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Rizwan has proved that he is an asset for Pakistan – Shoaib Akhtar

Rizwan has proved that he is an asset for Pakistan – Shoaib Akhtar

Rizwan has proved that he is an asset for Pakistan – Shoaib Akhtar

Former Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar has heaped praise on Mohammad Rizwan, saying the wicket-keeper batsman has proved that he is ‘an asset for Pakistan’.

Pakistan were under the pump after being on the receiving end of a shocking 19-run loss in the second T20I, which was also Zimbabwe’s first-ever win over Pakistan in T20Is. Pakistan were given a paltry total of 119, but they collapsed to 99 all out to put series on the line.

But today, the visiting side approached their batting with better intent and paced it better. Pakistan had added Sharjeel Khan in the side, which meant that Babar Azam was pushed to third spot while Rizwan and Sharjeel opened the batting.

Sharjeel didn’t impress in his appearance but Rizwan stuck right till the end, notching up an extremely impressive 91 off 60 balls to get his side to 165.

“Rizwan’s intent towards Pakistan is amazing. The way he is serving Pakistan, it’s fabulous to see that someone is playing for his side with this good intent,” said Akhtar on his YouTube channel. “All of them play like this. 91 off 60, he’s proven that he is an asset for Pakistan.”

Akhtar added that Pakistan needed to sort out their middle order, which has been under the radar for a while now. He said that Rizwan should contribute for Pakistan if the management requires him to bat in the middle order to sort out this crisis.

“Rizwan should contribute for his side in the middle order if they require him in that role,” he continued. “Pakistan should improve their selection, they should sort out their middle order and the X-factor in the bowling should be brought back. Many congratulations to this side for winning.”

There was a slight scare for Pakistan after Madhevere (59 off 47) and Marumani (35 off 26) were starting to find momentum in the run-chase. The 20-year-old Madhevere was impressive in his stroke-play but Pakistan bowlers, in particular Hasan Ali, did a good job to pull things back. 

Shoaib said there was a slight doubt in his mind that Zimbabwe might win this and if that happened, the defeat would’ve been a hard pill to swallow. “There was a slight doubt in my mind that Zimbabwe might get away by chasing this total down, it would have been embarrassing. It wouldn’t have been easy to bear that.”

Pakistan and Zimbabwe will now go head-to-head in two-match Test series, which starts April 29.


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