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‘Babar Azam is an excellent captain’: Rizwan rules out captaincy ambitions

Rizwan admits Pakistan struggling with middle-order.
Test vice-captain says he is “fully backing” Babar Azam.
Rizwan warns England not to take Pakistan easy in upcoming series.

Pakistani wicketkeeper batsman Muhammad Rizwan has thrown his weight behind Babar Azam as skipper, saying did not harbour intentions to displace Azam for the skipper’s post. 

Speaking to media, the PSL 2021-winning Multan Sultans captain said he would not run after the post and that as a firm believer and follower of Islam, he would rely on the destiny that God has decreed for him. 

“As a strong believer, I can only say that I would never show or express my willingness for captaincy,” he said. 

However, Rizwan said that in the event he was offered to lead the Men in Green, he would do his best for Pakistan and would make sure his role as skipper is justified. 

He threw his weight behind incumbent skipper Azam, saying that the stellar batsman was “an excellent captain”. 

“I am vice-captain for the longer format and know well that Babar Azam is an excellent captain,” noted Rizwan. “He has taken some tough decisions at crucial times during the last few series.”

When asked about forming solid partnerships with Azam, the wicketkeeper said he enjoyed taking responsibilities and living up to the challenge. “

Instead of feeling the pressure, I always enjoy accepting responsibilities and try to give my best efforts to help the team come out of a tough situation,” he said, praising Azam for being consistent. 

“Together with Babar, I scored a double century in one of the T20 matches against South Africa in recent times,” he said. 

Rizwan acknowledged Pakistan was struggling with its middle-order batsmen. However, he said Sohaib Maqsood’s inclusion in the side will help the team in its bid to lend support in case the upper order does not perform. 

“Our coaches have done enough homework to fill that vacuum [middle-order],” he said. 

Rizwan was full of praise for Pakistan’s top-order options Sharjeel Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam and others. The Sultans skipper said he was available to perform at any position in the batting line-up for the team. 

“Babar and I play according to the requirements,” he said. 

‘No one should take us easy’

On the upcoming England series, Rizwan warned that Pakistan had always performed better on British soil hence the green shirts should not be taken lightly. 

“We have the best combination with us to match and beat the best. Shaheen Shah, Hasan Ali, Faheem, and all others are in top form and are coming out of a tough PSL,” he noted. 

“So I can predict a very good and competitive series against England”. 

On wicketkeepers, Rizwan said Adam Gilchrist was the best. However, he said Rashid Latif was also impressive and at one point, he wanted to become like Zulqarnain Haider. 

“Keeping is a learning process where you keep on accepting some fresh art,” he said. 

“When it comes to a quality batsman I had more than one at different times. Now I love to watch AB de Villiers in action”.

Rizwan said Pakistan cricket team always loved to perform in England as there were thousands of fans there for the team. He welcomed the inclusion of spectators during the England series, saying that “if in one country we have more fans other than at home, it is in England”. 

He admitted the team will miss batting coach Younis Khan in the upcoming series against England. 

When asked whether he would go to Multan to celebrate the Sultans’ PSL victory, Rizwan said there was too much going on for the team at the moment. 

We have got numerous challenges ahead of us. Series after series and then T20 World Cup, once we get free time and if required, I will make myself available,” he promised. 

Ahmed Mukhtar Naqshbandi

Media person and communication expert for over 25 years. Worked with Dow Jones News, World Bank, CNBC Pakistan, Aaj TV, ARY TV, Abbtakk TV, Business Recorder, Pakistan Observer, Online News Network, TTI Magazine and other local and world Publications.

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