June 01, 1992, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Right hand bat
For someone who played an international for the first time in two years in January 2019, Mohammad Rizwan is spoken of remarkably frequently. Most often, he is used as a stick to threaten current first-choice Pakistan wicketkeeper and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, but the 27-year-old from Peshawar has qualities of his own that suggest he might have been unfortunate not to play for Pakistan more often.
A limited batsman but a technically sound keeper when he first rose through the ranks, Rizwan made his international debut shortly after the 2015 World Cup when the slot behind the stumps was still up for grabs. He made a bright start against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, averaging nearly 60 with the bat in his first eight innings, but against more challenging opposition, his deficiencies were quickly exposed. A lengthy lean patch followed, and once he lost his place to Sarfaraz for the World T20 in 2016, there was little doubt who Pakistan's No. 1 wicketkeeper was. After the debacle at the World T20, Sarfaraz was appointed captain of the limited-overs sides, and consequently Rizwan's game time diminished further, coming to a complete halt until Sarfaraz sat out the last five games on the tour to South Africa in January 2019 serving a ban.
On the domestic circuit, Rizwan has been a prolific run-accumulator, averaging a shade under 50 in List A cricket and 41 at first-class level. He doesn't, however, seem to have the shots necessary to make him a valuable asset in T20Is, but with that being Sarfaraz's strongest suit, both as a batsman and captain, it would have been hard to dislodge him in the format at any rate.
Having made his debut over a decade ago on Pakistan's domestic circuit, Rizwan has been an ever-present participant in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy, plying his trade with the hugely successful SNGPL side, helping his side to three titles in the last four years. For that, the reward of a solitary Test cap in 2016 feels somewhat inadequate.
He currently plays for the Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League, and has firmly cemented himself as Pakistan's back-up wicketkeeper. At 27, with his best years arguably ahead of him, the dominant narrative of Rizwan's career is probably still to be written.
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