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Mohammad Rizwan hints at changes for second Test in Christchurch
Pakistan News

Mohammad Rizwan hints at changes for second Test in Christchurch

Pakistan's stand-in captain Mohammad Rizwan has indicated an altered playing XI for the second match of the two-Test series against New Zealand as the tourists hope to square the series 1-1.

Pakistan endured an agonising 101-run defeat in a last-gasp finish at the Bay Oval to hand New Zealand an unassailable lead in the series. Tail-enders Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi almost ensured a draw for Pakistan but their resilient last-wicket partnership was disrupted 27 balls before the close of play on day five.

With all attention on the traditionally lively pace-friendly surface in Christchurch, Rizwan has hinted at the likelihood of changes in the team.

"We have thought about making certain changes for the second Test. We will sit together with the management and decide but yes, changes are in the pipeline," the 28-year-old stressed.

"The pitch and weather conditions require you to bowl first after winning the toss. There is overcast weather and the pitch has grass and moisture," Rizwan added, which might suggest Pakistan's inclination to opt for an all-seam attack.

Sohail Khan is the other pace bowler in Pakistan's Test squad besides Naseem, Shaheen, Mohammad Abbas and Faheem Ashraf, all of whom featured in the first game.

Yasir Shah did not look too threatening in the series opener, making him the probable candidate to miss out in Christchurch.

In the batting department, Pakistan might be tempted to give Imran Butt his maiden Test cap ahead of the off-colour Haris Sohail. However, Haris' limited experience of 15 Tests may still work in his favour to retain his spot in the team.

The big news leading up to the second Test is the absence of Babar, who ends the tour without playing a single game due to his thumb fracture.

Sharing details on Babar's injury, Rizwan commented on how the classy batsman was not willing to exacerbate the problem to the detriment of the team.

"This is an international match and he [Babar] has always been giving sacrifices for the team. He is a strong guy but he doesn't want to aggravate the injury, which could become a problem for the team in the long run.

"He feels he is currently 60% fit and wants to play for his side only when he has recovered 100% so that he can deliver for Pakistan."

Rizwan reiterated his satisfaction with Pakistan's effort in Mount Maunganui and expected his side to put another fine show to earn a series-levelling win.

He gave the example of Pakistan's victory in the third T20I earlier in the tour, in which he had a major role to play. He hammered a match-defining contribution of 89 runs to ace Pakistan's chase of the 174-run target.

"Any tour's last match is immensely important. We had lost the T20I series heading into the final game but it was important to win the last match because we wanted to gain momentum as Misbah-ul-Haq has mentioned," Rizwan emphasised. "And we were successful in our resolve and it helped us in the first Test as the boys fought well."

"The players are confident and the series is not beyond our grasp. It is an opportunity for us to win the match and level the series," he concluded.