Mohammad Rizwan: I told Babar Azam to drop me for New Zealand Test series
Pakistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan has claimed it was his decision to be dropped for the New Zealand Test series.
Both games of the two-match series in Karachi against Tim Southee’s side ended in a draw, with Pakistan dropping Rizwan from the squad and favouring former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed instead.
This decision came after Rizwan failed to impress during England’s 3-0 victory over Pakistan in December. Rizwan only managed to score 141 runs across the series, the worst of any Pakistan batter who started every game. An average of 23.50 with a highest score of 46 represented a drop in performance, and with Pakistan soundly beaten, a selection shake-up saw Rizwan axed.
The decision to leave out Rizwan, a mainstay of the Pakistan side, was met with some debate within Pakistan cricket circles. However, Rizwan has now claimed that he asked to be left out, believing he did not deserve to be retained.
“You can ask the head coach Saqlain Mushtaq that what I told him after the end of the England Test series,” Rizwan told Cricket Pakistan. “I was happy to see Sarfaraz perform because that is what I wanted. I personally thought that since I wasn’t able to perform, I didn’t deserve to play in the next series.
“I went to the coach and captain myself and told them that you can drop me because I haven’t performed. Two players are witnesses to this conversation.”
Sarfaraz proved himself invaluable as Rizwan’s replacement in the middle order. He was Pakistan’s highest run-scorer in the series with a total of 335 runs, averaging 83.75 and striking at a rate of 65.17.
His series high score of 118 off 176 in Pakistan’s second innings of the second Test helped keep hopes of a win alive for the home side, and eventually helped secure a draw.
Rizwan was full of praise for his replacement. “Sarfaraz has been performing in domestic and deserves his chance now,” he said. “So I was happy to see Sarfaraz perform because I asked for his inclusion. Whoever performs best for Pakistan deserves to play.”