Mohammad Hafeez gives reality check to Babar Azam; demotes him for NZ series

Pakistan will face New Zealand in a five-match T20I series starting on January 12. The series will serve as a practice arena for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024 which starts from June 2.

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The New Zealand series will also mark Shaheen Afridi’s first venture as the new Pakistan T20I skipper. Before the start of the first match, captain Shaheen, new team director Mohammad Hafeez, and high-performance coach Yasir Arafat have planned out new changes within the team and the Men in Green are likely to go ahead with a new opening pair.

According to reports from Auckland, team management has informed Babar Azam that he is no longer considered an opener. The team are looking to try out young Saim Ayub at the top of the order with Mohammad Rizwan.

Even during their training session, Rizwan and Saim, batted in the nets against the new ball bowlers, while Babar and Fakhar Zaman had their knocks against mainly spinners in the other nets.

Babar Azam is going through a rough patch and failed to score a solitary century in the recently concluded three-Test match series against Australia.

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Babar & Rizwan’s great partnership record

Babar & Rizwan have enjoyed a great run as opening partners in T20Is. Their 150-plus runs unbeaten partnership helped Pakistan beat India for the first time in any World Cup game during the T20 WC in Dubai in 2021.

Meanwhile, Ayub has played 8 T20Is and amassed 123 runs.

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