From second choice to winning matches, Rizwan writes a success story

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Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting, this is what Mohammad Rizwan did from 2015-2019.

But now the 28-year-old is a key prospect of Pakistan men’s cricket team and has completely turned the tables, converting his critics into fans by executing constant performances.

The little-man from Peshawar with a big heart purely came into the side back then due to his batting performances in domestic cricket and possessing acrobatic skills on the field.

His style of batting, however, didn’t support Pakistan and his position in the side was vulnerable. He became a back-up of former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed during these years but the smile on his face didn’t fade away during hard times.

Rizwan made his Test debut which was a horrible one as he was dismissed on the first ball of his Test career and then he waited for three years for the next chance in the elite format of the game.

The game was against Australia at their fortress ‘The Gabba’ having a frightening attack consisting of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and spin wizard Nathon Lyon.

It was Rizwan’s first glimpse of real authority where he scored 37 in the first innings and followed by an impressive 95.

He couldn’t show his class in the next two series at home as the top-order scored the bulk of runs but his wicket-keeping was at the top of the mark.

The wait was a little one as Pakistan’s top-order woes appear on the tour of England and it was again Rizwan, who stepped up and saving Pakistan in a rain-hit match at Rose Bowl, Southampton.

The performances caught the eye of former English captain, Michael Atherton as he termed him fearless. “Rizwan looks like a battler, somebody who you want in your corner in a tight situation and I thought he played very well. He’s not afraid to play some shots when needed, but he also tempered his aggression in the early stages of his innings.”

He continued to showcase his form with another match-winning inning in the last Test at the same venue. He was rewarded as ‘Man of the Series’ from Pakistan.

Pakistan after the home Zimbabwe series, toured New Zealand where the opportunity presented Rizwan to open the innings. He failed in the first two but in the last, he shut the noises from outside by smashing 89, saving Pakistan from humiliation.

Picture Credit: AFP

In the Tests, he led Pakistan as Babar was suffering from a thumb injury. The other batters were again struggling but he registered three fifties in four innings.

It was a matter of time for him to cross the century mark in Test cricket but there were no signs of it as he bats lower down the order and has to take most of the proceedings with the tailenders.

PC: PCB

Rizwan crushed those doubts from the heads of fault-finders and scored a special knock of 115 against South Africa recently at Rawalpindi. It was after seven years, a keeper posted a three-figure mark.

Picture Credit: AFP

He didn’t stop and he didn’t allow his critics to speak again regarding his abilities. The percentage was quite low as the fans have made their minds that he can’t hit the ball long and at regular intervals.

Pakistan met South Africa in the first T20I of the three-match series and he again produced his magic by becoming only the second Pakistani to score a century in this format.

The records came under his belt. He struck seven sixes, most by any Pakistani in a T20I inning. Only the second wicket-keeper after New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum to score centuries in all three formats. 5th wicket-keeper batsman in the world to score T20I 100.

Picture Credit: AFP

There’s no denying that there are other match-winners in the side but Rizwan holds a separate value as he has brought his majority of the performances when the team needed the most.

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