KARACHI: Wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan disclosed that his match-winning innings against New Zealand in Napier in 2020 was a breakthrough in his career, saying he was sure Pakistan would not give him a chance if he had failed to perform in that match.
Rizwan singlehandedly steered Pakistan to a sensational win against New Zealand with a blistering 89 from 59 balls in the final T20 and defied a clean sweep in the three-match series during Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand 2020/21.
In an interview with former English player and commentator Michael Atherton, released by Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday, Rizwan said his T20 career was on the verge of a breakdown before that match.
“I told him (Iftikhar) this will be the last match of my career in T20,” he said.
“And I told him after this (match) Pakistan will (also) not give me a chance in T20.”
‘Everything is free after win over India’
The 24-year-old further claimed he received an unmatchable amount of love and praise from the people of his country after Pakistan sealed a historic win against India in the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Rizwan along with his opening partner and team captain Babar Azam built an astounding 152-run partnership to help Pakistan clinch not just a memorable 10-wicket victory but, their first against India in the World Cups.
“When we won against India… When we come to Pakistan I see the love of the people. Imagine, after that whenever I go to a shop, whenever I go across the motorways, people don’t take money from me.”
‘Focus on Studies and leave Cricket’
Talking about the challenges he faced during the early years of his career, Rizwan told his family asked him to ‘focus on his studies and leave cricket’.
“My family still does not know much about cricket,” he said.
“Even today my father asks me just two things, how’s your body and how’s the team, are they gelling well or not?”
“And my mother only asks me if you (have) win or not.”
Furthermore, Rizwan said that he started playing cricket with tape-ball, adding that tape-ball cricket had given many players to Pakistan.
“If you look at Lahore Qalandar’s side, they pick too many players from tape ball. Haris Rauf and more (players) are coming to Pakistan as well”
“In Pakistan, tape ball cricket is very tough, Street cricket makes you a very sensible and good player.”
Rizwan is currently part of Pakistan’s Test squad in the ongoing home series against England.
The visiting side has an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series after they beat Pakistan in Multan and Rawalpindi Tests. The final game will take place in Karachi from December 17 to 21.
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