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Setback for Pakistan as Azam Khan Sustains Calf Injury Ahead of T20I Series

In an unforeseen twist to Pakistan’s cricket scenario, the national team has been struck with a setback as wicketkeeper-batter Azam Khan has sustained a grade one tear in his right calf muscle, ruling him out of the ongoing five-match T20I series against New Zealand. The 25-year-old cricketer’s injury warrants a rest period of ten days, following which he is expected to report to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore for a structured rehabilitation process overseen by the medical panel of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

The injury surfaces at a critical juncture for the Pakistan cricket team, given their extensive preparations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup set to take place this June. Azam Khan had been on the radar of the selection panel and team management, who had been eyeing to assess the prodigious talent during the series against the fearsome Blackcaps, factoring him into their strategy for the global T20 event in the USA and the Caribbean.

A statement released by the PCB elucidated the circumstances of Azam’s injury, which emerged during a batting practice at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium prior to the commencement of the first T20I. This health issue has come about despite Azam’s recent participation in a rigorous 14-day fitness camp at Kakul, Abbottabad. The camp, conducted in association with the Pakistan Army, was designed to fortify the players physically and mentally for the upcoming bilateral series and the T20 World Cup.

Azam, who is regarded as a formidable power hitter, hadn’t had the most compelling performance in the ninth season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), managing to tally 226 runs over 10 innings at an average of 25.11. Nonetheless, his striking rate of 171.21 stood out as the premier statistic among the top 20 run-scorers of the season, reflecting his potential as a game-changer in the format concerned.

In light of the unavailability of Azam Khan for the T20I series against New Zealand, Pakistan’s squad is composed of a mix of experience and fresh talent, ready to face off against an accomplished rival. The team, led by skipper Babar Azam and including the adept Mohammad Rizwan as a wicketkeeper-batter, reads as follows: Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Irfan Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Usama Mir, Zaman Khan, and Abbas Afridi.

The support staff for the squad features a number of renowned names from Pakistan cricket history, with Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Yousuf, Mansoor Rana, and Wahab Riaz all bringing their extensive expertise to the table, preparing the side for every curveball that the dynamic format of T20 might throw.

As Azam Khan embarks on his road to recovery, the Pakistan Cricket Board, along with the team management, is faced with the challenge of filling the gap left by his absence. With hopes high and spirits undeterred, the Pakistan cricket team steps into the series looking to showcase their skills and resilience in the face of adversity, keeping an eye on the grander goal of the T20 World Cup on the horizon. The journey ahead demands adaptability and fortitude from the Men in Green as they seek to navigate through this unexpected impediment and prove their mettle on the international stage.