Image courtesy of: Ary Sports
Former Pakistan cricketer Ramiz Raja said captain Babar Azam’s reflexes were slow due to the time spent in quarantine and could have partially been the reason why he sustained a fractured right thumb.
Azam suffered the injury during a throw-down session on Sunday morning and has been ruled out of the three-match T20 series against New Zealand.
The 26-year-old, 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.
“Already, Babar’s reflexes would have been slow due to the time spent in quarantine as it is not easy to time the ball straightaway. To middle the ball would have been difficult, even for a player like Babar Azam,” Ramiz said in a video on his YouTube channel as quoted by Cricket Pakistan.
In addition to Azam’s reflexes, Ramiz also criticised the training facilities in Queenstown, saying it is not “up to the required standards”.
“I was surprised to see that [the] Pakistan team was sent to Queenstown for practice sessions. Although it is one of the most beautiful places in the world and is a ski resort or a holiday resort, but this area is not suitable for [a] cricketing environment and regular cricket does not take place here,” he said.
“Obviously, this is why [the] practice facilities would not have been up to the required standards, which would have probably led to uneven bounce, and could have resulted in Babar Azam fracturing his thumb as well.”
Pakistan will play three T20 Internationals and two Tests in New Zealand, with the series beginning on December 18 and concluding on January 7.