Karachi: Pakistan's dashing opener Fakhar Zaman was Sunday ruled out of the forthcoming tour of New Zealand just a few hours before the team's departure after failing to recover from fever.
The 30-year-old left-hander tested negative along with 34 other players and 20 members of the squad but suffered fever, forcing Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to withdraw him.
"The decision to withdraw Zaman from the tour was made keeping the health of the rest of the squad members as a top priority," said a PCB release ahead of team's departure early Monday morning (3:00 am Pakistan time).
It added: "Zaman was isolated in the team hotel in Lahore as soon as his condition was detected; the PCB medical panel is in touch with him."
"Zaman's COVID-19 test report was received on Saturday which came out negative but today he picked up fever. We are constantly monitoring his condition and remain hopeful of his quick recovery; however he is not fit to travel with the squad," team doctor Sohail Salim said in the release.
Since the squad is already larger than usual to counter COVID-19, no replacement will be announced.
Zaman has so far played three Tests, 47 one-day internationals and 40 Twenty20 internationals for Pakistan.
Pakistan will complete 14-day mandatory quarantine after arrival and start the three-match Twenty20 international series on December 18.
They also play two Tests on the tour.