Saturday September 25, 2021

Skipper Rizwan promises ‘all guns blazing’ in first Test

December 25, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan are aiming to give tough time to New Zealand batsmen in the first Test on a lively track in Mount Maunganui as stand-in skipper Mohammad Rizwan Thursday vowed to go into the series with all guns blazing.

In a virtual media interaction with the journalists, Rizwan while responding to ‘The News’ question said that if New Zealand seamers were planning to make going tough for Pakistan batsmen, the visitors also had the same plans.

“Admitted that New Zealand seamers gave a tough time to West Indies in the recent series and they are planning the same against Pakistan. But we have a better bowling attack capable of delivering if the playing track offers any assistance to the bowlers. I think it will be a tough task for New Zealand batsmen to cope with the Pakistan pace attack.”

Rizwan added that he always tried not to speak loftily about the team’s chances.

“But the journalists have the specialty to dig out of us what we don’t want to disclose. What New Zealand pacers did to West Indies batsmen, we are planning the same attack against New Zealand. We have capability to respond in a better way so if the pitch will be difficult for us, New Zealand will also be facing the same issue. Batsmen Shan Masood and Abid Ali are ready to open and give a good start to the team.”

The skipper believed the series will be about which team is more aggressive. “New Zealand will surely be an attacking side but we have even better plans to counter.”

Pakistan players witnessed four-hour training in the nets Thursday and will be attending another session today (Friday) before going into the Test on Saturday.

Rizwan said he was not under pressure to lead the Test side for the very first time. “I have already captained teams in domestic cricket. It is an honour for me and I will take this opportunity as a challenge while using my expertise with the help of seniors.”

Regarding the playing XI for the opening Test, Rizwan said it would be finalised after having a glance at the condition of the track. “The pitch is yet to get a final shape. At the moment there is a grass and possibly the curator would finalise it by Friday evening. After that we will be in a position to finalise the team.”

The young captain said he was not afraid of criticism. “In fact, I hardly know who has said what. I only use Whatsapp to talk to family and team members. I am a positive man and always look forward to positive things. I am working hard both on wicket-keeping and batting and have left rest of the things to Almighty Allah.”

He said he was obviously missing Babar Azam as it was definitely a big loss for the tourists. “Babar remains deeply involved in team’s preparations even if he is not fit. We will definitely be missing him in the Test. Babar is a world-class batsman and an asset for the team.”

Rizwan also lauded Sarfaraz Ahmed for his services for Pakistan cricket.

“I have learned a lot from him in the past. He captained the team many times and now Allah Almighty has given me the chance to lead it.”