Waqar Younis to return home after first Test against NZ

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday announced that bowling coach Waqar Younis will return home after the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand to be with his family.

The 49-year-old will rejoin the national side in time for the home series against South Africa, which starts with the first Test in Karachi on January 26.

“Waqar had requested the team management to be granted leave so that he can spend additional time with his immediate family, which will be in Lahore before returning to Sydney, Australia, on 17 January,” PCB said in a media release.

Pakistan are scheduled to play a two-match Test series against New Zealand from December 26-30 and January 2-7 in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch respectively.

“Considering Waqar has not seen his family since June and that our home series against South Africa, which follows the series against New Zealand, doesn’t finish until 14 February, we … have allowed him to return home early so that he can spend additional time with his wife and children,” Pakistan manager Mansoor Rana said.

“If he had returned to Lahore with the side after the second Test, he would have only got a week to spend with them. For all of us, families always come first and we have in the past made similar exemptions so that our team members are able to achieve the correct work-life balance,” he added.

Regular skipper Babar Azam and opener Imam-ul-Haq have been ruled out of the first Test.

In Babar’s absence, wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan will lead Pakistan in the first Test.

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