Cricket

Mohammad Rizwan: The keeper-bat who had a phenomenal one year

Earlier in his career, Rizwan had never been a regular feature in the national team, but since 2020, the right-handed batsman has been a permanent feature in the team. He captained the side in the tw0-match Test series against New Zealand in December/January 2020-21 in the absence of regular captain Babar Azam, who was unavailable due to finger injury.

Even though Pakistan lost both Test matches, but Rizwan remained Pakistan’s highest run-getter in the Test series. He scored 202 at 50.50 with three half-centuries from four innings. He also took four catches behind the stumps.

Rizwan has featured in 15 Tests for Pakistan, where he has scored 820 runs at 43.15 with six half-centuries and one hundred. He has 38 dismissals to his name which included 37 catches and one stumping. Since last year, Rizwan has featured in 10 Tests, where he has scored 605 runs at 46.53, which included one hundred and five half-centuries. Behind the stumps, he has 24 dismissals to his name which included 23 catches and one stumping. Amongst Pakistan’s batsman, only Azhar Ali has scored more runs 694 at 49.57, with two hundreds and as many half-centuries from 10 Tests.

In 38 ODIs played so far, Rizwan has scored 772 runs at 28.59, with two hundreds and three half-centuries to his name. He has taken 34 catches and has one stumping. Since 1 May 2020, he has featured in six ODIs, scoring 67 runs. He has taken five catches behind the wickets during this period.

Similarly, he has played 36 T20Is, where he has scored 843 runs at 44.36, one hundred and six half-centuries to his name. He has 18 catches and six stumping to his name in this format. Since last year, in 20 T20Is, he has scored 663 runs at 82.87 which included one hundred and six half-centuries. Behind the wickets, he has 19 scalps to his name which includes 15 catches and four stumpings.

Since 1 May 2020, the wicketkeeper-batsman has featured in 33 international matches across all formats, where has scored a staggering 1320 runs at 50.76, with two hundreds and 11 half-centuries.

The runs scored in the year makes him only the second player in the world, only 12 runs behind his teammate and captain Babar who has scored 1332 runs at 45.93 from 29 international matches, where he struck three hundreds and 10 half-centuries.

Amongst the wicketkeepers, England’s Jos Butler tops the list with 59 dismissals to his account from 26 matches, while Rizwan is second on the list with 43 dismissals (38 catches, five stumpings).

Overall in 89 international matches played so far Rizwan has 97 dismissals to his name which include 89 catches and eight stumpings.

While talking to Fakhar Zaman exclusively for PCB’s Digital, Mohammad Rizwan said:

“I always enjoyed batting but unfortunately couldn’t perform well in this department at the start of my international career, but change in batting order has favored me a lot. Current team management has shown their confidence by promoting my batting order and I tried to capitalize it well.

“At the start of my international career, no one believed that I could hit long sixes but off course I worked on my hard hitting ability.

“I was fortunate enough to get tips from Mohammad Hafeez, Mushtaq Ahmed and Shahid Afridi. Once Ramiz Raja was walking beside the nets and he asked me to keep the head still, which helped me a lot.

“As a wicketkeeper-batsman, Test cricket requires commitment from me and if you are a cricketer and featuring in all three formats, you must have great fitness.

“I have worked really hard on my batting and wicket-keeping skills before the tour of England last year. In England, the conditions were tough and the red ball swings late, so to get command over it, you have to work extra hard on it.

“In white-ball cricket, English conditions are favorable to score runs on board. If you stay longer on the wicket, you will get more out of it. I have worked on it and will try to implement this in the forthcoming series.”

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