Pakistan cricket captain Babar Azam will not be available for the upcoming New Zealand T20Is after suffering a fracture in his right thumb during Sunday morning’s practice session.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed the development in a statement released on Sunday, which stated that Azam suffered the injury during a throw-down session after which he was taken to a local hospital where X-rays confirmed the fracture.
"As such, Babar will be unable to attend nets for at least 12 days, meaning he will not be available for the December 18, 20 and 22, T20Is to be played in Auckland, Hamilton and Napier, respectively," the statement reads.
Doctors will continue to monitor his injury in the meantime, before they confirm his participation in the first Test match, scheduled for Dec 26 in Bay Oval.
Imamul Haq had also suffered a fracture in his left thumb during a throw-down session the previous day. He was advised a 12-day rest which confirmed his non-availability for the Pakistan Shaheens’ four-day match against New Zealand ‘A’, which starts in Whangarei on Dec 17.
Vice-captain Shadab Khan is also carrying a groin niggle, which limited his participation in Sunday’s net sessions to batting only, according to the statement. A decision on his participation in the Auckland T20I will be made closer to the match, it added.
"Injuries are part and parcel of professional sport," said Pakistan head coach Misbahul Haq, adding that he remained optimistic that this would open up opportunities for "other highly talented and exciting players to step-up [...] and try to prove that the Pakistan side is a complete package."
“I have spoken with Babar and he is sad to miss the T20I series as he was fully focused and keenly looking forward to the T20Is," he said.
Commenting on Shadab Khan's groin niggle, the Pakistan coach confirmed that he was under observation of doctors and the management remained optimistic for his return to the T20Is.
Pakistan squad for New Zealand T20Is:
Shadab Khan (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Musa Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz.
Pakistan Shaheens for New Zealand ‘A’ four-day match:
Rohail Nazir (captain), Abid Ali, Amad Butt, Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar and Zeeshan Malik.