Cricket fans and followers witnessed something unusual on the third day of the first Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand. With news coming in that Pakistan captain Babar Azam will not take the field due to flu, Mohammad Rizwan came onto the field as a substitute fielder. Rizwan was dropped for the match and former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was included as the wicket-keeper.
But soon it became clear that in Babar’s absence it was Rizwan who was leading the charge in the field as he kept moving fielders and acted as the captain. The MCC rules for cricket clearly state that a substitute cannot act as captain. Rule 24.1. 2 mentions “A substitute shall not bowl or act as captain but may act as wicket-keeper only with the consent of the umpires.”
Now, it was unclear whether Pakistan knowingly flouted this rule or was completely unaware of it, but the point was raised by many on social media and it soon became a hot potato.
But later in the day, Pakistan opted for a review of Devon Conway off the bowling of Nauman Ali and it was Sarfaraz who took the call to opt for DRS. But videos of the incident clearly show that Sarfaraz consulted Rizwan before going for the review.
The Pakistan team management later clarified that it was Sarfaraz who was the stand-in captain and not Rizwan. But the actions of the two men on the ground didn’t really convey the same story.
New Zealand is in a solid position in their response to Pakistan’s first innings total of 438. Openers Tom Latham (113) and Conway (92) have laid a strong foundation for the middle order to build on.