Over the last few months, allegations of favouritism and claims of the captain and coach not being on the same page have been doing the rounds in Pakistan cricket. In an interview back in May, discarded left-arm pacer Junaid Khan made the shocking claim that players get a run in the national team only if they are close to the captain and team management.
Speaking to the media ahead of the second Test against West Indies in Jamaica, Mohammad Rizwan asserted that the current Pakistan set-up is working for the betterment of the team. He commented:
"It is important for everyone involved to be on the same page. I don't think there is any division on that front in our team. These rumours are totally baseless about favouritism."
Apart from his impressive run in T20 cricket, Mohammad Rizwan also led Multan Sultans to the PSL title this year. The 29-year-old has been rewarded by being named deputy to Babar Azam in the Test side. Asked about the responsibility of leadership, the wicketkeeper-batsman asserted:
"I am not feeling any pressure right now. It's crucial to be firm in leadership. I do try to give my inputs to Babar (Azam). He is very calm under pressure and never shows his emotions even if he is tense inside."
Quite a few edges didn't go to hand: Mohammad Rizwan reflects on defeat in 1st Test
Despite finding themselves in a winning position, Pakistan ended up losing the first Test against the West Indies by one wicket as the hosts chased 168 in an incredible finish. At 114 for 7, Pakistan had the Windies on the mat but failed to put the finishing touches.
Mohammad Rizwan, though, backed the team and pointed out that they were slightly unlucky in the first Test. He stated:
"Quite a few edges didn't go to hand and we weren't good in the field at certain periods. But the boys put in their best effort and we're confident of bouncing back in the next game which is a crucial game for us. Hopefully, we can perform well and level the series."
Pakistan’s batting yet again failed to deliver in the first Test as they managed scores of only 217 and 203. Mohammad Rizwan, however, pointed out that the conditions in Jamaica are tough for batting. He added:
"It's not that the boys haven't given acceptable performances. In a short series like this, we can't make changes overnight and it's also important to back our openers. Ultimately, opening in Tests isn't an easy task at all. You also need to look at the conditions on offer. On pitches where batting is really tough, we can't really fault the openers alone."
The second Test between Pakistan and West Indies will begin in Jamaica on August 20.
Meanwhile, Pakistan are set to rest Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali for the upcoming ODI series against Afghanistan in Sri Lanka next month, keeping the T20 World Cup in mind.