Babar Azam. (Source: Twitter)

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has been ruled out of the T20I series against New Zealand with a fractured thumb.

“Babar suffered the injury during a throw-down session, following which he was taken to a local hospital where X-rays confirmed the fracture,” the Pakistan Cricket Board stated in a release on Sunday (December 13). “As a result, he will be unable to attend nets for, at least, 12 days. During this period, the doctors will continue to monitor Babar’s injury before confirming his participation in the first Test.

In Babar’s absence, Shadab Khan, Pakistan’s T20I vice captain, is likely to lead the team.

“It is hugely disappointing to lose a player of Babar Azam’s calibre for the T20Is, this opens up opportunities for the other highly talented and exciting players to step-up, understand their responsibilities and try to prove that the Pakistan side is a complete package,” Misbah ul Haq, Pakistan’s head coach, said.

“I have spoken with Babar and he is sad to miss the T20I series as he was fully focused and keenly looking forward to the T20Is. We have a long season of cricket ahead and we now hope that he regains complete fitness as early as possible so that he can return to competitive cricket.

“The medical team is monitoring Shadab Khan’s groin niggle and we remain optimistic that he will be available for the T20Is, but we will neither risk him nor the team’s chances if we think he needs a few more days to be back to his complete fitness.”

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