Mohammad Rizwan: I don’t want to bat at No.5 in ODIs, but I am happy to make sacrifices for the team
Mohammad Rizwan has told reporters that he is “not happy” with batting at No.5 for Pakistan in ODIs, stating that he would prefer to come in at No.4.
Speaking ahead of the third ODI against New Zealand on Wednesday (May 3), Rizwan said in a press conference: “If you ask me honestly, I am not happy [with my batting position]. I am not happy with No.5, because I personally want to play at four. But it’s not necessary whatever I want I’ll get. The coach and captain will do what they like. It must have happened a lot in the past. It is my desire to play at four and I’m not happy with playing at five. This is what I want.”
Rizwan has batted at No.5 in each of Pakistan’s first two matches against New Zealand. He finished unbeaten and hit the winning runs in both matches, scoring his ninth half-century in the format in the second game. Before the current series against New Zealand, Rizwan last batted at No.5 in March last year against Australia.
“You’d have stats in front of you but I look at things differently,” continued Rizwan. “I don’t look at all that, I try to assess things – stats, past performances are all different to me. I aspire to play at four. That doesn’t mean that I will get four after that. I don’t want that.”
Rizwan batted at No.4 more often than at any other position in ODIs, having played 20 innings at second-drop. Both of his ODI centuries have come at No.4 as well as five of his nine half-centuries. His stats back his own preference for batting at four. The further down the order he has batted the lower his average has been. At No.4, he averages 43.64, at No.5 that drops to 33.66 in eight matches. Before reprising the position against New Zealand, his highest score in five previous innings was 14.
Further down at No.6, where Rizwan has come in for 15 matches in his career to date, his average falls further to 30.81. He last batted at No.6 in 2019. The uptick in Rizwan’s ODI career coincided with his move up the order to four. He scored a century in his second innings in the position and made his second two games later.
“I haven’t reproached or complained to anyone, neither do I want to,” said Rizwan. “Whatever the coach and captain like, they are doing. There must be examples from the past when players are doing things a certain way, but it won’t be according to how he wants. Because the captain and coach’s thinking would be different. It’s not necessary what the player wants he will get.”
Rizwan has moved down the order to accommodate a specialist batter at No.4 and stabilise Pakistan’s middle order. In the first match of the series Shan Masood filled in at four behind Babar Azam, while Abdullah Shafique was preferred in the second. Neither Masood or Shafique made it out of double figures before they were each dismissed.
Pakistan are 2-0 up in the five match series which will conclude in Karachi on Sunday, May 7.