Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa head coach Mark Boucher admitted that Pakistan captain Babar Azam and wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan are “very dangerous characters”.
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.
In the first ODI against South Africa, he scored 40 and followed it up with a duck in the second match on Sunday.
Azam missed the entire series against New Zealand with a fractured right thumb before making his comeback during the recent home series against South Africa.
In the two-Test series, he scored 122 runs, which included a top score of 77, at an average of 30.50.
In the three T20 Internationals that followed, the 26-year-old amassed 49 runs at an average of 16.33 and a strike-rate of 140.
As for the PSL, he represented the Karachi Kings in the PSL and was the second-highest run-scorer with 258 runs in five matches, which included three half-centuries, at an average of 86 and a strike-rate of 138.70.
He started off the tour of South Africa with a bang as he made a game-winning 103 in the first ODI. In the second game, he scored 31.
“Pakistan have got some very dangerous characters. Babar Azam’s record speaks for itself. Rizwan had a very good series against us,” Boucher was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
“But, we are in our conditions now, so we are not too worried about them. We have set our plans to counteract their strengths and also attack their weaknesses as well.”
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.