2021 will be remembered as the year of Rizwan
From being told that “Rizwan cannot reach six” in 2020 to “most six” in 2021, Mohammad Rizwan has come a long way. Mohammad Rizwan had a dream run in 2021. Recently known as one of the most accomplished “goalies” in the world, the 29-year-old also has a formidable hitting record in all formats. Not so long ago his stick was questionable and in just one year he was considered one of the best openers in international cricket.
In all fairness, there aren’t enough words in the vocabulary to describe how good Mohammad Rizwan has been so far. It is a kind of art that one can only admire by watching it play in an unreal flow. This pocket dynamo mocked the batting records in 2021. He started the year slamming an unbeaten 104 against South Africa, then he scored seven half centuries to cram the T20 races with the series. records in a year calendar. As a bonus, he was also the second highest scorer in the 6th edition of the Pakistan Super League 2021 and led his team Multan Sultans to the first PSL title.
With Pakistan’s worthy 208-point chase to score the most 20 wins in 2021, Mohammad Rizwan became the first and only hitter to have 2,000 points in a T20 calendar year. Rizwan finished 2021 with 2,036 T20 races, of which he completed 1,326 races for Pakistan in the T20I. He’s the only hitter to have scored over 1,000 points, scored 12 half centuries, hit over 100 fours and 42 sixes in T20I in a calendar year.
He had the highest 1,326 points in 29 games with an average of over 73 and a strike rate of over 134. He also broke Sachin’s award-winning five-way winning record in 1998. And in fact, Rizwan missed 8 T20s in total due to canceled tours and rain, otherwise he would have set an all-time prodigy of a score in a calendar year.
Rizwan has completed 1,454 races in T20I since November 2020. This represents 88.71% of his total career races. All his half centuries and a century have come during this period. No other hitter in the Men’s T20I has scored 1,000 points during this span. The move he played to complete 2,000 races was the end credits of a sublime year for Rizwan. For the first time, he scored at a rate of 11.6 points over (RPO). Before that, it had only changed to 9.5+ RPO once. It seems like this is the only start and it still has a long way to go.
A while back, Rizwan was the world’s third top scorer in his first T20 World Cup. His unbeaten 79 and Babar Azam’s 68 helped Pakistan secure the first-ever victory over their Indian rival in World Cup history. He again scored 79 against Namibia and before the crucial semi-final against Australia he caught a lung infection and spent 36 hours in intensive care. He even missed the pre-game training session but was declared fit to play on recovery and his determination to play. He was even hit in the face with a bouncer while at bat, but became the top scorer crushing 67 to propel Pakistan to set a 176 goal, then kept the wickets for 19 overs with a nasty bruise on the face. His courage was unmatched throughout the tournament.
Along with personal exploits, Rizwan also came as one of the saviors to strengthen the opening order. For a decade we had been striving for a half decent open pair and now all of a sudden Pakistan has the best open pair statistically and Rizwan is also part of that record. Since being promoted to the opening post to join Babar Azam, our number of batting collapses has dropped significantly. The Rizwan-Babar duo have totally transformed the prospect of opening the T20 for Pakistan. The stability and confidence they bring to the side is phenomenal.
2021 surely saw a remarkable career high for Rizwan who let his bat dominate all of Pakistan by his side. Winning the first century of testing, the first century of the T20, the Wisden ‘Cricketer of the Year’ award, the highest races on record in the T20s, most of the sixes and several player awards in the series in tests and T20s is quite an achievement for a player who has been told he is not suitable for international cricket. Rizwan’s consistency, passion and sheer determination have all made us believe in real life successes and miracles.
In a nutshell, Rizwan has proven to be the most eye-catching player in this fascinating run under Babar Azam. It started this year with trolls, skeptics and naysayers. He was known for his inability to cross the circle and he now ends the year as one of the most successful cricketers in the world and a valuable asset to Pakistan. Rizwan’s story is perfect for the biopic. He alone has inspired thousands of people just because of his self-confidence and hard work. The sun continues to shine on Rizwan as he is set to move to Sussex County in 2022. I really wish and hope he will continue to shine and accomplish more and more in the years to come.
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