Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter and T20 World Cup star signs for Sussex
Sussex Cricket have announced the signing of Pakistani wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan for the majority of the 2022 season.
Rizwan will join Sussex following Australia’s tour of Pakistan that concludes in early April. He will then be available in both Championship and T20 cricket until the end of the Vitality Blast in mid-July.
As well as being regarded as one of the most accomplished ‘keepers in the world, the 29-year-old from Peshawar also has a formidable batting record in all formats.
In first-class cricket, Rizwan averages over 43 with the bat, including nearly 1,000 runs in 19 Test matches at an average of over 42.
He enjoyed significant success in English conditions during Pakistan’s three-match Test series in 2020, averaging over 40, being named Pakistan’s player of the series and being described by Nasser Hussain as “the best for a long, long time” when it came to touring wicketkeepers.
In 54 T20Is, Mohammad averages a stunning 50.06 with the bat at a strike-rate of 126.6. He has enjoyed a stellar 2021, becoming the first batter to score over a thousand T20I runs in a calendar year and surpassed Chris Gayle’s six-year-old record for the most T20 runs scored in a calendar year.
He was also the third highest run-scorer in the recent ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, scoring 281 runs in six innings as Pakistan made it to the semi-finals, and is now ranked by the ICC as the world’s fourth best batter in men’s T20Is.
Rizwan was full of positivity after signing for Sussex, sending this message to the club’s supporters.
He said: "Dear Sussex Family, assalamu alaikum. I am absolutely honoured and excited to be a part of the historic Sussex County Cricket Club for the 2022 season.
"I have always heard great things about the Sussex community and this family club was always close to my heart.
"In my heart, I know our young team has the potential to beat any team. Our strength lies in our hard work, honesty, deep commitment, and self-belief: we can win, we will win, and we will play like champions, no matter what! In shaa Allah, I look forward to a great season.”
Ian Salisbury, Sussex’s Championship and One-Day head coach, said: "I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really disappointed to learn we’d be losing a player of Ben Brown’s quality. Now that has happened, though, we have to look forward and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to act quickly over the last week or so to secure the services of one of the world’s best keeper-batters as a replacement.
"Mohammad’s first-class and Test records speak for themselves and it’s a huge coup to welcome him to Sussex for a big chunk of next season’s Championship. As well as his playing credentials, it’s clear from speaking to people like Mushy [Mushtaq Ahmed] and Saqlain [Mushtaq] that Mohammad will also be a wonderful addition to the dressing room.
"He and Travis [Head] are exactly the kind of experienced, international cricketers that our emerging lads can learn a huge amount from. Oli [Carter] has mentioned in the past how Mohammad is a big hero of his, so he is particularly excited. We all are, to be honest. It’s fantastic news and we can now get on with preparations for next summer with key positions filled.”
James Kirtley, Sussex’s T20 head coach, added: "Sussex are incredibly lucky to secure the services of Mohammad Rizwan. There is only a select number of players that have scored centuries in all three formats.
"On top of this, he averages around 40 in all formats at an impressive strike rate. Couple this with his ability to keep wicket and he is one of the most exciting cricketers in the world.
"He will be an excellent replacement at the top of the order and with the gloves in our Blast team and I am extremely pleased to be filling that gap with an international player of his calibre.
"As important as his performances are on the pitch, we needed to be sure Mohammad would be right for our environment. During our extensive research there was resounding support from those that know him.
"He is a natural leader and a player who will inspire. I am very much looking forward to welcoming him to Sussex as the latest in a long line of successful cricketers that have played for Pakistan and Sussex."