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New Zealand vs Pakistan: Babar Azam And Imam-ul-Haq Ruled Out Of 1st Test

Babar Azam.

Babar Azam.

Pakistans all format captain Babar Azam and opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq have been ruled out of the first test against New Zealand with thumb injuries.

Pakistans all-format captain Babar Azam and opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq have been ruled out of the first test against New Zealand with thumb injuries.

Both batsmen fractured their thumbs during training session last week and have yet to return. The Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement on Monday that the teams medical staff is closely monitoring the progress of both players.

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A decision on their participation in the second test, which commences in Christchurch on Jan. 3, will be made closer to the time, the PCB said.

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Wicketkeeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan will lead the side in the first test, starting at Mount Maunganui from Dec. 26.Pakistan named uncapped 24-year-old batsman Imran Butt in its 15-member squad for the first test. Butt scored 934 runs in the 2019-20 first class tournament at an average of 62 with four centuries and three half centuries.

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In the absence of Azam, Pakistan trails 2-0 in the three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand with the last game due to be played at Napier on Tuesday.

It will be nearly two weeks to Babars injury when the first test starts, (but) it will be hard on him and the team to play him without any net sessions, Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said.I remain confident and optimistic that other players will rise to the occasion in Mount Maunganui and put the disappointment of the T20I series behind them.

Squad for 1st test: Mohammad Rizwan (captain), 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.

Meanwhile Pakistan on Saturday appointed former test cricketer Mohammad Wasim as the chairman of its selection committee until the 2023 World Cup. The 43-year-old Wasim will replace Misbah-ul-Haq, who stepped down in October to concentrate on his job as head coach of the national team.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement that Wasims appointment was approved by the boards chairman Ehsan Mani following the final round of online interviews held on Thursday and Friday. This is a performance-oriented world and, as such, my philosophy will be to promote meritocracy and select squads according to home and international conditions and requirements, Wasim said in a statement. As a chief selector, I will always be willing to make the hard calls, if these are in the best interest of Pakistan cricket. Pakistan will have a hectic 2021 as it has planned to host at least four international teams South Africa, New Zealand, England and the West Indies besides playing in the Twenty20 World Cup in India. Wasims first assignment will be to select the Pakistan team for next months two-test and three Twenty20 home series against South Africa.

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