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Pakistan Captain Babar Azam Hits the Nets Ahead of Second New Zealand Test as Race to Get Fit Begins

The chances of Pakistan captain Babar Azam regaining fitness in time for the second Test against New Zealand have improved as he had a lengthy training session at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Friday.

  • PTI
  • Updated: January 1, 2021, 6:00 PM IST
Pakistan Captain Babar Azam Hits the Nets Ahead of Second New Zealand Test as Race to Get Fit Begins

The chances of Pakistan captain Babar Azam regaining fitness in time for the second Test against New Zealand have improved as he had a lengthy training session at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Friday. A spokesperson for the national team said from Christchurch that Babar had a proper nets session with the other players ahead of the game beginning on Sunday.

"Yes he had nets today," the spokesperson said.

He made it clear that any decision on whether Babar would play the second Test would be taken by the tour selection committee on the advice of the medical panel.

Babar has not played on the tour as yet due to a fractured thumb sustained during a throw down session in Queenstown last month.

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Pakistan also lost opener Imam-ul-Haq for the tour with a fractured thumb while allrounder Shadab Khan was ruled out of the Test series after leading Pakistan in the T20 series which they lost 1-2.

Shadab, struggling with a thigh injury, has also been ruled out of the home series against South Africa starting later this month.

A source close to the Pakistan team in New Zealand said that while Babar had started practicing, he was still a bit uncomfortable batting against the red ball.

He is still complaining about some pain in his thumb which he uses to grip the bat.

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The source confided that the Pakistan team management while keen to have Babar back for the second Test also don't want to take a risk with Babar as they want him to be fit in time for the home series against South Africa.

"He will only play if the team doctor says he is completely recovered from the fracture," the source said.

Babar, who was named the most valuable player of the year and the white ball cricketer of the year by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday in their annual awards, has been the team's most consistent batsman in all three formats the past year.

The Pakistan team coach is also considering shuffling the top order after the continued failure of openers, Shan Masood and Abid Ali who fell for ducks in the second innings of the first Test at the Bay Oval.

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Uncapped Imran Butt is being considered to make his debut in Christchurch.

Pakistan lost the first Test after an enthralling final day when New Zealand grabbed victory with just four overs remaining in the match.



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RankTeamPointsRating
1 New Zealand 3198 118
2 Australia 3028 116
3 India 3085 114
4 England 4326 106
5 South Africa 2499 96
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RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 5405 123
2 India 6102 117
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 Australia 4344 111
5 South Africa 3345 108
FULL Ranking
RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 6877 275
2 Australia 6800 272
3 India 10186 268
4 Pakistan 7516 259
5 South Africa 5047 252
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