Shadab to lead green shirts against Kiwis in first T20I

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Christchurch

All-rounder Shadab Khan will be leading the Pakistan Cricket Team against New Zealand in the absence of Babar Azam, sources revealed on Wednesday.
Sources said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management is satisfied with the cricketer’s fitness after the training session. He had previously complained of groin injury which restricted him to batting during the training session on Sunday.
The management has made the decision after Skipper Babar Azam was ruled out due to a fracture in his right thumb earlier this week.
“World’s second-ranked T20I batsman suffered the injury during a throw-down session, following which he was taken to a local hospital where X-rays confirmed his fracture,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had confirmed in a statement on Sunday.
Babar’s injury came just a day after Imam ul Haq was ruled out due to a thumb fracture sustained during a net session and advised a 12-day rest.
Pakistan’s is scheduled to play the first T20I against New Zealand on December 18. Meanwhile, Pakistani skipper Babar Azam has shared a message of support for the green shirts, who are currently in Christchurch to play a series against New Zealand.
Azam, who’s untimely injury has become a major setback for the squad as it gears up to face the Kiwis, said he was “really proud of this young and dynamic team”.
“Give your best guys and enjoy your game. You are a force to reckon with,” he wrote on Twitter. Azam was ruled out of the New Zealand T20Is after suffering a fracture in his right thumb during Sunday morning’s practice session.
He “was taken to a local hospital where X-rays confirmed his fracture,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had confirmed in a statement.
The Pakistani cricketer, alongside his teammate Shan Masood, was recently named in the Wisden’s Test Team of the Year 2020, as one of the players with the best performance during the December 2019-2020 period.
“Babar Azam made sure the return of Test cricket was a joyous, triumphant one, and it was fitting that he, a player who had already inspired such hope in the country, should provide even more,” wrote Wisden.
Pakistan squad: Shadab Khan (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Musa Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz. Babar Azam (withdrawn due to injury)