Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Pakistan captain Babar Azam “makes life easier” for Mohammad Rizwan when he scores quicker, pace maestro Shoaib Akhtar said.
Azam and Rizwan open the batting for Pakistan in T20Is and have been the two most consistent run-scorers for the team.
Despite having played multiple match-winning knocks, the duo have been heavily criticised for their low strike-rates and the time it takes them to score their runs.
Many people feel it would be better for the men in green to have a more attacking opener and demote Azam or Rizwan down the order.
But, Akhtar feels that if Azam were to boost his scoring rate, it would solve this problem and allow Rizwan to play his natural game.
He added that the pair “complement each other” so well, which is one of the reasons they have been so successful.
“When he scores quickly, he makes life easier for Rizwan. They complement each other,” the 161.3 kph pace bowler, nicknamed the Rawalpindi Express, said on his YouTube channel as quoted by Cricwick.
Azam is now captaining Pakistan in two Tests against New Zealand. He started with a bang as he made 161 in the first innings of the first match, which came off 280 deliveries and included 15 boundaries and a six.
Rizwan, meanwhile, was dropped for the first Test and replaced by veteran wicketkeeper-batsman and former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Playing in his first Test since January 2019, Sarfaraz grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he made 86 in the first innings, which came off 153 balls and included nine boundaries.
The second Test will get underway on January 2 in Karachi,
Pakistan Squad for New Zealand Test Series: Babar Azam (capt), Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Agha Salman, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood and Zahid Mahmood
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