Azam Khan Ruled Out of Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I Series Due to Calf Injury

Azam Khan, a key Pakistani cricketer, ruled out of T20I series against NZ due to calf injury, a significant blow to Pakistan's T20 World Cup preparations.

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Azam Khan Ruled Out of Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I Series Due to Calf Injury

Azam Khan Ruled Out of Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I Series Due to Calf Injury

Azam Khan, the Pakistani wicketkeeper-batter, has been ruled out of the ongoing five-match T20I series against New Zealand due to a Grade One tear in his right calf muscle. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed the injury on April 20, 2024, stating that Azam will be leaving the national squad to begin his rehabilitation process at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore under the supervision of the PCB medical panel.

The discomfort in Azam's right calf was first noticed during batting practice in the pre-first T20I training session at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Radiology reports revealed the extent of the injury, and Azam has been advised to undergo a 10-day rest period. As a result, he will not be able to participate in the remaining T20I matches against New Zealand, which are scheduled to conclude on April 27 in Lahore.

Why this matters: Azam Khan's absence is a significant blow to Pakistan's plans for the upcoming T20 World Cup in June 2024. The series against New Zealand serves as a critical preparation for the global event, and the selectors may now have to investigate alternative options to refine their squad.

The Pakistan team, led by Babar Azam, features the return of star players like Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim, who have reversed their retirements. Former fast bowler Azhar Mahmood has been appointed as the head coach for the five-match series, while Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Yousuf have taken on the roles of senior team manager and batting coach, respectively. Pakistan will be looking to avenge their 4-1 T20I series defeat against New Zealand earlier this year.

Despite his limited appearances in T20Is, Azam's prowess as a hard-hitting batter has attracted attention. However, his recent performances have not reflected his potential, with the 25-year-old scoring only 29 runs in eight T20I innings. Azam had a successful Pakistan Super League (PSL) campaign, scoring 226 runs in ten innings for Islamabad United at an impressive strike rate of 171.21, helping the team clinch the tournament title.

The PCB, in an official press release, stated, "Azam Khan has been ruled out of the ongoing T20I series against New Zealand due to a Grade One tear in his right calf muscle. He has been advised a 10-day rest and will leave the Pakistan men's cricket squad to undergo recovery at the National Cricket Academy under the care of the PCB medical panel."

Pakistan won the first T20I against New Zealand by seven wickets, with Mohammad Amir and Shaheen Shah Afridi being the standout bowlers. The third T20I is scheduled for April 21, and Pakistan will aim to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. Azam Khan's injury setback has opened up opportunities for other players to stake their claim in the national team as Pakistan continues to ready for the T20 World Cup 2024.

Key Takeaways

  • Azam Khan ruled out of NZ T20I series due to calf injury, to undergo 10-day rest
  • Injury a significant blow to Pakistan's T20 World Cup 2024 preparations
  • Pakistan team features return of Amir, Wasim; Mahmood appointed as head coach
  • Azam's recent T20I performances underwhelming despite success in PSL
  • Injury opens opportunities for other players to stake claim in national team