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Babar Azam ruled out of second Test against New Zealand

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Christchurch: Pakistan captain Babar Azam has been ruled out of the second and final Test against New Zealand in Christchurch after failing to recover sufficiently from a right thumb fracture, the country’s cricket board said on Saturday.

“Pakistan men’s national team 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 PCB said in a statement.

“Babar had a full-fledge training session yesterday but felt slight pain in his thumb, following which, the team management has opted against taking any risk.”

Babar, 26, sustained the injury during a practice session in Queenstown and has now missed the three-match Twenty20 series and the two Tests. Mohammad Rizwan will continue to lead the touring side, who lost the opening Test in Mount Maunganui by 101 runs.

“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,” Dr Sohail Saleem, PCB’s Medical and Sports Sciences Head said.

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