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'I Did Not Say...' - Rizwan Makes U-Turn On 'Opening With Babar Azam' Comments

Rizwan-Babar's combination has worked well for Pakistan in T20Is. (X.com)Rizwan-Babar's combination has worked well for Pakistan in T20Is. (X.com)

Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan has clarified his previous remarks regarding the management's decision to break his opening partnership with Babar Azam. The right-handed batter explained that his earlier comments were not expressing disappointment at being separated as an opening pair, but rather reflecting on the sentiment of losing the series.

During Pakistan's tour to New Zealand earlier this year, the Shaheen Shah Afridi-led Pakistan team experimented with a new opening partnership of Mohammad Rizwan and Saim Ayub, moving Babar from his usual opening spot to number three. Babar scored three half-centuries in the five-match series, but the trial proved unsuccessful as the openers, Saim and Rizwan, struggled to make an impact at the top. 

After the completion of the series, Rizwan mentioned that Babar was his best opening partner. However, there was no issue with the team management trying out new combinations.

And now, Rizwan has taken a U-turn on his earlier remark and revealed that he had misunderstood the question at the time and clarified (in an interview with CricketPakistan): 

"I was asked that if splitting my opening pair with Babar hurt Pakistan. Maybe I didn’t understand the question at that time, but I said it hurt Pakistan in the context that Pakistan had lost four matches. I did not say that it hurt Pakistan because we were split as an opening pair. We understand what is best for Pakistan and who determines the best? The coach can see, the captain can see."

Recently, Babar Azam voiced his dissatisfaction with the decision to split him from Rizwan during the team's recent tour of New Zealand.

While Babar and Rizwan have proven themselves at the top, Saim is an exciting talent who can also contribute with the ball. Given his all-round ability, he's likely to be selected for the T20 World Cup 2024. With all three players performing well, it will be interesting to see who will open for the Men in Green in the upcoming T20 World Cup in June.

The picture regarding the opening slot will be clarified when Pakistan hosts New Zealand for a five-match T20I series starting on April 18.