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3 players who can replace Babar Azam as an opener in the T20I series against New Zealand

December 16, 2020

Written By,

Payel Gosh

Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand is set to start with a three-match T20I series from December 18. The visitors have been dealt a huge blow, with skipper Babar Azam out with a thumb fracture. Pakistan will surely miss the likes of the no 2 ranked T20I batsman in their team.

With Azam out, the Pakistan T20I team will surely make some changes in their batting lineup. Here we list 3 such players who might open for Pakistan in the T20I series against New Zealand:

1. Haider Ali

The 5th edition of PSL saw a huge talent rise to the ranks. This batting sensation was Haider Ali. Ali’s blistering form in the Quaid-e-Azam saw him earn a callup to represent his country in the Emerging Teams Asia Cup in 2019. Pakistan went on to win the tournament.

Ali was also in sublime form in the U-19 World Cup. Owing to his performances, he was picked up by Peshawar Zalmi for the PSL. Soon after that, Ali got a chance to make it big at the international level. Ali made his debut for Pakistan against England, in which he scored a half-century. In Azam’s absence, Ali could take charge of the batting lineup and provide Pakistan rack up runs on the board.

2. Abdullah Shafique

Shafique made his 1st class debut back in 2019. On his debut, Shafique smacked a superb ton playing for Central Punjab. Prior to that, Shafique made his T20 debut in the National T20 cup. Surprisingly, he also smacked a century in his T20 debut, smacking 102 runs in just 58 balls. This made him Pakistan’s 1st cricketer and the 2nd cricketer worldwide to hit centuries in his 1st class and T20 debut.

Shafique also finished as Central Punjab’s highest run-getter, smacking 358 runs in just 10 games. With both Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam unavailable, this could be the perfect opportunity for Shafique to showcase his talent.

3. Mohammad Rizwan

Rizwan, who is Pakistan’s wicketkeeper in all 3 formats, is in talks to open for Pakistan against New Zealand. The 28-year-old has not really impressed as far as his T20I record goes. In 23 outings, Rizwan has a mediocre average of 17 and a strike rate of less than 100.

However, Rizwan has been working on his form, which was evident by his performance in the National T20 cup. Rizwan was the 3rd highest run-getter in the tournament, amassing 389 runs with a strike rate of almost 128. In Babar Azam’s absence, Rizwan could prove handy with the bat against New Zealand.

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Written By,

Payel Gosh