Coach Saqlain Mushtaq is like a father, captain Babar Azam a brother, says Mohammad Rizwan

The opening pair of Pakistan captain Babar Azam and wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan is now the most prolific partnership ever in T20I cricket. During their match-winning stand of 203 against England in the second T20I in Karachi on Thursday, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan went past Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma’s 1743 partnership runs. The Pakistan duo have now put on 1929 runs in 36 innings at an average of 56.73 with seven century stands, also a record.

After the ten-wicket victory over England, Rizwan spoke about the faith he and Babar have in each other. “We have a lot of trust in each other, so much so that it is blind faith at times. We understand each other and the communication is such that I know when he is striking it well, I let him do it, and vice versa.

“Like in this innings, I was hitting it well at the start, then he started doing so, and then together we went all the way,” Rizwan told the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Babar added, “Our aim is to set a platform for our middle order which can make their job easier. The planning is such that we look to get 80 or 90 off the first ten overs. Accordingly we decide when we have to take our chances. We talk a lot to each other in the middle and that helps. We know that if we are there till the end, we can score 10-15 runs an over. When you are set, you are able to finish it at the end.”

Rizwan also credited the team management under coach Saqlain Mushtaq for keeping the squad united. “I admit that we have not been able to deliver the results in big tournaments. But fans love us as they feel the team is united and putting in the effort.

“The management has worked wonders too. I do not consider Saqlain bhai as head coach, I say he is like a father figure to our team and the captain is like a brother which is why the team is united and we are getting the results now,” Rizwan said.

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