Pakistan cricket team suffered a huge blow on Sunday as its skipper Babar Azam has been ruled out of the upcoming three-match T20I series against New Zealand after suffering a fracture in his right thumb during practice sessions.Also Read - Pakistan Pacer Shaheen Afridi Makes it to top-5 in ICC Test Rankings For First Time

It was during the throw-down session where Babar sustained the injury following which he was taken to a local hospital where X-rays confirmed the fracture, stated Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in a media release. Also Read - Chris Gayle Blames T20 Openers For Killing the Entertainment in T20 Cricket

Pakistan head coach displayed his disappointment after Babar’s injury and wants other players to step up to the occasion against New Zealand. Also Read - India Were Scared in T20 World Cup Match Against Pakistan: Inzamam-ul-Haq

“Injuries are part and parcel of professional sport and while it is hugely disappointing to lose a player of Babar Azam’s calibre for the T20Is, this opens up opportunities for the other highly talented and exciting players to step-up, understand their responsibilities and try to prove that the Pakistan side is a complete package,” Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said.

“I have spoken with Babar and he is sad to miss the T20I series as he was fully focused and keenly looking forward to the T20Is. We have a long season of cricket ahead and we now hope that he regains complete fitness as early as possible so that he can return to competitive cricket,” he added.

As such, he will be unable to attend nets for, at least, 12 days, meaning he will not be available for the December 18, 20 and 22 T20Is to be played in Auckland, Hamilton and Napier, respectively.

Earlier, Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq also fractured his left thumb during a throw-down session. As with Babar, the doctors will continue to monitor Imam’s injury before confirming his participation in the first Test.

To add more misery to Pakistan cricket team, T20I vice-captain Shadab Khan had limited participation in Sunday’s net sessions to batting only due to groin niggle.

The Pakistan head coach is optimistic about Shadab’s participation in the T20I series but claims he will not take the risk if the all-rounder needs some more rest.

“The medical team is monitoring Shadab Khan’s groin niggle and we remain optimistic that he will be available for the T20Is, but we will neither risk him nor the team’s chances if we think he needs a few more days to be back to his complete fitness,” said Misbah

Pakistan squad for New Zealand T20Is:

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)