WELLINGTON: Wicket-keeper Tom Blundell and uncapped all-rounder Zak Foulkes have been added as late call-ups for New Zealand’s Twenty20 International tour of Pakistan, the side announced on Friday.

Blundell and Foulkes will respectively replace promising batter Finn Allen and veteran paceman Adam Milne, who were both injured on the eve of departure.

Pakistan host New Zealand for five T20 Internationals starting in Rawalpindi next Thursday, as both teams tune up for June’s T20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies.

Top-order batter Allen is out of the tour with a back injury, while pace bowler Milne is sidelined by an ankle knock, New Zealand Cricket said.

They were injured in training ahead of Friday’s departure.

“We feel for both Finn and Adam, suffering injuries so close to the start of the tour,” said New Zealand head coach Gary Stead.

“They have been strong performers for us in the T20 format since the last World Cup.”

This is the first time Foulkes, 21, has been called into a Black Caps squad while Blundell, 33, has previously toured Pakistan with New Zealand. He will provide wicket-keeping and top-order cover.

“Tom is a highly experienced player and along with his wicket-keeping and batting skill sets is a leader in any group he is a part of,” Stead added.

Foulkes has caught the eye of the Black Caps selectors with impressive bowling figures for Canterbury in domestic competitions.

“We also know he has skills with the bat and it will be an excellent opportunity for him to be part of the group,” Stead added.

New Zealand won 4-1 in a home five-match T20 series against Pakistan in January.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2024

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