Karachi: Recovering from a thumb injury, Pakistan captain Babar Azam could miss the opening Test against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui beginning 26 December.
Babar, who has been Pakistan's top run-scorer across all three formats since last year, suffered a fracture in his thumb during a throw-down session in Queenstown on 12 December which ruled him out of the three-match T20 series.
"Babar is under rehab and has done some light training but whether he will be 100 percent match fit in time for the first Test is a long shot," a source aware of the developments in New Zealand said.
Pakistan led by vice-captain Shadab Khan looked rusty as a team and lost the first T20 in Auckland on Friday.
Pakistan has also lost opener Imam-ul-Haq due to a thumb fracture who has been advised a 12-day rest.
Babar has also been given a 12-day rehab and rest period to be fit again but the source said the Pakistan captain's injury was taking time to heal and he was still unable to hold a bat properly.
The source said Babar and Imam will have scans on their injuries on 25 December and if the fractures heal then Babar could take a risk for the first Test but it will depend on how fit he is at that time.
The Pakistan squad had to undergo an extended 14-day quarantine period in Christchurch after around 10 players tested positive for the COVID-19 with four diagnosed as historical cases and six new infections.
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.
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Pakistan selectors had initially announced 20 players for the two-Test series but trimmed the squad to 17 for the first Test at the National Stadium in Karachi.
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