Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who is recovering from a thumb injury, could miss the opening Test against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui beginning December 26.

Babar, who has been Pakistan’s top run-scorer across all three formats since 2019, suffered a fracture in his thumb during a throw-down session in Queenstown on December 12 which ruled him out of the three-match T20I series.

Pakistan has also lost opener Imam-ul-Haq due to a thumb fracture. Imam has been advised a 12-day rest.

Babar’s absence a major setback for Pakistan, says Waqar Younis

“Babar is under rehab and has done some light training but whether he will be 100% match fit in time for the first Test is a long shot,” an official aware of the developments in New Zealand said.

Pakistan, led by vice-captain Shadab Khan, lost the first T20 in Auckland on Friday. The Pakistan squad had to undergo an extended 14-day quarantine period in Christchurch after around 10 players tested positive for COVID-19 with four diagnosed as historical cases and six new infections.

Babar Azam ruled out of New Zealand T20s with fractured thumb.

If Babar is not fit in time for the first Test, wicketkeeper-batman Muhammad Rizwan will lead the side as he was named Test vice-captain before the tour.