Both Babar and Imam had fractured their thumbs during a training session last week and will be monitored closely by the team’s medical staff. Mohammad Rizwan will lead in Babar’s absence, becoming Pakistan’s 33rd Test captain.
The 24-year-old Imran Butt, who has lit up the domestic run charts of late, has received his maiden call-up. Imran has scored 191 runs in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and was the highest run-getter last season with 934 runs, which included seven fifty-plus scores, four of which were converted to triple figures.
From the T20I squad, Imad Wasim will depart for Australia after the third T20I to join Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League, while Mohammad Hafeez will be flying back home.
Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq expressed his disappointment on losing the T20I series against New Zealand but his hopeful about the Test team’s chances.
“It is disappointing to lose the T20I series against a well-settled New Zealand side, who utilised their resources and conditions to their advantage,” he said.
“Contrary to the T20I side, the Test side appears to be pretty organised and we boast some experienced cricketers, both in batting and bowling departments. With some competitive cricket on the tour now under the belt, I am hoping we will be a better outfit in the longer version of the game.”
“Although it will be nearly two weeks to Babar’s injury when the first Test starts, it will be hard on him and the team to play him without any net sessions. I remain confident and optimistic that other players will rise to the occasion in Mount Maunganui and use the opportunity to rise to the occasion and put the disappointment of the T20I series behind them.”
Squad: Mohammad Rizwan (captain for first Test), Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan and Yasir Shah, Babar Azam (not available for first Test), Imam-ul-Haq (not available for first Test).
December 26-30: First Test v New Zealand, Mount Manganui
January 3-7: Second Test v New Zealand, Christchurch (UNI)