Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Babar Azam, the Pakistan captain, said he is not trying to “decide anyone’s career” when addressing the non-selection of wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan in the Test team.
Rizwan had been Pakistan’s go-to wicketkeeper-batsman in the longest format before being moved to the bench due to a string of poor performances.
Sarfaraz Ahmed was picked in his place for the two-Test series against New Zealand in December 2022 to January 2023 and had an immediate impact as he scored 335 runs, which included a century and three fifties, at an average of 83.75.
In Pakistan’s last Test assignment, which was a two-match series against Sri Lanka in July 2023, he made 32 runs at an average of 16.
However it should be noted that Sarfaraz was replaced by Rizwan during the second Test in Colombo after being struck on the helmet. Rizwan batted in the match and made an unbeaten 50.
Since it appears that Pakistan will continue backing the 36-year-old former captain going forward, Azam made it clear that Rizwan still has a future in Test cricket as he is a “main player.”
“We try to play with the best possible playing XI. He (Rizwan) is also our main player but we try to play with the best possible playing XI according to the conditions. We are not to decide anyone’s career,” the 28-year-old was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
Following the two-Test series against Sri Lanka, Pakistan defeated Afghanistan 3-0 in an ODI series.
Most recently, they played in the Asia Cup, where Azam amassed 207 runs in five matches, which included a top score of 151, at an average of 51.75.
As for Rizwan, he finished with 195 runs, which included two fifties, at an average of 97.50.
Pakistan kicked off their campaign with a brutal 238-run win over Nepal before sharing one point apiece with India as their match was rained off.
Having booked their spot in the Super Fours, the men in green went on to demolish Bangladesh by seven wickets.
Their positive momentum was halted when they played India again as the men in blue crushed them by 228 runs.
Pakistan still had a chance to reach the Asia Cup final, but failed to get the job done as they lost to Sri Lanka by two wickets via the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method (DLS) method.
Pakistan Squad for 2023 Asia Cup: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Haris (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zaman Khan.
Travelling reserve: Tayyab Tahir