Rizwan was recently named Player of the Series in the T20Is against South Africa
Multan Sultans have named wicketkeeper 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 Karachi Kings, PSL 2020 champions, although he featured in only one match last season. In January, he was selected by Multan in the PSL 2021 draft in the silver category and has now been promoted to captain.
“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 new captain, Multan 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, he was originally not picked in his original category (diamond) until Multan snapped him up in a lower category (silver). He had parted ways with Karachi after an unsuccessful stint on the personal front, spending most of his time there on the sidelines and hardly getting a suitable batting number. He was played as a second-choice wicket-keeper batsman and out of 19 innings, he batted only 12 times, slotted between Nos 6 to 8. Last season alone, he featured in only two matches with a high score of 0 not out, although his side went on to win the title.
For the major part of his career thus far, 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 from the New Zealand tour. In the Tests, he was involved stood out with his prominent contributions 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 also impressing 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 – the highest among the top five run-getters at a strike rate of 127.96 – led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the 2020 title.
However, he has not been a regular in his PSL teams, playing only 23 matches since his tournament debut in 2016. Multan is his third PSL franchise following stints with Karachi (2018-2020) and Lahore Qalandars (2016-17). Most recently, Rizwan earned his maiden Test hundred against South Africa and in the T20I series that followed, he struck his maiden T20I series, finishing as the highest run-scorer while also collecting the Player-of-the-Series award.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent