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Misbah to miss second Test against New Zealand

HAMILTON: Pakistan Test captain Misbah ul Haq will miss the second Test against New Zealand in Hamilton as he returns to Pakistan following the death of his father-in-law.

Vice captain, Azhar Ali will lead the side in his absence, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced Sunday.

Misbah and his family, who were 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 to Pakistan together. Misbah had only briefly taken the field during New Zealand’s chase, and is scheduled to leave the country on Sunday evening, espncricinfo reported.

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.

“Misbah’s been exceptional throughout the years and we’ll miss him definitely,” Azhar said following the loss in the first Test 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 squad in New Zealand.

Misbah had previously missed only one Test since he was appointed captain in 2010: he was unavailable for a 2012 Test in Galle, due to a suspension for slow over-rates. He had made scores of 31 and 13 in the Christchurch Test.