Mohammad Rizwan discusses his meteoric rise in a tell-all interview

From Pakistan's performance in the T20 World Cup Powerplays to the secret behind his batting success, Rizwan explains all

Mohammad Rizwan discusses his meteoric rise in a tell-all interview PHOTO: AFP

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan has quickly become a fan-favourite ever since his introduction on the international stage. From his small rugged posture to his ability to turn up for the national team despite being ill; there is a lot to love about the player.

In an interview released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Rizwan discussed various things; from Pakistan's performance in the T20 World Cup Powerplays to the secret behind his batting success, and more.

Bangladesh Tour 

Addressing the upcoming tour against Bangladesh and what to expect in terms of the conditions, Rizwan said that he has a basic understanding but will assess the situation after visiting the ground.

"You will find conditions to be different everywhere. Before the World Cup, the pitches were gripping, spinning, and turning; the conditions were very difficult. However, we will assess the conditions and the pitch tomorrow when we go to the ground. We have an idea as to what the pitch will be like but we still need to see the preparations ground staff has done in regards to the pitch," he said.

First Player to Reach 1000 T20I Runs in a Year

During the T20 World Cup, Mohammad Rizwan crossed the 1000-run mark and became the first player to do in a calendar year.

Speaking about this prestigious achievement, Rizwan said that he is more excited because the record belongs to Pakistan first and foremost.

"If we talk about the record, I am actually more glad that this record belongs to Pakistan rather than to myself," he said.

Rizwan further added that this record belongs to everyone that has contributed to his progress in recent times. He named Richard Pybus, Inzamamul Haq and especially Shahid Aslam for helping him out. 

"This record belongs to a number of people, people who have helped me reach this place. The first one would be Richard Pybus who mentally prepared me for the T20 cricket and gave me tips on how to improve as a T20 batter. Inzamamul Haq is another who did the same for me as well," he said. 

“Lastly, I would like to give huge credit to someone who worked with me behind the scenes, it is Shahid Aslam. He helped arrange different bowlers to prepare me for different situations and he deserves all the appreciation as well," he added. 

Matthew Hayden's Role

Matthew Hayden, who has not traveled with the Pakistan squad for the Bangladesh series, made an instant connection with the team. The Australian named Mohammad Rizwan as the "bloke he liked the most". 

Speaking about the legendary opener who joined Pakistan as a coach prior to the World Cup, Rizwan said: "When coaches such as Matthew Hayden walk in, they won't teach you how to pick up the bat because you don't improve on the basics all that much. However, these coaches help you massively when it comes to the mental side of the game. They enlighten you with their experiences and they stick with you."

"There were things which he [Hayden] shared and anyone who actually understood those things, it would help them a lot like it has helped me," Rizwan added.

While on the subject, Rizwan also mentioned the former batting coach Younis Khan and highlighted his contribution as well.

"Similarly, when Younis Khan was here, I learned a lot from him and I still carry a couple of pointers which he gave me and they have improved me as a cricket player," he said.

T20 World Cup Powerplay Tactics

Pakistan had a clear plan to not lose any wickets in the Powerplay and both Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan executed that plan to near perfection during the T20 World Cup.

However, many disapproved of the approach of not taking calculated risks with the majority of the fielders up in the circle. Responding to the critics, Rizwan explained the entire plan.

"Powerplay was our strength. It was being said by others, not just by us. We used to keep wickets in our hands and utilised the last overs with the help of our power hitter. If we look at others, those who started with power hitters also mostly ended their Powerplays at 42, 43, or 44 runs. If we take out the average, we also managed to finish ours at around the 40-run mark and without losing a wicket," Rizwan said.

"We tried executing a certain plan. People might get phased because we don't hit a lot of sixes in the Powerplays. I request everyone to compare our performances in the Powerplay and see how many times did we lose a wicket and compare our oppositions and how many times did we get a breakthrough in their Powerplays," he added.

Injury Update

Mohammad Rizwan was suffering from a lung problem and severe chest infection before the crunch semifinal match against Australia. However, the player marched on and made himself available for selection.

Speaking about his recovery, Rizwan said that he will be joining the practice from tomorrow after having rested.

"I was having trouble breathing beforehand but things have improved massively for me now. I have been resting since the World Cup because the physio and the doctor recommended that to me. However, I will continue training from tomorrow," Rizwan concluded.