“He can’t bat, He can’t hit BIG”, “He can’t handle the pressure, He doesn’t fit in the national side”, these were few sentences which Mohammad Rizwan had to listen to early during his career although he was proving everyone wrong with his performance in domestic circuit and with Pakistan’s A team.
Actually when a captain is wearing gloves then it’s very difficult to get place for another wicket-keeper in main squad and this was happening with Mohammad Rizwan too.
He got few chances under Sarfaraz’s captaincy but couldn’t cement his place, but when winds were against Sarfaraz and the former lost his captaincy, Rizwan got a chance and he made sure this wasn’t the last one as he impressed not only with gloves but also with bat.
The team management had to support him and he was promoted up the order.
Rizwan who was performing with white ball is now considered a runs machine for Pakistan as he has scored 11 fifties in 27 games in just one year with one memorable innings against arch-rivals India in the T20 World Cup.
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His resilient 67 against Australia in the semi-final was another treat to watch.
Interestingly, 2021 is the year of Rizwan.
In past many years including 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2020, played 26 T20I games, scored 313 runs with 5 sixes and 31 fours which made people think that he can’t hit big or can’t play in shorter format, but in 2021 he turned the table with 1201 runs in just 24 innings where he remained not out eight times.
Now ranked fourth in the world, Rizwan has emerged as Pakistan’s top batter of T20I cricket and has so far played 53 matches where he has scored 1514 runs with the help of 12 fifties & 1 ton.
Yes, Rizwan is scoring consistently but his strike rate of 132+ is always under discussion as critics thinks he has to work on that as in modern day cricket if a teams want to take a T20 score over 200 then the opener must score with the strike rate of 170+.
However, 53 games 46 sixes and 143 fours are enough to assure all that Rizwan can hit out of the park whenever he needs.
His leadership of Multan Sultans, his overall performance, dedication and the way he has supported his captain Babar Azam makes him an ideal candidate for Pakistan team’s vice-captaincy. I, for one, believe that he can perform miracles if tasked with supporting Babar Azam as vice-captain.
Rizwan, nevertheless, is not only making Pakistan win but is also making new records, that is why, the cricketing world is calling him “RIZ-WON”