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Rizwan good enough to replace Sarfaraz: Riaz

Pakistan pacer is optimistic ahead of final T20I against Australia

PHOTO COURTESY: PCB/AFP

Pakistan left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz believes that wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan is capable enough to replace former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed behind the stumps.

While talking during a press conference ahead of third Twenty20 International (T20I) between Pakistan and Australia in Perth, which is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 8, Riaz said Sarfaraz was dropped from the side because of his poor form with the bat.  

“Sarfaraz had kept the team going really well and he is a very good player but he wasn’t in the best of form so he was dropped. He has done a lot for Pakistan as captain but since he is not in good form, we have brought in Rizwan and we are giving him chance to perform. Whoever replaces another player in the squad will be a good enough batsman to perform for Pakistan,” said Riaz.

The Lahore-born also heaped praise on newly-appointed T20I captain Babar Azam, who scored consecutive half-centuries in the first two T20Is of the series, for leading from the front.

“Babar is leading from the front. We have all seen him batting well in both games – he is confident and scoring runs. Obviously it’s a new challenge for him and he will get more experience as he progresses through his career,” he said.

READ MORE: Akhtar laments lack of support for Babar

Riaz also expected the Perth pitch to behave in line with its historic tradition of providing pace and bounce.  

“It is a beautiful stadium [Perth] and this is our first time here,” he said. “The wicket will be fast as Perth has always had pace and bounce but we are ready for this challenge.”

“You have to keep your lengths right and bowl within the stumps. We know that Australian players are good hookers and pullers of the ball, so bowling within the stumps and pitching the ball a little more up is more effective against them,” he added.

He also touted Australia’s top-order batsmen, comprising openers Aaron Finch, who is also the captain of the side, David Warner and prolific run-scorer Steve Smith, as world-class.

“Warner, Smith and Finch are world-class batsmen, we know that they are very destructive,” he said.  “We know that Australia depend a lot on these three but if we were to get all three out quickly then I think we can go through the rest of the batting line-up easily.”

Australia lead the ongoing three-match T20I series one-nil after winning the second encounter, in Canberra, by seven wickets. The opening match of the series, in Sydney, was washed out due to rain.