PAK vs NZ: Pakistan Chief Selector Clarifies Whether Babar Azam And Mohammad Rizwan Would Be Opening From Now On

Updated - 20 Dec 2023, 12:23 PM

Babar Azam And Rizwan Opening For Pakistan In t20Is
Babar Azam And Rizwan Opening For Pakistan In t20Is

Pakistan’s chief selector Wahab Riaz, announced a 17-member squad for the five-match T20I series against New Zealand on Tuesday. The series will commence in Auckland on January 12. Shaheen Shah Afridi will lead the Pakistan national cricket team for the first time in this series as the new era for Pakistan begins.

Wahab Riaz talked about the opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan in T20Is for Pakistan while attending a press conference in Lahore. Babar and Rizwan have been opening the innings in T20Is for Pakistan since 2021.

“Going forward, you need to conduct experiments. Our job is to provide a team to the director and captain. Since Sahibzada Farhan is also an opener, we will have to see with which combination they take the team forward and whom they prefer,” Wahab said.

“Any player who opens in this series, and if he is not Babar or Rizwan, just in case, and he comes in and gives a good performance, it is not necessary that he will grab that place. Often in Pakistan, it happens that a player who consistently performs, due to some illness or fitness reasons, cannot play a particular match. Then someone else comes in his place, and if he performs, we prefer him. In my opinion, the one who is a consistent performer should get that place back,” he added.

Pakistan Has A Good Record Against New Zealand

The Men in Green has a really good record against New Zealand, especially in T20Is. They have beaten New Zealand in the past four ICC events i.e. ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, T20 World Cup 2021 and 2022, and most recently ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. However, the Kiwis also have a strong team with Kane Williamson back as the skipper. It will be interesting to see how Pakistan approaches this series in terms of team combination.

Currently, the team is in Australia for a three-match test series which they did not start auspiciously. Australia registered a thumping victory by 360 runs and took a 1-0 lead in the series. The two teams will now face each other in Melbourne for the ‘Boxing Day Test’ and then will move to Sydney for the New Year Test. Australia have dominated Pakistan in recent years across all formats.

The whole opening fiasco for Pakistan would be revealed in the first T20I against New Zealand. Babar and Rizwan are highly unlikely to open because a change of things for the two batters was always in consideration. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan are likely to take up their ODI position of No.3 and No.4 respectively in T20Is. There are speculations that Rizwan is not likely to be the first-choice keeper/batter for the series and Pakistan will consider Azam Khan for the position.

Pakistan Squad For T20I Series Against New Zealand: Shaheen Afridi (c), Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Saim Ayub, Sahibzada Farhan, Haseebullah Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Aamer Jamal, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Mohammad Nawaz, Abrar Ahmed, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf and Zaman Khan


Babar Azam Mohammad Rizwan NZ vs PAK 2024 Pakistan national cricket team Wahab Riaz