ince the rise of international cricket in Asian countries, numerous talented and gifted wicket-keepers have outshined on international grounds with their performances. Countries like India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan have been producing some extraordinary wicket-keeper batsmen who successfully brought world trophies to their homeland.
MS Dhoni, Kumar Sangakkara, and Sarfaraz Ahmed are the prime and most recent examples. In our evergreen country, Pakistan cricket legends such as Hanif Muhammad, Wasim Bari, Rashid Latif, and Moin Khan have influenced many individuals to wear the gloves behind wickets.
According to cricket experts, wicketkeeping is one of the toughest and most important jobs in the world of cricket. You always have to be ready and focused all the time, and it doesn’t matter if it is a T20, ODI, or test match. Why not ask the top wicketkeeper of today’s generations, who has a different and inspiring story to tell about his struggle and hard work? Yes, we are talking about the winner of ICC Men’s T20 Cricketer of the Year 2021, Mohammad Rizwan.
Success Story of True Believer Mohammad Rizwan
Mohammad Rizwan is a Pakistani wicket-keeper batsman representing the national team in all three formats since his debut on 17 April 2015. Currently, he’s the vice-captain of the test team and the captain of the PSL franchise Multan Sultan. After the end of the captaincy era of another brilliant wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmad in 2019, Mohammad Rizwan was given the lifetime opportunity to fill the spot.
We all can agree that he is one of the finest wicketkeeper batsmen of today’s time. But just two years earlier, no one knew the talent of Mohammad Rizwan. And topping the ICC Men’s T20 ranking was a dream for him.
However, time changed, and here we are all praising the brilliance of this young lad. As of now, Mohammad Rizwan holds the record of the first batsman who scored over 2000 thousand runs in a calendar year. Besides that, he was the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2021 and the best wicketkeeper of PSL 2021, leading his team to victory in the finals. Let’s learn more about the inspiring and motivating life of Mohammad Rizwan.
Early Life before Debut in National Team
Mohammad Rizwan was born on 1st June 1992 in Peshawar, and his family belongs to the Barki community. According to an interview with Rizwan’s Elder brother Sohail Ahmad Afridi, he has been very passionate about cricket since childhood. He used to play with the local tape ball team. At thirteen, he played as a backup wicket-keeper in the tennis ball team and later joined the Shama cricket academy in Peshawar. During the Sui Gas Cricket academy trials, it was Basit Ali who recognized the catching instincts of Mohammad Rizwan and gave him a chance to get along with the club team.
Mohammad Rizwan father and grandparents were also local players but wanted him to focus on study and have a secure job. In several interviews, Rizwan mentioned that he belongs to a very religious family, and his love for cricket brought him to international grounds.
First Match on International Ground and Major Setback
After his heroic performance in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2014–15, he was selected to play for the Pakistan team against Kenya. Mohammad Rizwan played his first ODI international against Bangladesh on 17 April 2015 and scored 68 runs in 58 balls. In his debut test match against New Zealand on 25 November 2016, he got out on a golden duck and couldn’t create magic with his batting.
From 2015 to 19, Rizwan played in the national team as middle order batsman. Due to the prime of already existing wicketkeeper captain Sarfaraz Ahmad, there was no place for him in the national team. Rizwan faced so much backlash for his underperformance in international cricket matches. He was also blamed for a lower strike rate in short-format cricket and was labeled a test cricketer. Due to not getting much exposure in international cricket, PSL franchises also backed off from drafting Rizwan to their teams. But as it said, we all learn from our failures, and so did Mohammad Rizwan.
Mohammad Rizwan, The Strong Believer in Hard work and Destiny
During his struggling time, he never complained about his position in the franchise and national teams. However, during a press conference of Karachi Kings, he shared that it’s up to the almighty; we just have to work hard and believe in him. He further said people speak about me that I am not a t20 player or I can’t hit sixes and boundaries, but the time will come and we should wait for the right time.
After all the backlash and criticism, he never lost himself and waited for the perfect opportunity. Because deep down, he knew that someday his patience, diligence, and belief in the almighty would pay off. These hard hurdles during his starting career were developing him from the inside.
Miraculous Rise in 2020
After the wait of many restless nights, he was called back to the team in 2019 when Sarfaraz was ruled out due to a poor performance against Srilanka in the home series. Ultimately, this was the right time for Rizwan to show his real magic. After the captaincy shifted to Babar Azam, everything came into the hands of Mohammad Rizwan as he just had to perform. His miraculous rise started against the tour of New Zealand in 2020 when he became the temporary captain of Pakistan’s test team due to Babar’s injury.
In the first t20 international between Pakistan and New Zealand, the national team’s coach decided to promote Rizwan for the opening slot as the replacement for Babar Azam. Surprisingly, this risky move by the management and couches turned out to be life-changing for him. In the third T20 between Pakistan and New Zealand, Rizwan scored his highest T20 intentions runs (89) and saved the team from getting whitewashed.
Also Read: [Inspiring Story of Shahnawaz Dahani]
Achieving Top Spot at ICC T20 Ranking
The exceptional performance of Rizwan against the New Zealand series was just the start of this skillful player. After that tour, he never looked back and performed consistently on home and international grounds. In an interview with ARY News, Rizwan expressed that all the credit goes to that time’s head coach Misbah ul Haq who believed him and gave him a chance to open. Until now, Mohammad Rizwan consistently opens along with Babar Azam; they both have mastered their respectable opening roles. Who can forget their excellent partnership of 197 runs against South Africa? And successful runs chase against India in ICC World T20 2021.
Mohammad Rizwan is the 2nd Pakistan Player after Ahmad Shahzad, who has scored a century in the t20s. In the same way, performing back-to-back match-winning performances, the day came that no one had even expected. On 7th September 2022, he dethroned his teammate Babar Azam and topped the ICC T20 ranking.
Favourite Player in T20 World Cup
In the past two T20 World Cups, 2021 and 22, all the eyes were on Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam because of their batting style and opening partnerships. As of November 2022, Mohammad Rizwan has scored one century and 23 half-centuries. Here are some interesting milestones achieved by Mohammad Rizwan in T20 internationals.
- Most t20 runs in a calendar year (2000+)
- Scoring Most 50s in Calendar Years 2021 (13) and 21 (10)
- Fastest Player to reach 2000 runes
- One hundred ninety-seven runs opening partnership along with Babar against South Africa.
- 5th wicket-keeper to score a century in a t20 international.
To Sum it up
In the last T20 World Cup 2022, Rizwan didn’t live up to our expectations. However, we wish him the best of luck for the upcoming test series against England in December 2022. On the other hand, there can be many life lessons learned from the life of Mohammad Rizwan. Like never giving up on ourselves and filling our minds with positive thoughts. Because you never know when the right opportunity will arrive.
Q: Is Mohammad Rizwan married?
Yes, Mohammad Rizwan is married and the father of two daughters.
Q: What is Mohammad Rizwan cast?
Mohammad Rizwan family belongs to the Barki community and lives in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Q: What is the current ranking of Mohammad Rizwan?
Mohammad Rizwan holds the second position in the T20 ranking, just behind India’s Surya Kumar Yadav.
Q: Q: Why is Mohammad Rizwan not active on social media?
According to him, he doesn’t know much about social media because he wants to give all his time to cricket and religious work. Mohammad Rizwan’s brother handles his Twitter account.
Q: What is the record of Mohammad Rizwan 50s in t20?
Mohammad Rizwan has scored 23 50s in 79 t20 internationals.