NZ vs PAK Test Series: Big blow for Pakistan; skipper Babar Azam likely to be ruled out for 1st Test

NZ vs PAK Test Series: Babar Azam likely to miss 1st Test: Recovering from a thumb injury, Pakistan captain Babar Azam could miss the opening Test against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui beginning December 26.

Babar, who has been Pakistan’s top run-scorer across all three formats since last year, suffered a fracture in his thumb during a throw-down session in Queenstown on December 12 which ruled him out of the three-match T20 series.

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“Babar is under rehab and has done some light training but whether he will be 100 percent match fit in time for the first test is a long shot,” a source aware of the developments in New Zealand said.

Pakistan led by vice-captain Shadab Khan looked rusty as a team and lost the first T20 in Auckland on Friday.

Pakistan has also lost opener Imam-ul-Haq due to a thumb fracture who has been advised a 12-day rest.

Babar has also been given a 12-day rehab and rest period to be fit again but the source said the Pakistan captain’s injury was taking time to heal and he was still unable to hold a bat properly.

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The source said Babar and Imam will have scans on their injuries on December 25 and if the fractures heal then Babar could take a risk for the first test but it will depend on how fit he is at that time.

The Pakistan squad had to undergo an extended 14-day quarantine period in Christchurch after around 10 players tested positive for the COVID-19 with four diagnosed as historical cases and six new infections.

If Babar is not fit in time for the first Test, wicketkeeper-batman Muhammad Rizwan will lead the side as he was named Test vice-captain before the tour.