Pakistan opening batsman Fakhar Zaman has been ruled out from the the tour to New Zealand. The 30-year-old is down with fever and was not able to have a timely recovery before the entire Pakistan squad could depart to New Zealand. Although his COVID-19 test returned a negative result, he still had to be isolated in the team hotel due to fever.
The Pakistan team doctor Sohail Saleem stated that Fakhar was down with fever just a day after his COVID-19 test was negative. Although he is hopeful of a speedy recovery, he made it very clear that Fakhar was not in any kind of position to travel with the team and thus was declared to be ruled out of the tour.
“Fakhar’s covid test report was received on Saturday which came out negative but today he picked up fever,” team doctor Sohail Saleem was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
“As soon as his condition was reported, he was isolated from the rest of the squad in the team hotel. We are constantly monitoring his condition and remain hopeful of his quick recovery; however he is not fit to travel with the squad and as such has been withdrawn from the touring party,” he further added.
Pakistan are set to tour New Zealand for a three-match T20I series followed by a two-match Test series. The first T20I will be played on December 18. Arguably Pakistan’s best batsman, Babar Azam has been given the reins of the Test captaincy for the first time and thus will now lead Pakistan in all three formats. He has assured that he will take independent decisions and try to incorporate whatever he has learned from his seniors.
Pakistan have also made Mohammad Rizwan as the Test vice-captain. Experienced pro Asad Shafiq had been a regular in Pakistan’s Test team ever since the likes of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan played towards the twilight of their careers.
However, his poor form of late has seen him get dropped from the 35-man squad that will tour New Zealand.
There have been quite a few changes in the shortest format too with young spinner Shadab Khan being named as the vice-captain of the T20 side. Experienced players like Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Malik have been dropped from the side. The team will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine at Lincoln before they play their first four-day practice game which will take place against New Zealand A from Decmeber 10 .