NZ vs Pak 2nd Test – Setback for Pakistan, Babar Azam ruled out of 2nd Test against New Zealand: Pakistan’s talismanic captain Babar Azam will miss the second Test against New Zealand, which commences at the Hagley Oval from Sunday. In his absence, Mohammad Rizwan will lead the side, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed on Saturday.
Babar Azam to miss Christchurch Test
— PCB Media (@TheRealPCBMedia) January 2, 2021
Babar had a full-fledged training session on Friday but felt slight pain in his thumb, following which, the team management has opted against taking any risk.
Babar had to sit out the three-T20I series and the first Test, at Mount Maunganui, after he fractured his right thumb during a net session in the lead-up to the white-ball series.
Dr Sohail Saleem: “We have seen improvement in Babar Azam’s injury but he is yet to fully recover. He is our captain and the most important batsman in the lineup, so we do not want to take any risk.
“The medical team is constantly reviewing his injury and we are hopeful he will be available for the home series against South Africa.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan will aim to level the series after suffering 101-runs defeat in the first test.
On the other hand, there is a lot at stake for New Zealand in the second Test where they need to win to have a chance of making the World Test Championship final at Lords in June.
New Zealand are vying with Australia, India and England to make the final two.
A draw or better will confirm New Zealand as number one in the world rankings, extend their unbeaten home record to 17 Tests and a win will see New Zealand win six consecutive Tests for the first time.
But Williamson, newly installed as the number one batsman in the world, said rankings and accolades were not a focus.
“You know these are very difficult things to control and these rankings sort of move every day,” Williamson said while adding there was something special about the current Black Caps squad.
“Looking back, we’re always been competitive at times but certainly not all the time and the team’s come a long way in terms of bringing an element of consistency.”
There were occasional showers disrupting practice in Christchurch on Saturday but the forecast is for fine weather throughout the Test.
Pakistan team for 2nd Test Match: Injury woes for Pakistan team continues
Babar has not played on the tour as yet due to a fractured thumb sustained during a throw down session in Queenstown last month.
Pakistan also lost opener Imam-ul-Haq for the tour with a fractured thumb while allrounder Shadab Khan was ruled out of the Test series after leading Pakistan in the T20 series which they lost 1-2.
Shadab, struggling with a thigh injury, has also been ruled out of the home series against South Africa starting later this month.
The Pakistan team coach is also considering shuffling the top order after the continued failure of openers, Shan Masood and Abid Ali who fell for ducks in the second innings of the first Test at the Bay Oval.
Uncapped Imran Butt is being considered to make his debut in Christchurch.
Pakistan lost the first Test after an enthralling final day when New Zealand grabbed victory with just four overs remaining in the match