Why are Mohammad Wasim and Mitchell Santner not playing 1st T20I between New Zealand and Pakistan?

Abbas Afridi replaced Mohammad Wasim Jr in the playing XI.

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Mohammed Rizwan and Wasim Jr
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Mohammed Rizwan and Wasim Jr. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)

Pakistan pacer Mohammad Wasim Jr has been ruled out of the first T20I due to an Achilles injury while New Zealand all-rounder Mitchell Santner missed the first match after being tested positive for COVID. New Zealand Cricket confirmed it on the day of the match as Santner is expected to join the squad for the second T20I at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Abbas Afridi made his debut, replacing Wasim Jr in the playing XI. Bowling coach Umar Gul handed him the cap as the cricketer. The pacer mentioned that his dream had come true and added that he wishes to give match-winning performances for Pakistan in the coming times.

“I want to thank the almighty. Every player dreams of playing for Pakistan and I had the same dream too and finally, the day has come for me. I wanted Umar Gul to hand me the cap and I hope I can produce match-winning performances just like he did in the past,” Afridi said in a video released by Cricket Pakistan.

Lockie Ferguson to join New Zealand squad for last two T20Is

Star Kiwi pacer Lockie Ferguson will join the national squad for the final two matches of the series. The 32-year-old is currently playing for Auckland in the Super Smash, in which he has picked five wickets in three matches. The speedster is in good form at the moment, as he picked up four wickets against Northern Districts in the last match.

Ben Sears is playing in his place in the first T20I. The 25-year-old has played nine T20I matches and has picked up nine wickets at an economy of 7.40. If he manages to do well in the ongoing series, the pacer can make it to the T20 World Cup squad. However, with Trent Boult and Lockie set to make their return, his place might be in jeopardy. 

Teams:

New Zealand (Playing XI): Finn Allen, Devon Conway(w), Kane Williamson(c), Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Adam Milne, Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Ben Sears

Pakistan (Playing XI): Mohammad Rizwan, Saim Ayub, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan(w), Aamer Jamal, Usama Mir, Shaheen Afridi(c), Abbas Afridi, Haris Rauf

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