Injured Babar Azam likely to miss first Test against NZ

Injured Babar Azam likely to miss first Test against New Zealand

The Pakistan captain's injury is taking time to heal and he is still unable to hold a bat properly

Injured Pakistani captain Babar Azam looks on during the first T20 international cricket match between New Zealand and Pakistan at Eden Park in Auckland. Credit: AFP Photo

Recovering from a thumb injury, Pakistan captain Babar Azam could miss the opening Test against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui beginning Dec. 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 Dec. 12, which ruled him out of the three-match T20 series.

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

Led by vice-captain Shadab Khan, Pakistan 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 and he has been advised at least 12 days of 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 that Babar and Imam would have scans on their injuries on Dec. 25. If the fractures show healing, Babar could then take a risk for the first Test but it would depend on how fit he feels at that time.

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

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