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Pakistan captain Misbah out of next Test

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/11/2016 By Daniel Gilhooly

Pakistan have suffered a blow to their chances of squaring the series against New Zealand after captain Misbah-ul-Haq was ruled out of the two-Test tour for personal reasons.

Misbah was to fly out of Christchurch late on Sunday with his wife and daughter to be at the bedside of his father-in-law, who is critically ill.

The 42-year-old skipper took no part in the fourth and final day of the eight-wicket first Test loss at Hagley Oval, having been updated with the news before play began.

Vice-captain Azhar Ali will lead the tourists in the second Test starting in Hamilton on Friday.

Team management said no decision had been made about sending a replacement player to New Zealand.

Two batsmen in the tour squad who didn't play in Christchurch are both uncapped at Test level.

Opening batsman Sharjeel Khan and middle order exponent Mohammad Rizwan are experienced limited overs players.

Azhar said Misbah's loss will be keenly felt because of his leadership as much as his batting.

"He's been exceptional throughout the years and we'll miss him definitely," Azhar said.

"Obviously we have to cope with that now and whoever comes into the side will take that opportunity and give us runs, and hopefully the stability he gives us in the middle."

Misbah, who scored 31 and 13 at Hagley Oval, was leading Pakistan for the 50th time in Tests.

He has indicated he will retire after the Test series against Australia in December.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson wished his counterpart well but suspected world No.2 Pakistan will cover his absence sufficiently.

"Misbah's a fantastic leader, certainly a great middle order batter, a world class player.

"It is a loss but you know the reason why they are number two is because they have depth."

Azhar says his team must lift considerably after being outplayed by New Zealand.

He says the Black Caps' relentless accuracy, especially when batting conditions improved in the second innings, was the difference between the teams.

"They bowled in the right areas and exploited the conditions really well," he said.

"Our batsmen tried to apply themselves but they held their lines for longer and sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition."

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