New Zealand hit with double setback ahead of T20I series against Pakistan

Apr 12, 2024

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New Zealand‘s anticipated tour of Pakistan for a five-match T20I series has encountered a setback with the absence of two pivotal players. The Black Caps are gearing up to lock horns with the Men in Green in a series of five T20Is, commencing from April 18. The series will kick off at the historic Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, followed by two more fixtures in Rawalpindi before concluding with final two matches in Lahore.

Absence of key players

However, New Zealand squad has been dealt a significant blow as star players Adam Milne and Finn Allen have been sidelined from the upcoming series due to injuries. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has officially confirmed the unavailability of both players for the series. Finn Allen has suffered a back injury, while Adam Milne sustained an ankle injury during a training session just before the team’s departure to Pakistan.

Replacement players: Tom Blundell and Zak Foulkes

In response to this setback, wicketkeeper Tom Blundell and uncapped all-rounder Zak Foulkes have been drafted in as replacements. Foulkes showcased his talent in the Super Smash 2023-24, claiming 14 wickets at an impressive average of 16.28 for Canterbury, coupled with impressive batting strike-rate of 150. On the other hand, Blundell, New Zealand’s Test wicketkeeper, brings experience to the squad, having previously featured in seven T20Is.

Also READ: Pakistan announces squad for New Zealand T20Is; Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim recalled

Head coach Gary Stead’s comments

With the majority of their players still engaged in the ongoing IPL 2024, the Black Caps will be fielding a second-string squad, under the leadership of all-rounder Michael Bracewell, against Pakistan. Following the induction of replacements, New Zealand’s head coach, Gary Stead, stepped forward to commend the two players who have been called upon to fill the void left by Milne and Allen.

“We feel for both Finn and Adam, suffering injuries so close to the start of the tour. They have been strong performers for us in the T20 format since the last World Cup. Zak has had an impressive season for Canterbury including being their leading wicket taker in all three competitions,” Stead said. “He has displayed impressive skills with the ball, particularly in T20 cricket for the Kings. We also know he has skills with the bat and it will be an excellent opportunity for him to be part of the group,” Stead was quoted as saying by the ESPNcricinfo.

Also READ: New Zealand announces T20I squad for Pakistan tour, Michael Bracewell to captain the team

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