Rizwan confident as wounded Pakistan face West Indies in the final Test tomorrow

By our correspondent

KINGSTON: Pakistan’s wicket-keeper batsman and Test team vice-captain Mohammad Rizwan hopes that the visitors will stage a comeback and level the series against West Indies.

“Yes, if you see the first Test it was our aim to win the series but result was in God’s hands. The boys put in their best but we were unlucky not to achieve the desired results,” Rizwan told a virtual news conference on the eve of the second and final Test against West Indies here at Kingston.

“We made lapses in fielding but no one saw that at any stage we let ourselves down. Yes next game is very important for us. Thanks God we have won T20 series and InshaAllah we will equalise the Test series as well,” Rizwan said.

The second and final Test of the two-match Test series between Pakistan and West Indies will begin here at Kingston on Friday (tomorrow). In the first Test here West Indies beat Pakistan by just one wicket after a thrilling finish.

Rizwan said that it was just the start of the ICC Test Championship, adding, the beginning was not good but the end would be fine. “Yes, it was the first match of the Test Championship. If you see you come across rarely such a fantastic game when a Test match turns into an ODI or T20 mode. Our boys have put in their best and it does not matter how you start but it matters the most how you finish,” Rizwan said. “Last time, yes, we were not in good position in the Test Championship but this time we have set a goal for the event and we are yet to play 12 more matches as it was our first game. I am hopeful that Pakistan would be in a good position at the end of the Test Championship,” Rizwan hoped.

Asked whether key players have demanded taking some rest by skipping the three-match One-day series against Afghanistan Rizwan said yes it was so.

“Yes, the rest is necessary as we have been playing successively for the last one year or so and that too in the covid situation and in the bubble. The key event of T20 World Cup is ahead and that is why our main players want to take rest mentally and physically ahead of the main event and the home series against New Zealand. At the same time it will be a good opportunity for those on the bench to showcase their talent,” Rizwan said.

Pakistan will meet Afghanistan in the three-match One-day Series to be held in Hambantota in Sri Lanka from September 3-9. There will be a three-day quarantine before the series. Despite the taking over of Afghanistan by the Taliban Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) have confirmed that their series against Pakistan would be held as per schedule. The series is also a part of the qualification for the 2023 One-day World Cup.

“Taliban love cricket and they are supporting their team. Our ODI series against Pakistan will go as per schedule in Sri Lanka,” ACB CEO Hamid Shinwari has said in a statement.

Rizwan agreed that during offshore Test series Pakistan lost some close games, adding, there have been some fielding issues which will be overcome.

“Yes I agree that on foreign soil some matches slip off our hands. Besides in Manchester we had gone deep in the two Test matches against New Zealand. We are trying to get ourselves back on track. Our Test team is well-gelled. We face issues in our fielding and our result demands more effort on our part but I am hopeful, we will, with our hectic effort, remove the deficiencies and come back stronger,” Rizwan said.

Rizwan said that openers need to be backed.

“I don’t think the openers have failed completely. I think we get a two-match Test series unlike others who get a three or even five-match Test series. It is not easy to settle quickly when you change your team. Yes our openers did not play the way team demanded from them but you must know that in Test cricket openers’ role is also to see off new ball. And you also need to look at the low scoring game,” he said.

Rizwan said that he always loves to play in pressure situation. “I always love to play in pressure situation. You will also see some long innings on my part. It is not the case that we scored 200 and the other team scored 400. Sometimes in low-scoring game you have to see which player plays his part,” he said.

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