'Multan Sultans determined to defend their PSL crown' says captain Rizwan

In an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, Rizwan opened up about the preparations, team combination and different challenges

'Multan Sultans determined to defend their PSL crown' says captain Rizwan PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Multan Sultans will step onto the field to defend their HBL PSL title under the leadership of Pakistan superstar batsman Mohammad Rizwan.

In an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, Rizwan opened up about the preparations and different challenges.

Bio-Bubble and Quarantine

Starting the conversation, Rizwan informed that all the players have arrived in Karachi and joined the bio-bubble.

“I personally like the bio-bubble because I don’t like going out all that much. So, for me, it does not feel like a hassle. Even before the pandemic, I used to stay at the hotel and players used to bring me my food. I have no real interest in roaming around and Alhamdulillah, I am happy with how I am,” he said.

Sultans Team Composition

The Pakistan superstar opening batter took Multan Sultans to new heights after being appointed the captain of the franchise. Speaking about his input during the team set up, Rizwan said he is delighted with the current squad.

“PSL is different because unlike in national cricket and departmental cricket, you will not see the same team for 3-4 years. The franchise cricket forces you to retain only 8 players from the previous campaign and that is a tough ordeal,” he said.

“To lose 10-12 players and then to go into the draft and select new players, the combinations change each year and there’s always effort that is required from players and management to ensure that a competitive squad has been selected,” Rizwan further added.

Foreign Players of Sultans

Rizwan highlighted the importance of foreign players for his franchise and said Multan will rely on them for the upcoming edition of the HBL PSL.

“Our foreign players are not only senior players but they are also renowned players in their respective countries; take Rilee Rossouw for example, or Imran Tahir. We have a good mix of players and hopefully they can help the franchise with their abilities.” Rizwan said.

Shahid Afridi and His Move to Quetta

Talking about Shahid Afridi’s move to Quetta Gladiators, Rizwan said that his absence will always be felt because he is a global superstar.

“Last year he also got injured and we missed him dearly then as well. He is a superstar of the country and his absence is always going to be felt. I talk to him time and time again so that makes things easier,” Rizwan said.

Highlighting Afridi’s work ethic, Rizwan shared a story of batting with him.

“Shahid bhai is a fighter and he plays with passion and he never gives up. I remember we were playing a match together and we needed 120-odd runs from 50-odd balls. Our entire top-order had collapsed and batting together with him made me realise that he never gives up. When we would meet in the middle, he would tell things we need to do to turn the match around and that, for me, defines Shahid bhai as a person and a player,” he explained.

Dahani's Rise to the Top

The Sultans’ captain explained how unearthing talents such as Dahani is a win for Pakistan.

“On an individual level, every player playing for their respective franchise wants to win and we are the same. However, if we look things from a broader perspective, it is ultimately a win for Pakistan,” Rizwan said.

“Shahnawaz Dahani is a symbol of what PSL is all about. For a player, to come from where he has come, to play for Multan and then go on to make his debut for Pakistan that makes me extremely glad. A lot of Dahani’s success is down to Haider bhai and Mushi bhai, who pushed for him. Because back then I was not involved in decision making as a captain,” he added.