MELBOURNE: Top-order batter Fakhar Zaman has been ruled out of Pakistan’s T20 World Cup 2022 opening match against India.
The development was confirmed by skipper Babar Azam during the pre-match press conference on Saturday.
“Fakhar Zaman is not fully fit which is why he won’t be available for our first match,” said Azam.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had revealed last month that Zaman had landed awkwardly on his right knee while fielding during the ACC T20 Asia Cup final in Dubai. He is yet to fully recover from that injury.
Pakistan are likely to persist with Shan Masood at one-down position after the left-hander was declared fit for the match against India.
“Shan Masood is fit and he cleared all the tests. He is ready for tomorrow,” Azam added.
Pakistan batsman Shan Masood has got away with “superficial bruising” after being hit on the head during a practice session on Friday.
Pakistan will begin their campaign against arch-rivals India in Melbourne on Sunday. The team got the injury scare as it prepared for the game, when a stray shot from Mohammad Nawaz struck Masood on the head and left him lying flat on the ground before he was sent to hospital for scans.
“All of Shan Masood´s neurological observations are normal. His CT scan only shows superficial bruising where the ball struck him,” the Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement.
“He will be re-tested (Saturday)” for concussion, the PCB added.
The 33-year-old Masood is regarded as a technically sound top-order batsman and has hit two half-centuries for Pakistan in 12 T20s since his debut in September.
Images posted on social media showed Pakistan players and team staff surrounding Masood, and a distraught Nawaz sitting on his knees.
The Babar Azam-led Pakistan beat India in last year´s T20 World Cup, where they reached the semi-finals.