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Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis believes that other teams are “scared” of captain Babar Azam.
His comments come after Azam was ruled out of the three-match T20 series against New Zealand after sustaining a fractured right thumb.
The 26-year-old suffered the injury during a throw-down session on Sunday morning.
Azam, who is second on the T20 International batsmen rankings, won’t be able to participate in any net sessions for at least 12 days and it remains to be seen whether he will be fit in time for the first Test against New Zealand, which begins in Mount Maunganui on December 26.
Waqar admitted that Azam’s injury is “a major setback for us”, especially as the talented batsman is “one of the best players in the world”.
“It is a major setback for us. Other teams are scared of Babar Azam and there is no doubt that he is one of the best players in the world. It is unfortunate that it [injury] happened at the wrong time, just at the stroke of the series starting,” Waqar was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
“It is also an opportunity for other players to step up, especially the youngsters, as they will get more chances.”
Pakistan will play three T20 Internationals and two Tests in New Zealand, with the series beginning on December 18 and concluding on January 7.