Pakistan tour of New Zealand 2020/21 | Sportzwiki

Pakistan tour of New Zealand 2020/21

faf du plessis, black lives matter
Faf du Plessis. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Faf Du Plessis Wants To Play His Best Cricket In 2-Test Series Against Pakistan

Faf du Plessis, South Africa’s 36-year-old batsman said he really wants to play his “best cricket” as the team prepares for the two-Test series against Pakistan.

The star cricketer is in line to play his 68th Test but first in Pakistan when the two-Test series starts on Tuesday at the National Stadium. He has scored 4108 runs with highest being 199 against Sri Lanka in December 2020.

Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis (Image Credit: Google)

Faf Du Plessis: Really Want To Play My Best Cricket

South Africa will play their first Test in Pakistan for 14 years this week at Karachi as international cricket was suspended following a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team’s bus in Lahore in 2009. Foreign teams refused to tour the terror-hit country on security fears before Test cricket was revived for the first time in a decade with the visit of Sri Lanka in December 2019.

“I am intentional in making sure I really enjoy my cricket. If that comes through in performances or the way that I speak, then I am glad that it is happening,” ESPN Cricinfo quoted du Plessis as saying.

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan
Sri Lanka vs Pakistan. Twitter

“I am batting well at the moment, feeling good and I really want to play my best cricket. I also want to put in some good performances in the subcontinent. It is really important for me to do well overseas,” he said.

The second Test between the two teams will be played at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, from February 4, before they travel to Lahore for three T20Is on February 11, 13 and 14 at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Faf Du Plessis: Having Babar Azam Back Is Massive For Pakistan

Faf Du Plessis also feels having Babar Azam back is massive for Pakistan.

“Having Babar back is massive for them. I would say he is up there with the top three batters in the world at the moment. His last two seasons, in all formats, have been nothing short of remarkable,” he said.

It will be a dream come true for newly appointed skipper Babar Azam, who was a ball boy during South Africa’s last tour in 2007, but he faces a task to lift Pakistan after being swept 2-0 in Tests in New Zealand in the past month.

Babar Azam.
Babar Azam. Image Credit: Getty Images.

He is back to full fitness after missing the New Zealand tour with a fractured thumb and leads an inexperienced 20-man squad with nine players yet to play a Test.

England have also agreed to play two Twenty20s in October on their first trip to Pakistan since 2005, to be followed by New Zealand and the West Indies for white-ball series. If all go untroubled according to plans, then Australia will arrive for Tests and one-day matches next year, having not toured Pakistan since 1998.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam (Credits: Twitter)

Babar Azam Urges Pakistan To Play Aggressive And Fearless Cricket Against South Africa

Babar Azam, Pakistan skipper has urged his national team Pakistan to be aggressive and fearless in order to improve their record against the top teams in world cricket.

Pakistan’s recent tour of New Zealand saw them lose both the Test matches and the first two T20 internationals with their only victory coming in the inconsequential 3rd and final T20I in Napier.

Babar Azam.
Babar Azam. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Babar Azam Wants Team To Play Positive But Aggressive And Fearless Cricket

Babar Azam saw his team lose from the sidelines as he was ruled out of both series despite travelling with team with a fractured right thumb which he suffered during practice before the start of the T20Is.

But the 26-year-old will be seen back in action as he will lead in Pakistan’s historic home Test series against South Africa and wants his players to give nothing less than 100 per cent on the field. Babar Azam has captained Pakistan in 11 T20Is, 3 ODIs but is yet to captain Pakistan in Tests. Mohammed Rizwan captained in 2 Tests against the Kiwis in his absence.

“I want the team to play positive but aggressive and fearless cricket, especially in white-ball cricket if we want to challenge top teams. Usually we stop scoring runs if we lose one or two quick wickets and this is where I want the team’s mindset to change — even if you’ve lost two quick wickets, you must continue to add numbers to the scoreboard,” Babar Azam told former Pakistan cricketer Ramiz Raza via the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) digital platform.

Ramiz Raza
Ramiz Raja

“We need to be good enough against top-quality sides if we want ourselves to be considered as a topside and for that, we need to win series against top teams,” the skipper added.

Pakistan are all set to host South Africa for a series of 2 Tests and 3 T20Is in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore from January 26 to February 14. After the conclusion of the second Test, the Proteas Test squad will return home and a separate team shall play the three-match T20I series in Pakistan. Players of both teams entered the bio-secure bubble on January 19, and the squads will be trimmed to 16 ahead of the first Test.

Pakistan Hosted 3 Other Teams In Recent Times

The series marks the first time South Africa are touring Pakistan since 2007. Pakistan has hosted three other teams in recent times – Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe – since the resumption of international cricket in the country in late 2019 almost a decade after Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by armed hooligans but the cricketers escaped with minor injuries in 2009.

Azhar Ali
Azhar Ali (Image Credit: Twitter)

Pakistan’s senior-most batsman Azhar Ali has made an appeal to the young guns in the team to brush aside their insecurities and express themselves freely against South Africa in the upcoming Test series. Last week, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a 20-member squad, including nine uncapped players, for the Test series that commences on January 26.

Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, New Zealand vs India 2020, India
Kane Williamson. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Not At All Surprised To See The Consistency Of Kane Williamson: VVS Laxman

Kane Williamson, New Zealand skipper has now scored a hundred in every Test he has played this summer, and former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman is not at all surprised to see the consistency of the world number one batsman.

Kane Williamson hit an unbeaten 112 on day two of the second Test against Pakistan to put the Kiwis on top here at the Hagley Oval on Monday. This is his third consecutive ton after his 129 in the first Test and career-best 251 against West Indies in December 2020.

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Kane Williamson’s Consistency Doesn’t Surprise VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman explained the reason behind his phenomenal success and said that the Kiwi skipper is the true role model for any youngster who is trying to make a name by playing cricket.

The former Indian batsman, who was famous for his wrist work stroke play in his playing days, said Kane Williamson’s unbelievable work ethics and attention to detail while preparing for any game are the prime reasons behind his success.

VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman (Photo: IANS)

“Not at all surprised to see the consistency of Kane Williamson. Unbelievable work ethics and attention to detail while preparing for any match are the reasons behind his success. A true role model for any youngster to emulate,” Laxman tweeted.

Kane Williamson scored above 6500 runs in over 80 Tests averaging in the 50s and notched ahead of Steve Smith and Virat Kohli to become No. 1 batsman.

New Zealand Trails Pakistan By 11 Runs Ending 2nd Day At 286/3

The Kiwis concluded day two of the ongoing Test at 286/3, trailing Pakistan by 11 runs. Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls are currently unbeaten on 112 and 89 respectively. For Pakistan, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, and Faheem Ashraf scalped one wicket each.

Starting their innings on the second day, New Zealand openers provided a steady start to the side as Tom Latham and Tom Blundell put on 52 runs for the first wicket, but Pakistan came back strongly as the visitors dismissed both the openers in a span of six balls.

Henry Nicholls
Henry Nicholls. Image Credit: Getty Images

Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls though went past their half-century mark after arriving at the crease with the score at 71/3 following Ross Taylor’s wicket. In the end, the duo saw out the final session of play and the Kiwis ended day two with seven more wickets remaining in the bag. New Zealand had bundled out Pakistan for 297 in the first innings as Kyle Jamieson scalped five wickets.

New Zealand had won 1st Test with Kane Williamson scoring a ton but the match was well poised as Pakistan fought till the very end but lost despite Fawad Alam scoring 102 and stand-in skipper Mohammed Rizwan’s valuable contributions in both innings.

Neil Wagner
Neil Wagner (Image Credit: Twitter)

Gary Stead Confirms Pacer Neil Wagner Will Miss 2nd Test Due To Broken Toes

Gary Stead, New Zealand coach confirmed that star pacer Neil Wagner will miss the second Test against Pakistan at Hagley Oval in Christchurch starting on Sunday due to broken toes.

Neil Wagner braved two broken toes and inspired his team to a memorable victory that would take Kane Williamson’s side to the top of the ICC Test rankings. A Shaheen Afridi yorker hit Neil Wagner on Sunday, but he overcame the injury to bowl in both the innings for New Zealand.

Gary Stead
Gary Stead (Credits: Twitter)

Gary Stead: Neil Wagner Was Amazing As He Braved Injury Concerns

In the 1st Test, New Zealand scored 431 in 1st and 180/5 declared in 2nd innings and dismissed Pakistan for 239 and 271 to win the match by 101 runs. Kane Williamson scored 129 in New Zealand’s 1st innings and was well complemented by Ross Taylor (70), Henry Nicholls (56) and BJ Watling(73).

Pakistan faltered in 1st innings as apart from Mohammed Rizwan (71) and Faheem Ashraf (91) the others didn’t manage double-digit figures. After New Zealand declared at 180/5, Pakistan’s Fawad Alam scored 102 but couldn’t win the match for Pakistan.

“Neil was absolutely outstanding,” Gary Stead told reporters at Christchurch airport on Thursday. “I don’t think there are too many individuals who could do what he did in that test match.”

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“Neil hasn’t traveled with us. The injections he was getting (to lessen the pain) were wearing off (quickly) and we can’t let him go through that again.”

Pacer Neil Wagner would be out of action for up to six weeks. Gary Stead said that the Kiwis would likely name his replacement on Friday, adding that they would go “like for like” replacement.

Gary Stead: Fawad Alam And Mohammad Rizwan Neatly Took Match Away From New Zealand’s Grasp

Gary Stead was pleased with New Zealand’s first Test’s performance in both batting and bowling against a tough resilient Pakistan side, who were behind in most sessions for much of the match but were still in with a chance of snatching victory from jaws of defeat in the final session. Fawad Alam and Mohammed Rizwan put up a 165 run 5th wicket partnership after Pakistan were reduced to 75/4.

“That was tough, really hard test cricket and it was good to come out on the right side of it against a tough Pakistan team,” he said.

Fawad Alam
Fawad Alam (Image Credit: Google)

“I thought Mohammad Rizwan and Fawad Alam’s partnership was outstanding … and they nearly took the game away from us. That’s what makes Test cricket what it is,” Gary Stead stated.

Neil Wagner picked four wickets bowling 49 overs averaging 26.25 while Kyle Jamieson picked five wickets averaging 14.

Fawad Alam came back into Pakistan’s test team after a gap of 88 tests and more than 10 years. In the first Test against Kiwis, he scored his first Test hundred after more than 11 years. There was a gap of 4218 days between the two centuries he has scored in his Test career. In July 2009, he became the first Pakistani cricketer to score a Test century on debut away from home.


New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st Test: Fantasy Cricket Tips – Pakistan Tour Of New Zealand 2020-21

The hosts New Zealand and the visitors Pakistan will face each other in the opening game of the two-match Test series at Bay Oval (Mount Maunganui) from Saturday (26th December) morning.

This Test series will be a part of the ongoing inaugural ICC World Test Championship. Before this Test series, they played a three-match T20I series where the hosts New Zealand won by the 2-1 margin.

New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st Test: Complete Squads

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (C), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Will Young

Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (C), Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah and Zafar Gohar.

New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st Test: Predicted XIs

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult

Pakistan: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Imran Butt, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (C), Faheem Ashraf, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas.

New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st Test: Fantasy Cricket Tips

New Zealand

New Zealand, Pakistan, New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st Test, Fantasy Cricket
New Zealand Test cricket team (Image Credit: Twitter)

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is currently in great form as he scored three T20 fifties and one Test double-century in his last five innings. While Henry Nicholls scored a brilliant century in the last Test against West Indies, opener Tom Latham played a knock of 86-run in the earlier period of that series.

Youngster Kyle Jamieson has impressed in his early international career, both as a right-arm pacer and right-handed lower-order batsman. The other pacers Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner all are in good form with the ball in hand.


New Zealand, Pakistan, New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st Test, Fantasy Cricket
Pakistan national cricket team (Image Credit: Twitter)

This Test series is not going to be easy for the Pakistan team, especially when they haven’t their consistent player Babar Azam, who is their new Test captain. The top-order batsmen have to deliver well to put strong challenge against the mighty hosts.

The left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi has already impressed. If he gets enough support from the other bowlers, it will be very effective for the Pakistan team.

Captain and Vice-Captain Selection:

Captain – Kane Williamson, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee

Vice-captain – Shaheen Afridi, Azhar Ali

Suggested Playing XI for Fantasy Cricket (1):

Wicket-keeper(s) – BJ Watling, Mohammad Rizwan

Batsmen – Kane Williamson (C), Tom Latham, Azhar Ali

All-rounder(s) – Mitchell Santner, Faheem Ashraf

Bowlers – Kyle Jamieson (vc), Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Shaheen Afridi

New Zealand, Pakistan, New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st Test, Fantasy Cricket
Image Credit: Dream11


Suggested Playing XI for Fantasy Cricket (2):

Wicket-keeper(s) – Mohammad Rizwan

Batsmen – Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Azhar Ali

All-rounder(s) – Mitchell Santner

Bowlers – Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee (C), Shaheen Afridi (vc), Yasir Shah

New Zealand, Pakistan, New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st Test, Fantasy Cricket
Image Credit: Dream11
New Zealand, Pakistan
Image Credit: Twitter

New Zealand vs Pakistan, 2nd T20I: Fantasy Cricket Tips – Pakistan Tour Of New Zealand 2020-21

The hosts New Zealand and the visitors Pakistan will face each other on Sunday (20th December) night in the second game of the three-match T20I series at Seddon Park (Hamilton).

The hosts are currently leading this series by the 1-0 margin as they won the first game by 5 wickets at Auckland. They need one more win to secure this home T20I series. In the meantime, the visiting sides require victories in both the remaining matches to snatch this series trophy.

New Zealand vs Pakistan, 2nd T20I: Complete Squads

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (C), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee

Pakistan: Shadab Khan (C), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Wahab Riaz

New Zealand vs Pakistan, 2nd T20I: Predicted XIs

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (wk), Kane Williamson (C), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Ish Sodhi

Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Hafeez, Haider Ali, Shadab Khan (C), Khushdil Shah, Imad Wasim, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Hasnain, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf

New Zealand vs Pakistan, 2nd T20I: Fantasy Cricket

New Zealand

New Zealand, Pakistan, New Zealand vs Pakistan, Fantasy Cricket, 2nd T20I
Image Credit: Twitter

Captain Kane Williamson and other Test players Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Daryl Mitchell are returning to the T20I squad. While Williamson scored 50* and 67 during his last two T20 innings (in IPL 2020), the left-arm pacer Trent Boult finished the IPL 2020 as the third most wicket-taker and the right-arm pacer Tim Southee is the most wicket-taker for Blackcaps in T20 cricket history.

Also, Tim Seifert (57) scored a half-century in the last game while Scott Kuggeleijn was brilliant with the ball in hand (4-0-27-3).

But their Player of the Match award winner in the previous T20I, international debutant Jacob Duffy (4/33), is not in the T20I squad for the last two games of this series. Similarly, they will miss their stand-in captain Mitchell Santner and Mark Chapman. However, the New Zealand team is still a stronger and more experienced side than their first T20I squad.


New Zealand, Pakistan, New Zealand vs Pakistan, Fantasy Cricket, 2nd T20I
Image Credit: Twitter.

The top-order failure was the biggest concern for Pakistan in their first T20I match of this tour. Moreover, they are missing their two important top-order batsmen, Fakhar Zaman and new regular captain Babar Azam.

Stand-in captain Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim and Faheem Ashraf played important roles with the bat at the crucial time in the last game that helped Pakistan team to score 150+ runs. In bowling, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf provided good start for the visitors in the last game, but they didn’t get best support from the other bowlers.

Captain and Vice-Captain Selection:

Captain – Scott Kuggeleijn, Kane Williamson

Vice-captain – Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Trent Boult

Suggested Playing XI for Fantasy Cricket (1):

Wicket-keeper(s) – Tim Seifert

Batsmen – Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (vc), Martin Guptill

All-rounder(s) – Scott Kuggeleijn (C), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Hafeez

Bowlers – Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi

New Zealand, Pakistan, New Zealand vs Pakistan, Fantasy Cricket, 2nd T20I
Image Credit: Dream11

Suggested Playing XI for Fantasy Cricket (2):

Wicket-keeper(s) – Glenn Phillips

Batsmen – Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Haider Ali

All-rounder(s) – Scott Kuggeleijn, James Neesham, Shadab Khan (vc), Imad Wasim

Bowlers – Trent Boult (C), Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi

New Zealand, Pakistan, New Zealand vs Pakistan, Fantasy Cricket, 2nd T20I
Image Credit: Dream11 
New Zealand, Pakistan, ICC World Cup 2019
Photo Credit: Getty Images.

New Zealand Health Officials Clear Almost Entire Pakistan Contingent

New Zealand health officials have cleared almost the entire Pakistan contingent to leave their managed isolation facilities after repeatedly undergoing several Covid-19 tests.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) had announced earlier that the 53-member squad, which has been tested for COVID-19 five times since arriving in their country to play three T20Is and two Tests two weeks ago, was scheduled to leave isolation pending final approval from local health officials on Tuesday.

New Zealand Test cricket team
New Zealand Test cricket team (Image Credit: Twitter)

New Zealand Health Ministry: Medical Officer Satisfied Pakistan Squad Members Pose Less Risk After Extensive Testing In Christchurch

The jumbo-squad is expected to leave their managed isolation facility in Christchurch and fly to Queenstown on Tuesday, where they will resume training before the start of 3-match T20I series that begins in Auckland on December 18. The next two T20Is will be played at Hamilton and Napier before the two Tests at Mount Maunganui and Christchurch. The tour, however, will start with two four-day matches against New Zealand A from December 10.

Fakhar Zaman
Fakhar Zaman. Image Credit: Getty Images.

After opener Fakhar Zaman was ruled out from New Zealand tour owing to fever, several members of Pakistan squad were found to be covid-19 positive but those were historical cases.

“After extensive testing and completion of their time in managed isolation in Christchurch, the Canterbury DHB medical officer of health is satisfied these people pose a very low risk to the community,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

One unidentified member of the 53-member strong squad, however, would continue to remain in the facility after testing positive on the sixth day of their mandatory 14-day isolation period that is applicable to all foreign arrivals as part of New Zealand’s stringent rules regarding Covid-19.

New Zealand Will Play 3 T20Is And 2 Test Against Pakistan

According to the Ministry, six members of staff were found to be positive for COVID-19 upon arrival at New Zealand while four others were also identified as positive for Covid-19 during their isolation period, although those cases were considered “historical”.

One member of the squad also repeatedly tested negative in isolation but had been already in quarantine in Auckland after showing signs of infection upon arrival. The squad are scheduled to fly to Queenstown later on Tuesday for an intra-squad game before the first of three Twenty20 matches start on December 18. The team will also play a two-match Test series from December 26 onwards. New Zealand A will play Pakistan A in 2-four day tour matches ahead of the Test series.

Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Sarfaraz Ahmed. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Pakistan have recalled Hussain Talat and Sarfaraz Ahmed for 3-match T20I series in a strong 18-member squad. 16-member Pakistan A squad for four-dayers comprising of likes of Test specialists Abid Ali, Haris Sohail, Azhar Ali and Yasir Shah and led by Rohail Nazir have been announced.

Pakistan, Fakhar Zaman
Fakhar Zaman. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Fakhar Zaman Ruled Out Of New Zealand Tour After Suffering From Fever

Pakistan’s opening batsman, Fakhar Zaman on Sunday was ruled out of the forthcoming tour of New Zealand just a few hours before the team’s departure after failing to recover from fever.

The 30-year-old left-hander tested negative along with 34 other players and 20 members of the squad but suffered fever, forcing Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to withdraw him.

Fakhar Zaman
Fakhar Zaman. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Fakhar Zaman Scored First 200 In ODI For Pakistan, But His Recent Form Is Less Impressive In Limited Over Internationals

The left-handed dashing batsman is a regular in white-ball cricket averaging 45 in 47 ODIs and also played 40 T20Is and 3 tests. On 2018, he became the first Pakistan batsman to score a double century in a One Day International (ODI) match. But his international form, particularly in the shortest format, has concerned Pakistan since he has scored more than 25 runs in an innings only once for more than two years.

Fakhar Zaman
Fakhar Zaman-Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Even in the recent T20I series against Zimbabwe, where most of Pakistan’s batsmen took apart the substandard and less intimidating bowling opposition, he managed 45 runs at an average of 15. His form in domestic T20 competitions has been vastly more impressive as he was the top scorer in the National T20 Cup and the second-highest scorer in this year’s PSL.

Fakhar Zaman Was Withdrawn And Isolated Considering Other Player’s Health: Pakistan Cricket Board

Since the squad is already larger than usual to counter Covid-19, no replacement will be announced. Fakhar Zaman has so far played three Tests, 47 one-day internationals and 40 Twenty20 internationals for Pakistan.

“The decision to withdraw Zaman from the tour was made keeping the health of the rest of the squad members as a top priority,” said a PCB release ahead of team’s departure early Monday morning (3:00 am Pakistan time).

PCB Photo Credit: Getty Images.

It added: “Zaman was isolated in the team hotel in Lahore as soon as his condition was detected; the PCB medical panel is in touch with him.”

“Zaman’s Covid-19 test report was received on Saturday which came out negative but today he picked up fever. We are constantly monitoring his condition and remain hopeful of his quick recovery; however he is not fit to travel with the squad,” team doctor Sohail Salim said in the release.

Pakistan will complete 14-day mandatory quarantine after arrival and start the three-match Twenty20 international series on December 18. They also play two Tests on the tour, starting on Boxing Day, December 26.

New Zealand Health Director Lashes Out On Pakistan Players For COVID Breach
Pakistan captain Babar Azam along with his teammates in aiport. Image Credit: Twitter.

Pakistan Cricket Team Departs For New Zealand Tour

The 34-men Pakistan squad and coaches have departed for New Zealand to feature in the three-match T20I and two-match Test series. Soon after landing, they will go under 14-days quarantine, as per new norms.

Pakistan’s newly-appointed Test captain Babar Azam posted a group photo, on Twitter, with his teammates while waiting in the airport ahead of the departure. He captioned the post,” Next stop, New Zealand.”

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also uploaded photos of the players on their official social media handles.

Fakhar Zaman excluded from Pakistan’s squad:

Fakhar Zaman
Fakhar Zaman. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Initially, the batsman Fakhar Zaman was included in Pakistan’s squad for the New Zealand tour. But he has been ruled out because he could recover from fever on time. He featured in the last series against Zimbabwe at home while also played for Lahore Qalandar in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020.

“Fakhar’s Covid test report was received on Saturday which came out negative but today he picked up fever. 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,” Team doctor Sohail Saleem said.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand tour will begin with the three-match T20I series followed by two-match Test series. Before the start of the tour, New Zealand A and Pakistan A will play two four-day Tour Match.

Pakistan Cricket Team Departs For New Zealand Tour 1

Auckland and Hamilton will host the first and second T20I match while Napier will host the third T20I match. The first Test will be played from December 26 to December 30 at Bay Oval and Hagley Oval will hold the last Test match from January 3 to January 7.

Threats Looms Large On Injured Babar Azam's Inclusion In First Test Against New Zealand
Babar Azam. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Babar Azam: Zimbabwe Series Will Serve As Practice For New Zealand Tour

Pakistan’s white-ball captain Babar Azam has stated that the Zimbabwe series at home will help them to prepare for the New Zealand tour in December.

Pakistan is set to host three-match ODI and T20I series against Zimbabwe from October 30. The ODI series will be played in Multan while the T20I series will be hosted in Rawalpindi. After playing series against Zimbabwe, they will travel to New Zealand where they will play 3 T20Is and 2 Tests from December 18 to January 7.

Babar Azam opined that the series against Zimbabwe will set the momentum for them for the New Zealand tour.

“We want to gain momentum while playing against Zimbabwe [so that we are prepared] before leaving for the New Zealand tour. The series will also serve as practice for the tour of New Zealand later this year,” Azam was quoted as saying by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on its website.

Mental strength is a key to success: Babar Azam

Babar Azam,
Babar Azam. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Further, he talked about how he has become a successful batsman. He stated that working on mental strength is the key while also backing the natural game.

“A great player is one who can stays focused in pressure situations. I work hard on the mental aspect of my game as I feel mental strength is a key to success.

“I stick to my natural game in all three formats and back myself to play my shots. Of course, at times, you need different approaches and I try to adapt according to the given situation.

Babar Azam,
Babar Azam. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Babar Azam said that he practices a lot before matches to get things right during the game.

“I spend a lot of time and energy on getting my preparation right before a match. Practice is the key to success and I try and ensure I tick all the boxes before heading into a match,” he said.

Pakistan last played international cricket against England in July. They had toured the UK to play the Test and T20I series.