Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Quetta Gladiators owner Nadeem Omar said wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan has taken his power-hitting skills to the next level as it has really improved.
He added that Rizwan has been “playing very well” ahead of the tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Rizwan accumulated 128 runs in the three-match T20 series against New Zealand, which included a top score of 89, at an average of 42.66.
In the two-Test series that followed, he made 202 runs, which included three half-centuries, at an average of 50.50.
Rizwan maintained his form in the two-Test series against South Africa as he accumulated 166 runs, which included a career-best knock of 115 not out, at an average of 83.
The 28-year-old also finished as the highest run-scorer in the three-match T20 series against the Proteas with 197 runs, which included a career-best knock of 104 not out and a fifty, at an average of 98.50 and a strike-rate of 145.92.
In the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Rizwan was captaining the Multan Sultans before the tournament was postponed. Despite having the added pressure of leading his team, he is currently the highest run-scorer with 297 runs in five matches, which includes three half-centuries, at an average of 59.40 and a strike-rate of 140.09.
Even though Rizwan has been in red-hot form, Omar believes that wicketkeeper-batsman and Quetta Gladiators captain Sarfaraz Ahmed deserves to be in the team as well.
The former Pakistan skipper was the fifth-highest run-scorer in the PSL with 185 runs in five games, which included two half-centuries, at an average of 37 and a strike-rate of 146.82.
“[Mohammad] Rizwan is playing very well and he has improved his power-hitting,” Omar told Cricket Pakistan.
“Sarfaraz and Rizwan were the two players who performed really well in the first half of the group stages of PSL 6. So I hope that both these players feature in the playing XI for Pakistan.”
Pakistan will play three ODIs and four T20 Internationals against South Africa before heading to Zimbabwe for two Tests and three T20 Internationals.
Pakistan’s tour of South Africa commenced on April 2 and will conclude on April 16. The ODI series will be played first.
The men in green will then head to Zimbabwe on April 17 and play the three-match T20 series from April 21 to 25 in Harare.
Both Tests will take place at the same venue, with the first match starting on April 29 and the second Test getting underway on May 7.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed that the national team will travel back to Lahore from Harare on May 12.
Pakistan’s Test Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Tabish Khan, Hasan Ali, Shahnawaz Dhani, Nauman Ali, Zahid Mahmood, Sajid Khan.
Pakistan’s ODI Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali.
Pakistan’s T20 Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali, Arshad Iqbal.