Mohammad Rizwan has backed his skipper Babar Azam and defended his strike-rate, saying that he never felt any issue with his scoring rate. However, he added that if the team requires him or Babar to change their positions, they will be ready to sacrifice it and fulfil the team's needs.
Babar Azam is one of the best players across formats, especially in white-ball cricket, and has been the mainstay of the Pakistan side. He's not only consistent in ODIs but averages a whopping 47.32 in T20 internationals as well. But his strike-rate, which hovers around the 130-mark, has often turned into a point of criticism. In the series against Zimbabwe, his strike-rate was a meagre 100, and he faced immense scrutiny. Even in the recently-concluded PSL, there were games when his strike-rate was under the scanner.
Talking about Babar Azam's strike-rate, flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammed Rizwan stated that the team has never felt any issues with his scoring rate and, if anything, there are problems with the middle-order.
"We've never felt any issue with Babar's strike rate. When he goes big he generally has a strike rate over 140. People talk about our strike rate but do remember we chased down 200, just the two of us, so our strike rate can't be that bad. There was an issue with the middle order, but we have more personnel coming in, so hopefully, that should be resolved now," Rizwan said in a virtual press conference, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
With the additions of Fakhar Zaman, Sharjeel Khan and Sohaib Maqsood to the side, there's no dearth of top-order aggressors in the unit. Rizwan doesn't see any issue with the top-order, but he admitted that both he and Babar were open to changing positions if the team required so.
"We don't have any issue in the top order. We're all settled in our positions, and the only problems we had were in our middle order. If you look at Maqsood in the Karachi leg, he played lower down, and he plays lower down in domestic cricket too. The calibre of player he is, he can easily adjust to any position. When it comes to me or Babar changing our position for the sake of the team, we will of course be ready to sacrifice."
Pakistan's vice-captain further praised Babar's captaincy and reckoned that the 26-year-old has been doing a phenomenal job as the leader of the side.
"I don't think about captaincy, because my job is to focus as a player," he said. "I have never been desperate for captaincy. I'm the vice-captain, and whenever the captain needs help, I am happy to do it. Babar is one of the leading captains right now, and if you look at our past series, he's made some brilliant decisions. Even if three or four players put our heads together, his clarity of thought rose above it all. I don't feel the pressure this way, and I enjoy my importance to the team. I relish the fact I am considered one of the main players of the team."
Pakistan will take on England in a three-match ODI series starting at Sophia Gardens from July 8, and will also play a three-match T20I series.