The former Pakistan captain had a rather straightforward advice for Mohammad Rizwan, following criticism over his pacing of the innings during the Bangladesh T20I.
Pakistan registered a convincing win over Bangladesh in their opening game of the tri-series in New Zealand on Friday. Riding on Mohammad Rizwan’s unbeaten 78 off 50 deliveries, Pakistan put 167/5 in 20 overs before restricting the Nurul Hasan-led side on 146/8. While Pakistan’s middle-order concerns came to fore again, it was Rizwan’s unbeaten knock which eventually bailed them out of a tough spot – something which has happened more often than not for Pakistan over the past few weeks.
However, despite a match-winning innings for the side, Rizwan faced criticism for his pace of scoring. Rizwan, who opens the innings for the side, played out the entire 20 overs, facing 50 balls for his unbeaten 76. Former Pakistan cricketer Sikander Bakht had stated after the game on a Pakistan news channel that the side won’t be lifting the T20 World Cup if other batters start playing like Rizwan.
However, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi differs in opinion, insisting that Rizwan is doing his job brilliantly.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re batting or bowling, the start is the main thing. Rizwan and Babar are giving you good starts. But only one or two players can’t make a team, there are 11 players out there. Six batsmen are playing, and you’d expect at least three to score,” Afridi said during a conversation on Samaa TV.
“Rizwan doesn’t need to change his plan. There’s no need for him to listen to anyone,” Afridi further stated.
Pakistan lost the toss and were sent in to bat, with Rizwan sharing a 52-run opening stand with skipper Babar Azam (22) and then putting on 42 for the second wicket with Shan Masood (31 from 22 deliveries) to set up Pakistan’s innings. He batted through the 20 overs and hit seven boundaries and two sixes in his 21st T20 international half century.