Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja has expressed his shock and surprise over people’s calls to change the opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan in T20Is.
The logic behind this stems from their low strike-rates, which results in the middle order having to pick up the pace and score big runs towards the end of the innings.
Those criticising Azam, who captains Pakistan, and Rizwan feel that the men in green need a quick-scoring batsman at the top of the order who can set a solid platform for the others to build on.
However, Ramiz cannot understand why people are being so critical of the in-form duo, especially considering how many times they have won games for the men in green.
In fact, during the recent T20 tri-series against New Zealand and Bangladesh, they were key reasons why Pakistan ended up winning the tournament.
Azam finished with 192 runs in five matches, which included two fifties, at an average of 48 and a strike-rate of 123.87.
As for Rizwan, he amassed 201 runs in five games, which also included two half-centuries, at an average of 50.25 and a strike-rate of 122.56.
“I am surprised that people want to separate them,” Ramiz told Cricket Pakistan. “In the past, more than ten pairs were tried and people used to say that the Pakistan team did not have a good pair, now that we have a great pair of openers, people discuss what binds our fantastic openers together.”
Pakistan are now playing in the 2022 T20 World Cup, where they kicked off their campaign with a nail-biting four-wicket loss to India off the final ball of the game.
In that match, Arshdeep Singh removed both Azam and Rizwan, who made a golden duck and four runs respectively.
Pakistan will be in action again on Thursday when they face Zimbabwe in Perth.
Pakistan’s 2022 T20 World Cup squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shan Masood
Reserves: Mohammad Haris, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir