuesday at McLean Park.

‘Under the belt’

Pakistan head coach, Misbah Ul Haq said in a statement that:

“It is disappointing to lose the T20I series against a well-settled New Zealand side, who utilised 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 terms of player confidence and team results as 2021 will not be any easier as we have two major events”.

“Contrary to the T20I side, the Test side appears to be pretty organised and we boast some experienced cricketers, both in 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”.

“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”.

“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 continued.

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)