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Legendary Australia opening batsman Matthew Hayden believes the sky is the limit for Pakistan captain Babar Azam and wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan.
The duo have been Pakistan’s most consistent run-scorers for the past few years and have regularly rescued the team in perilous situations.
However, they have been criticised for their low strike-rate in T20Is, where they open the batting.
Despite whatever is being said about them, Hayden has defended Azam and Rizwan, saying they have always got the job done for the men in green.
“Everyone will talk about Babar and Rizwan, the the sky is the limit and both of these guys have done it for Pakistan for a number of years,” he was quoted as saying by respected journalist Saj Sadiq on Twitter.
Most recently, the pair featured in Pakistan’s home series against New Zealand, which consisted of two Test and three ODIs.
Azam scored 226 runs in the Test series, which included a brilliant 161, at an average of 56.50.
Rizwan, meanwhile, watched both matches from the sidelines as Sarfaraz Ahmed took his spot as the go-to wicketkeeper-batsman.
The former Pakistan captain did extremely well with the bat, making 335 runs, which included a career-best 118 and three half-centuries, at an average of 83.75.
In the three-match ODI series, Azam continued to shine as he struck 149 runs, which included two fifties, at an average of 49.66.
As for Rizwan, he got the opportunity to play every game and amassed 182 runs, which also included two half-centuries, at an average of 91.
With the Test series ending as a 0-0 draw and New Zealand winning the ODI series 2-1, the pressure on Azam has been mounting as rumours have started to escalate about him losing the captaincy in one or more formats. However, no concrete decision has been made about that just yet.
Right now, though, he will represent the Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), while Rizwan will captain the Multan Sultans and Sarfaraz will lead the Quetta Gladiators.
PSL 8 will take place from February 13 to March 19 in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi.
Peshawar Zalmi Squad for PSL 8: Babar Azam, Rovman Powell, Bhanuka Rajapaksa (Sri Lanka), Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Sherfane Rutherford, Wahab Riaz, Arshad Iqbal, Danish Aziz, Mohammad Haris, Aamer Jamal, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Saim Ayub, Salman Irshad, Usman Qadir, Haseebullah Khan, Sufyan Muqeem, James Neesham, Khurram Shahzad, Haris Sohail and Richard Gleeson
Multan Sultans Squad for PSL 8: David Miller, Josh Little, Mohammad Rizwan, Khushdil Shah, Rilee Rossouw, Shan Masood, Akeal Hosein, Shahnawaz Dahani, Tim David, Anwar Ali, Sameen Gul, Sarwar Afridi, Usama Mir, Usman Khan, Abbas Afridi, Ihsanullah, Adil Rashid, Arafat Minhas, Kieron Pollard, Amad Butt, Wayne Parnell and Izharulhaq Naveed
Quetta Gladiators Squad for PSL 8: Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Wanindu Hasaranga, Iftikhar Ahmed, Jason Roy, Odean Smith, Ahsan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Zahid, Naveen-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Umaid Asif, Will Smeed, Aimal Khan, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Martin Guptill, Omair Bin Yousuf, Qais Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Dwaine Pretorius, Will Jacks and Nuwan Thushara
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