Image courtesy of: Pakistan Cricket Board
Legendary Pakistan batsman Javed Miandad has said there is no doubt that captain Babar Azam is the national team’s “key player” and best performer.
Azam has been in sensational form as of late as he made scores of 19, 77 not out and 125 in the ODI series against Zimbabwe, and followed it up by making 82 and 51 in the first two T20 Internationals. He didn’t bat in the third match of the series.
He continued to shine in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) playoffs as he scored 65 in the Qualifier and 63 not out in the final to lead the Karachi Kings to their first-ever title.
However, he has been ruled out of the three-match T20 series against New Zealand after sustaining a fractured right thumb.
Azam suffered the injury during a throw-down session on Sunday morning and was taken to a local hospital, where X-rays confirmed the fracture.
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.
Admitting that his absence “will affect the team”, Miandad said this is a chance for the other players to stand up and make their presence felt against a strong opposition.
“Babar is our key player. No doubt his absence will affect the team as he is [Pakistan’s] best performing player at the moment,” Miandad told APP as quoted by Cricket Pakistan. “However, the team should not get under pressure as there are 11 players in the team who all must have the confidence to perform for their country.
“If any one player gets injured or else, then others should fulfill his responsibility in the team by performing as victory is gained when the whole team performs.
“All the players are equally good as they are playing for the country. They just need to build their confidence and whoever gets the chance must perform.”
Pakistan will play three T20 Internationals and two Tests in New Zealand, with the series beginning on Friday and concluding on January 7.