In fact, Rizwan as well as Pakistan captain Babar Azam and fast bowler Shaheen Afridi expressed their appreciation towards Indian fans through social media posts over the rousing reception they were given after arriving in India.
Speaking after scoring 103 off 94 balls in the warm-up match against New Zealand at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday, September 29, he commented, "People at the airport gave us a lot of love. We got same love that we get in Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar.”
Pakistan are in India for the first time since 2016 when the T20 World Cup was held in the country.
Rizwan’s knock featured nine four and two sixes as Pakistan posted 345/5 in their 50 overs. Apart from the keeper-batter, skipper Babar Azam contributed 80 off 84 balls, while Saud Shakeel clobbered 75 off 53 balls with the aid of five fours and four sixes. Agha Salman also played a nice cameo of 33 not out in 23 balls.
Reflecting on his knock, Rizwan commented, "A hundred is a hundred in any condition. I feel proud and satisfied. I am happy in this batting position. Sometimes it's difficult when the ball is gripping but we should be able to handle pressure.”
He also praised Shakeel for his excellent counter-attacking innings and added, “Saud Shakeel has been in great form. Hopefully, he continues to perform like this in ODIs. Basically, Babar and my batting is same because we always try to rotate the strike. Our communication is good and that is the reason for our success.”
Despite some excellent batting performances, Pakistan lost the warm-up match as New Zealand chased down 346 in 43.4 overs. Rachin Ravindra scored 97 off 72, while Kane Williamson (54 off 50), Daryl Mitchell (59 off 57) and Mark Chapman (65 off 41) contributed impressive half-centuries.
Pakistan’s next warm-up match will be against Australia in Hyderabad on October 3. They will begin their campaign in the main event with a match against Netherlands on October 6 followed by a clash against Sri Lanka on October 10. The marquee India-Pakistan match will be played in Ahmedabad on October 14.
--By A Cricket Correspondent