Rizwan's aggressive reply to criticism over poor strike rate: '...if he's doing it out of spite, he'll face dishonour'
Mohammad Rizwan had a rather blunt response when he was asked about criticism over poor strike rate and lack of “intent” in him and Babar Azam at the top of the order.
Pakistan faced a six-wicket defeat in the first T20I of the series against England on Tuesday. The Babar Azam-led side posted 158/7 in 20 overs after being asked to bat first in Karachi, with Mohammad Rizwan top-scoring for the side (68 off 46 deliveries). In the run-chase, opener Alex Hales, who made a return to the T20I side after over three years, scored a half-century while Harry Brook remained unbeaten on 42 to steer England to the target with four balls remaining.
Rizwan addressed the media in the post-match press conference following the game, and spoke on the issues grappling the Pakistan cricket team after the loss. One of the major concerns for Pakistan side has been the low strike rate of their openers Rizwan and Babar, and many former cricketers had debated on the same throughout the last few weeks. As Rizwan produced a significantly brisk knock – scoring at a strike rate of 147.83 – a reporter asked the Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter if it was a focused attempt at displaying intent.
Rizwan, however, had a rather straightforward remark.
“Dekho, mujhe toh nahi pata kaun behes kar raha hai hampe. Mujhe inn cheezo ka nahi pata. Doosri baat, jo bhi hampe behes kar raha hai usko Allah khair de. Kyunki vo sirf hamaare liye nahi, poore Pakistan ke liye soch raha hai. (see, I don't know who is debating about us. This is the first thing. Secondly, even if someone is doing that, may Allah bless him. Because he's not just thinking about me or Babar, he's thinking about the whole Pakistan team),” Rizwan said strongly.
The Pakistan wicketkeeper, however, also stated that if the criticism has been made out of spite, then the concerned critic is bound to face “dishonour.”
“I don't know if it's the former players or the media, but may Allah bless them. But I want to say one thing. To whoever is debating about us, if any of us, the players, is not playing with complete honesty towards Pakistan, he will face dishonour. Whoever is talking about us, if he is doing that out of spite, then he will face dishonour as well. Being honest is our biggest priority,” said Rizwan.
“They are thinking the best about Pakistan, and we are trying our best as well. I also make mistakes, and I try to do better than that. The captain also tries to improve, everyone does,” he further said.