Mohammad Rizwan: Pakistan’s best bet in T20 World Cup 2022

By Indraneel Chakrabarty: India would be thirsting for revenge for their 10-wicket loss humiliation at Dubai’s T20 World Cup in 2021. Ind vs Pak, Round 3 in 2022 awaits us, only a fortnight away. Pakistani opener Mohammad Rizwan has already contested it as one of the high-pressure games despite having played India twice already this year. With the T20 World Cup around the corner in Australia, Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan is 2022’s second-highest T20I run-scorer, having scored 787 runs averaging 56.21 with a strike rate of 126.73.

He has scored nine half-centuries across the 17 innings he has played this year. ICC’s T20I batting rankings rank him No.1 with 853 points. It was once possible that Mohammad Rizwan’s international career could have only occurred in some parallel universe, as despite piling up runs in the domestic circuit, he struggled to get selected for Pakistan. The native from Peshawar possesses skills which suggest that he may have been unfortunate in not turning out for Pakistan more frequently.

Making his international debut shortly after World Cup 2015, the beginning seemed promising, as he averaged nearly 60 with the bat in his first eight innings against the likes of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Stronger teams, however, were quick to expose his deficiencies. His career seemingly came to a complete halt till Sarfaraz Ahmed, serving a ban, was out of the playing XI for the last five matches of Pakistan’s 2019 tour of South Africa. His career thereafter took on a stratospheric trajectory.

A prolific run-accumulator, averaging a shade under 50 in List-A cricket and 41 at the FC level, he’s an ever-present Quaid-e-Azam trophy participant. His efforts have contributed towards three titles for SNGPL in the last four years. A solitary Test cap in 2016 feels like a somewhat muted and inadequate reward. 

Mohammad Rizwan has been in stellar form this year. Continuing it against Bangladesh in the tri-series opener in Christchurch, he scored 78* off 50 balls aided by 7 x 4’s and 2 x 6’s. His knock helped Pakistan post 167, chasing which Bangladesh lost by 21 runs.

His consistency at the top makes him one of Pakistan’s most prized assets heading into the 2022 T20I World Cup.

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