Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent
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The Multan Sultans have named wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan as their captain for the upcoming Pakistan Super League season. He will replace Shan Masood, who led the franchise to the playoffs last year. Rizwan was previously part of the Karachi Kings, the defending PSL champions, but was picked up by the Multan team in the PSL 2021 draft.
"I look forward to leading the Multan Sultans team for the upcoming season," Rizwan said in a team press release. "I have understood the innovative approach the franchise applied last season and am looking forward to playing my part this season. Multan Sultans had a successful HBL PSL 5 and we will aspire to go even better this time around especially with senior Pakistani players like Shahid Afridi, Shan Masood and Sohail Tanvir."
While revealing the team's new captain, team owner Alamgir Khan Tareen said: "Rizwan has shown exemplary leadership qualities with the Pakistan team as well as with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in domestic tournaments. We are grateful to Shan Masood for leading the franchise exceptionally well last season and for instilling a winning mentality in the team."
In the PSL draft last month, Rizwan was, at first, not picked in his original category (diamond) until the Sultans snapped him up in a lower category (silver). He had parted ways with the Kings after an unsuccessful stint when he spent most of his time on the sidelines and hardly got a suitable batting number. He was played as a second-choice wicketkeeper-batsman and batted only 12 times, slotted between Nos. 6 and 8. Last season, he featured in only two matches and got to face just one ball, although his side went on to win the title.
Rizwan had failed to reach prominence while Sarfaraz Ahmed was Pakistan's all-format captain. His career made a remarkable turnaround when he announced himself in England last year to win a Player of the Series award in the Test series. His stocks were further elevated after the New Zealand tour where he stood out although Pakistan lost both games.
Before the New Zealand tour, Rizwan had impressed in domestic cricket, in the National T20 tournament. He scored four fifties, including an unbeaten 99 against Central Punjab, which helped him finish as the highest run-scorer, while he also impressed behind the stumps. His diving catch against Sindh, in particular, was a major talking point in the tournament. His tournament tally of 389 runs at 38.90 - and a strike rate of 127.96 - led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the 2020 title.
Most recently, Rizwan scored his maiden Test hundred against South Africa. In the T20I series that followed, he played all three games as an opener and struck his maiden T20I century in the first match. He finished as the highest run-scorer while also collecting the Player of the Series award for the T20Is. In the PSL, though, he has batted only 24 times - in 35 matches - with a high score of 50 at a strike rate of 115.94.