Pakistan sorely missed Babar Azam in the first Test against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui as the classy right-handed batsman could not play after sustaining a finger injury. Babar Azam also missed the T20I series due to that as Pakistan lost it by 2-1. And the 25-year old has been ruled out of the second Test too since there was a slight pain in his thumb despite a full-fledged training session.
Keeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan stepped up to take the captaincy role in the first Test, but Pakistan’s valiant fight was not enough to avoid defeat. Fawad Alam’s fighting hundred in the second innings, Faheem Ashraf’s counterattacking knock in the first innings, and Rizwan’s mature knocks in both the innings were some of the bright spots for the tourists. Babar Azam’s return could have meant that Pakistan sidelined Haris Sohail, who had scores of 3 and 9 in Mount Manganui.
Mohammad Rizwan earlier mentioned that Babar Azam has received clearance; however, he wants to take more time. The 28-year old acknowledged that Kane Williamson batted very well in the first Test and Babar has the same role in our team. He believes that the result could have turned out to be different if the 25-year old had been there.
“He’s cleared but he wants to take some more time. If he plays he has a great impact on our team. Williamson batted very solid … Babar Azam has the same role in our team. The result may have been different if Babar was playing,” Rizwan said as quoted by CricketPakistan.pk.
Babar Azam is one of the best players in the world: Kane Williamson
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson admitted that Babar Azam brings a lot to the team, witnessing how challenging it was to beat Pakistan and their skipper’s addition makes it further.
“He’s one of the best players in the world. He obviously adds a lot. We saw how challenging it is against this Pakistan side. You add Babar to that and it strengthens it,” he added.