Mohammad Rizwan rubbishes Babar Azam’s strike-rate concerns

Wicketkeeper-batsman also brushed aside the notion that he was interested in leading the side

Mohammad Rizwan rubbishes Babar Azam’s strike-rate concerns PHOTO: Reuters

Pakistan’s prolific wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan has opened up on fellow opener and captain Babar Azam’s strike-rate in Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket, which has been a topic of discussion in the recent past.

While speaking during a virtual press conference, ahead of the three-match One-day International (ODI) series against England, Rizwan rubbished Babar’s strike-rate concerns.

“We don’t think there is an issue with Babar Azam’s strike-rate. Whenever he scores, he does it at a strike-rate of 140 plus. I will give you the example of when we chased 200 in South Africa, when me and Babar were opening, so I don’t think there is any such issue,” said Rizwan.

Rizwan conceded that Pakistan needed improvement in the middle-order, while also claiming that Sohaib Maqsood can bat effectively below the top-order as well.

“I admit that there is issue in our middle-order but we have included some new faces and have worked on our problems in that department. Hopefully, this issue will be sorted out in the next series,” he said.

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“Sohaib Maqsood has played and performed well at position five and six in the first half of PSL, in Karachi, and domestic cricket as well. We gave him a specific role [in second half of PSL] where he performed exceedingly well but keeping in mind the caliber of Sohaib Maqsood, I think he can adjust at any position,” he added.

The right-handed batsman is also open to a change in his batting position, along with Babar, if needed.

“As far as me and captain [Babar] is concerned [regarding batting position], we are willing to make sacrifice for the betterment of Pakistan team if needed. We will do what suits the team,” he said.

Rizwan also brushed aside the notion that he was interested in leading the side in one of the formats.

“I’m not thinking about leading the side as I’m focused on playing solely as a player. I give my suggestions whenever it’s needed. Also, if you look at Babar’s performance, he has done really well and we have won six series in row. Babar is on his way to becoming one of the best captains in world cricket,” he concluded.