Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman, Mohammad Rizwan, has come to the defense of the team’s top-order batsmen following their recent struggles in the 2023 World Cup. Despite challenges faced by key players like Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, and Babar Azam, Rizwan attributes Pakistan’s No. 1 ODI team ranking to the consistent performance of the top three.
While Zaman has faced scrutiny for his recent form, with only one score over 30 in his last seven innings, Imam-ul-Haq has been consistent with runs but struggled with strike rates. Babar Azam, the team’s captain, has also faced challenges in scoring big runs in recent matches.
After Pakistan’s convincing 81-run victory over the Netherlands in their World Cup opener on October 6, Rizwan spoke to PTI and addressed concerns about the top-order performance. He sees the struggles of the top three as an opportunity for the middle-order batsmen to showcase their form and is not overly concerned.
“Yes, it’s a good question. But you also have to understand, the last two years, the reason for us becoming No. 1 was our top three. Just before the Asia Cup, Fakhar Zaman was named the ICC Player of the Month. Before that, Imam had hundreds upon hundreds. We think this is an opportunity for the middle order to showcase its form. And now the middle order is also performing.”
In the match against the Netherlands, Pakistan’s top three were dismissed early, putting the team in a challenging position. However, a crucial partnership of 120 runs between Saud Shakeel and Rizwan played a pivotal role in steering Pakistan to a match-winning total of 286.
As Pakistan progresses in the World Cup, Rizwan’s optimism about the middle-order stepping up provides a positive outlook for the team. The ability of the middle order to perform, as witnessed in the recent match, reflects a depth in Pakistan’s batting lineup, offering hope for a successful campaign in the tournament.