A detailed profile of a promising young batsman who was selected by Islamabad United for the fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League and has impressed onlookers with his wide range of stroke-play in the 2018/19 edition of the National T20 Cup.
By Amir Husain (19th December, 2018)
Full name: Rizwan Hussain
Born: April 28, 1996, Pir Mahal in Toba Tek Singh
Major teams: Lahore Whites, Lahore Blues, State Bank of Pakistan, Islamabad United
Batting style: Left-hand bat
Height : 6ft 1in
Interest in Cricket
Like many other youngsters, I started playing tape-ball cricket around my home in Pir Mahal and then progressed to hard-ball cricket when I began playing for my school. My teachers in the school saw my talent and recommended to my family that I be sent to a bigger city like Lahore to play club cricket there and pursue the game at a higher level. My family agreed to this move and for that, I am forever indebted to my parents and my siblings for their constant encouragement and support. I would like to mention my elder brother Kamran Sabir for his guidance throughout my career and his invaluable help. With all this support, I was able to start playing club cricket in Lahore in 2012 for the P&T Gymkhana Cricket Club.
Playing district and regional level Under-19 cricket in 2014/15
I did not have the luxury of participating in Under-16 level cricket and so based on my club performances I moved straight to the Under-19 level where in the two-day Inter-District Under-19 Tournament in 2014, I played 5 matches and scored 305 runs which included a hundred and two fifties for my team, Lahore West Zone Whites Under-19s. I did not have satisfactory performances in the following Inter-Regions Under-19s One-Day Tournament 2014/15 and the three-day Inter-Regions Under-19s Tournament 2014/15. So, 2014/15 were my first years of playing real competitive cricket but I could not perform as well as I wanted to. In the years that I was eligible to play for Pakistan Under-19s, I could not perform that well so that is one aspect of my career which is a little disappointing.
Success at the Inter-District senior level and in Grade II tournaments
I was not offered a chance to play first-class cricket by Lahore in 2015/16 so I busied myself with trying to improve my game and putting all disappointments behind me and my hard-work paid off. In my debut game in the three-day Inter-District Senior Tournament 2015, I scored a hundred, and in the four matches I played in this competition, I scored 291 runs for Lahore West Zone Whites. In the following year, I again performed well in this tournament, making 269 runs in just two matches. Shortly after that, I also played in the three-day Patron's Trophy (Grade II) 2016/17 tournament where in 6 matches, I amassed 632 runs with 1 hundred and 5 fifties and was top-scorer in the tournament.
Hundred on first-class debut for Lahore Whites in 2016/17This was a like a dream come true for me and it seems that the Almighty rewarded me for my hard-work when I finally got to debut in first-class cricket. Not only did I finally play at the highest-level domestic competition in Pakistan, I also scored a hundred on my debut. This innings was greatly appreciated by all my seniors and what really pleased me was that this innings was played against a team which boasted some of Pakistan’s top bowlers such as Mohammad Abbas and Sadaf Hussain. I got to play 3 matches in total in that season and scored 212 runs which for a first season was a satisfactory result.Further success in first-class and Grade II level cricketIt’s been a great few years for me in both first-class and Grade II level cricket in 2017/18 where in the three-day Patron's Trophy (Grade II) 2017/18 tournament, I played 6 matches in which I scored 416 runs with 1 hundred and 2 fifties for State Bank of Pakistan. During this time, I also took part in the Pakistan Cup One-Day tournament where in 2 matches I had 75 runs which included one fifty, for my side Balochistan. In the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2017/18, I continued to show my skills with 497 runs in 8 matches to become the top scorer for my side, Lahore Whites. Here, I hit one hundred and 4 fifties and really demonstrated my suitability for the longer format of the game, which is something I would like to play for Pakistan as well in the future. The recently concluded Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2018/19 saw me play another 8 matches, scoring 421 runs with 3 fifties for Lahore Blues.Role model and batting style The only player I admire and want to emulate is the former Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara. I have watched his videos and noted how he practices and have studied his batting style in great detail. However, I have also been told that my batting style is very similar to Sharjeel Khan as well which is a great compliment for me and especially now that I have been picked for Islamabad United, I hope I will get a chance to play and perform like Sharjeel. In terms of shots that I prefer to play, I love to drive the fast-bowlers and to take on spinners and hit them straight. Whenever I bat, I always plan to allow myself time to settle in and then go for my shots as needed by the team which is what I did recently during the National T20 Cup when I hit 72 against Islamabad for my team Lahore Blues.Selection for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League (PSL)My selection for the PSL came out of the blue and frankly I wasn’t expecting it all, but I am indebted to the Islamabad United management for giving me an opportunity to be part of their PSL squad for the 2019 season. Playing in this tournament is every young cricketer’s dream as it gives so much exposure and can open many doors for you in terms of your career development. I am also really looking forward to working with some of the top Twenty20 players such as Luke Ronchi so that I can learn and improve my game at the PSL.Future aspirationsA chance to play for Pakistan is what any young cricketer wants, and I am no different. I feel that I have the skills to play in all formats of the game but I would specially love to play Test cricket for my country.