Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq ruled out of first New Zealand Test


Karachi: Pakistan captain Babar Azam and opener Imamul Haq have been ruled out of the first Test starting in Mount Maunganui from December 26.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan will lead Pakistan in the absence of Babar Azam in the first Test. Rizwan will become Pakistan’s 33rd captain to lead the side in the longest format of the game.

Babar had had fractured his right thumb a day after Imam had fractured his left thumb during training sessions in Queenstown last week. Both are yet to return to nets with the team’s medical staff closely monitoring their progress.

The decision on their participation in the second Test, which starts in Christchurch on January 3, will be made closer to the time.

Meanwhile, the tour selection committee has named prolific domestic run-scorer Imran Butt in the 17-player squad for the Test series against New Zealand.

Read: Inzamam thinks Babar won’t play first Test against New Zealand

Balochistan’s 24-year-old Imran Butt scored 191 runs in the three ongoing four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches before joining the New Zealand-bound tour party. He had topped batting charts in the 2019-20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with 934 runs at an average of over 62 with four centuries and three half-centuries.

Also returning to the Pakistan Test side are Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan and Yasir Shah.

They will replace Abdullah Shafiq, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz who will now join Pakistan Shaheens for five T20 matches against the local and New Zealand XI sides.

Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez will not be in action on the New Zealand tour after the Napier T20I. Imad will travel to Australia to join Melbourne Renegades in the BBL, while Mohammad Hafeez will return to Pakistan.


Pakistan squad for Tests: Mohammad Rizwan (captain for 1st Test), Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan and Yasir Shah. (Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq not available for first Test)

Pakistan Shaheens for T20s: Rohail Nazir (captain, wicketkeeper), Abdullah Shafiq, Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz, Zafar Gohar and Zeeshan Malik.

Upcoming matches:

26-30 Dec – 1st Test v New Zealand, Mount Manganui

27 Dec – 1st T20 v Northern Knights, Hamilton

29 Dec – 2nd T20 v Wellington Firebirds, Wellington

1 Jan – 3rd T20 v Canterbury, Lincoln

3-7 Jan – 2nd Test v New Zealand, Christchurch

3 Jan – 4th T20 v New Zealand XI, Lincoln

5 Jan – 5th T20 v New Zealand XI, Lincoln

Read more: Ammad, Naseem star in Pakistan Shaheens win over NZ A