Sarfaraz official captain, substitute Rizwan actually captains: Social media in splits on Pakistan's captaincy roulette during New Zealand Test
If you have a thing for sporting humour, Pakistan cricket is a gift that continues to give. In their latest shenanigan, Pakistan came out fielding with their left-out wicketkeeper-batter and captaincy deputy Mohammad Rizwan regaining leadership of the side as a substitute on Day 3 of the Karachi Test against New Zealand.
Rizwan was sporadically Pakistan's stand-in skipper after regular captain Babar Azam had to leave the field due to an injury. It made for a funny occurrence, where Pakistan, who didn't appoint a new vice-captain after leaving out their deputy, had to fall on him for leadership after making him their substitute to the original captain.
One would think the drama ended there. But no, Pakistan had to then ask Rizwan to shed stand-in captaincy, too, as the on-field regulations of the game don't allow for a substitute to take over the interim captaincy. It meant that former Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, who is making his return to the Test team after nearly 4 years, got the chance to lead the side again in an amusing sequence of events.
Fans react to Pakistan's funny captaincy shuffle
The Rizwan-Sarfaraz switch only became clear when Pakistan asked for a review to get New Zealand opener Devon Conway dismissed LBW off the bowling of left-arm spinner Nauman Ali. When the standing umpire didn't cater to the Pakistani appeal, Rizwan and Sarfaraz entered into a discussion with the bowler and it was Sarfaraz who did the DRS gesture towards the officiating umpires.
That clarified to the keenly looking fans who exactly is at the helm of affairs after Pakistan didn't help the confusion by appointing a substitute as their captain and then having to revert to an ex-captain, who replaced the substituted individual into the playing XI.
Here is how the fans reacted:
Confusion over who is the actual captain and who is calling the shots. Substitute cannot captain but it looks like Rizwan is having a say on the park. Peak Pakistan cricket! #PAKvNZ— Soorya Sesha (@sooryasesha7) December 28, 2022
Substitute Rizwan leads Pakistan in Babar's absence, with Sarfaraz in charge of reviewshttps://t.co/bF538F4NmT— Tariq Khan (@TariqKh49341133) December 28, 2022
kia koi ya btae ga k is team ground mn chal kia rha hai captain kon hai Rizwan ya sarfaraz? wo babar q ni aya field main ya chal kia rha hai? purny logo k aty he purny kam shur hogy#PAKvNZ— Ahmad bhinder (@AS_bhinder) December 28, 2022
The circus continues. Mohammad Rizwan was leading the side as Captain initially but I guess the management wasn't aware of the law that a substitute fielder cannot lead the side, so now Sarfaraz is calling the shots. Not to miss, Sarfaraz successfully called a review.#NZvsPAK— Anas Naveed (@Anas_Naveed) December 28, 2022
Okay so now Sarfaraz is the official captain and Rizwan is the substitute, talk about Comebacks!— Pranav Nair (@leg_gully) December 28, 2022
Sarfaraz and rizwan both are captaining what a clown this team is.#PAKvNZ— Ankur. (@anand__ankur) December 28, 2022
Babar Azam didn't take the field due to a viral flu, making it necessary for Pakistan to appoint a stand-in captain after failing to appoint one formally before the game. It led to a funny situation wherein Rizwan, who was axed from the team, getting to briefly lead the side as a tactical substitute before handing over the reigns to ex captain Sarfaraz.
Sarfaraz's departure from the helm back in 2019 paved the way for Babar's ascent to the captaincy and gave Rizwan the tag of Pakistan's first-choice keeper across formats.