Hyderabad: 19 December 2021: As they say, statistics don’t always tell the whole story. And without context, even the best can mean very little.
However, Mohammad Rizwan has just drawn curtains on such a phenomenal run — Pakistan don’t have any fixtures left for the calendar year — it would be a travesty to view these just from the Stats Division.
It would probably make sense to bring a Gulzar-like symbolism into play here to make sense of how much he has meant to the current Pakistan team and its fortunes.
Only last month, down with a heavy chest infection, Rizwan literally, got up from his bed in ICU to rush to the semis of the T20 World Cup. Even his doctor admitted it was a miracle and he hadn’t seen anything like it in his practice! But there he was, not just content with raising the bar for future generations in turning out against all odds, but also top-scoring in a high-octane clash where 21 supremely fit players were pitching their skills.
Rizwan broke several records and set newer ones on his way to becoming the best player in the world in the shortest format with an average that is, at once, awe-inspiring.
However, all these records pale before the contribution he has made to Pakistan cricket. He has turned reliability into a USP and this consistency has calmed the dressing room and completely changed the team’s attitude. As a result, the current Pakistani team is full of self-belief and every time they get on the park, they look like winning regardless of setting targets or chasing.
Wicket-keepers always have a stellar role to play in a team’s fortunes given their strategic value, but Rizwan has transcended that di rigueur role. He has become — in terms of his prowess — virtually half the team. His faith, work ethic, unflinching commitment and endearing humility belies the colossus he has become. And so, for the first time in decades, Pakistani fans are getting accustomed to breathing easy, almost to the point of taking those opening stands for granted. May this sunshine of the spotless mind reign for years!