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'There is no added pressure due to Sarfaraz Ahmed's presence' - Mohammad Rizwan
Pakistan News

'There is no added pressure due to Sarfaraz Ahmed's presence' - Mohammad Rizwan

Mohammad Rizwan has denied any extra pressure on him given Sarfaraz Ahmed's inclusion in the Pakistan squad as the team's second-choice wicketkeeper.

Rizwan, whose stocks have risen dramatically over the past year, said he was focused on performing his role in the team to the best of his abilities instead of feeling insecure about losing his spot in the side.

The 28-year-old was inducted in the national side ahead of the Australia tour at the expense of former skipper Sarfaraz, who was sacked from the captaincy job following the T20I series whitewash at the hands of Sri Lanka in October 2019.

While Sarfaraz has been missing from action since then with the selectors preferring Rizwan for the wicketkeeping slot, the latter impressed with a couple of counterattacking innings in Australia including 95 at the Gabba.

Rizwan spoke of Sarfaraz in a positive light and likened the competition between the two players to that of Moin Khan and Rashid Latif two decades ago.

"I myself am a fan of Sarfaraz and respect him a lot as he is our senior player. I am the first-choice wicketkeeper but I never been under pressure because of that," Rizwan told reporters in a virtual media interaction.

"There is no added pressure on me due to him [Sarfaraz]. He's my senior and I am learning a lot from him."

"This is definitely a healthy competition. In the past, Moin Khan and Rashid Latif had a similar rivalry which was good for the team.

"There is no enmity between Sarfaraz and me since we agree that whoever the team management deems fit, will be in the playing XI," he assured.

Although doubts remain over Rizwan's place in the T20I side given the fact he got only two games in the unfinished Pakistan Super League, his red-ball prowess was on display in the recent four-day intra-squad match at Derby.

The right-handed batsman had the highest aggregate in the warm-up game with a century in the second innings.

"I am confident in my abilities and am working hard to avail all opportunities that come my way. I do not fear that there are a couple of keepers waiting in the wings but I am focused on performing," he added.

Pakistan will have another four-day intra-squad encounter before the first Test against England commences on August 5, thus giving them ample time to settle on a suitable combination.

Having batted at No. 6 in both innings of the practice match, Rizwan emphasised that he had no issues with being adjusted in the batting order according to what the team management desires.

"Individually, every batsman prefers a fixed number in the batting order but when you think from the perspective of the team, you have to keep in mind that the management can shuffle your position in the lineup as per the situation," he said. "For example, the wicketkeeper-batsman can be promoted up the order if they require slogging."

If Pakistan decide to go with the option of an all-rounder in the side, then Rizwan could come in a spot above his usual slot in the final Test XI.