Pakistan’s hopes suffered a big blow on Sunday when captain Babar Azam was ruled out of the three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand after fracturing his right thumb during a practice session.
The batting mainstay will not be able to attend practice for at least 12 days, the Pakistan Cricket Board said, and he faces a race against time to be fit for the opening match of the two-test series from Dec. 26.
“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,” Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said the second-ranked T20 batsman in the world.
“We have a long season of cricket ahead and we now hope that he regains complete fitness as early as possible so that he can return to competitive cricket,” Misbah said in a statement.
Babar’s injury came a day after top-order batsman Imam-ul-Haq fractured his left thumb, also during a practice session. Pakistan’s T20 vice-captain Shadab Khan was also carrying a groin niggle, the cricket board said.
The first T20 will be played in Auckland on Friday.