Aakash Chopra has heaped praise on Mohammad Rizwan for becoming the first-ever batter to cross the 2000-run mark in a calendar year in T20 cricket.
Rizwan achieved the milestone during the recently concluded T20I series against the West Indies. He has amassed 2036 T20 runs in 2021 and shattered Chris Gayle's previous record of 1665 runs in a calendar year.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra was effusive in his praise for Mohammad Rizwan. He said:
"What are you doing? To make more than 2000 runs in a calendar year, this has never happened before and Rizwan has done it now. Of course, Pakistan has played a lot of T20 cricket and they have done well also but give it up for Rizwan."
The former India opener highlighted that Mohammad Rizwan's aggressive batting when he plays for Pakistan makes Babar Azam's task easier at the other end. Chopra elaborated:
"The way he bats, he plays a selfless brand of cricket. A lot of times Babar Azam scores runs because Mohammad Rizwan is playing so well at the other end. He is a gun player."
Rizwan has scored 1326 of these 2036 runs in international cricket. The Pakistan opening batter averages an outstanding 73.66 in T20Is this year and has also scored his runs at an impressive strike rate of 134.89.
"Mohammad Rizwan is a slight risk-taker" - Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra added that Mohammad Rizwan's tendency to take risks might see him endure a lean run going forward. He explained:
"He is a slight risk-taker, plays a lot of cross-bat shots. So it is possible that he might have failures also, he might have a lukewarm season as well. But he is a keeper as well. So he has got a couple of skills up his sleeve."
However, the 44-year-old added that Mohammad Rizwan has secured a long run with the Pakistan team with his exploits this year. Chopra observed:
"The sort of season this has been, he has given himself a long rope. A player who makes 2000 runs in a year and takes the team forward, semi-final of the T20 World and scores runs in the semi-final as well despite being hospitalized, Mohammad Rizwan - this year belongs to you."
Rizwan was hospitalized with a chest infection ahead of the T20 World Cup 2021 semi-final against Australia. He made a miraculous recovery and played a 67-run knock in the encounter, which eventually turned out to be in a losing cause.
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