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Misbah-ul-Haq will almost certainly be ruled out of the second Test against New Zealand, as he prepares to return to Pakistan to attend to his critically ill father-in-law.
Pakistan manager Wasim Bari said Misbah was not necessarily ruled out of the Hamilton Test, as it “depends on what the situation is when he gets to Pakistan”. However, it appears unlikely Misbah can return in time for the match, which begins Friday.
Misbah and his family, who are also in Christchurch, had received news of his father-in-law being admitted to intensive care early on Sunday morning. They will make the trip back home together. Misbah had only briefly taken the field during New Zealand’s fourth innings run chase, and is scheduled to leave the country on Sunday evening.
His departure is a significant blow to Pakistan. Apart from having led the team in 50 Tests, Misbah has been a middle-order rock, never averaging less than 40 across the six most recent calendar years. Vice-captain Azhar Ali is expected to take the reins in his absence.
“Misbah’s been exceptional throughout the years and we’ll miss him definitely,” Azhar said following the Test loss at Hagley Oval. “We have to cope with that now and whoever comes into the side will take that opportunity and give us runs, as well as the stability he gives us in the middle.”
No replacement has yet been named to the squad, but Misbah’s place in the XI is likely to be filled by either Mohammad Rizwan or Sharjeel Khan, who are the extra batsmen with the side in New Zealand.
Misbah had previously only missed one Test since he was appointed captain in 2010: he was unavailable for a 2012 Test at Galle, due to a suspension for slow over-rates. He had made scores of 31 and 13 in the Christchurch Test.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo