LAHORE: Days before season six of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) begins, Multan Sultans on Monday announced Mohammad Rizwan as their captain in place of Shan Masood. Rizwan, who is also the national team’s first-choice wicketkeeper and vice-captain, has arguably been the highlight of Pakistan’s cricket this past year, scoring runs all over the world including in bowler-friendly conditions of Australia and New Zealand. He was also the top-scorer in two of the three Twenty20 international matches in the recently concluded series against South Africa and was also named Player of the Series in both Tests and T20Is for his ravishing performances with the bat and gloves. He was part of the Karachi Kings’ squad in last year’s PSL but was kept on the bench for the entirety of the tournament’s fifth edition and could prove to be a costly slip for the defending champions as his heavy striking game has improved considerably over the past year. Commenting on Rizwan’s captaincy, Multan Sultans owner Alamgir Khan Tareen said the wicketkeeper-batsman has shown exemplary leadership qualities with the Pakistan team as well as with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in domestic tournaments. “He is presently one of the very best in the world in his position and we are excited to have him lead our team,” Tareen said in a statement shared by the franchise on Twitter. The owner also expressed his gratitude to former captain Masood for leading the franchise exceptionally well last season and for instilling a winning mentality within the team. Meanwhile, Rizwan said he had understood the innovative approach the franchise applied last season and was looking to leading the team and playing his part. “Multan Sultans would aspire to be even better this season,” he added. “I am grateful to the owner and the head coach for this opportunity, and shall, God willing, repay the franchise for the trust that they’ve shown in me with positive results on the field,” the statement quoted Rizwan as saying. In the PSL draft last month, Rizwan was, at first, not picked in his original category (diamond) until the Sultans snapped him up in a lower category (silver). Rizwan had failed to reach prominence while Sarfaraz Ahmed was Pakistan’s all-format captain. His career made a remarkable turnaround when he announced himself in England last year to win a Player of the Series award in the Test series. His stocks were further elevated after the New Zealand tour where he stood out although Pakistan lost both games. Before the New Zealand tour, Rizwan had impressed in domestic cricket, in the National T20 tournament. He scored four fifties, including an unbeaten 99 against Central Punjab, which helped him finish as the highest run-scorer, while he also impressed behind the stumps. His diving catch against Sindh, in particular, was a major talking point in the tournament. His tournament tally of 389 runs at 38.90 – and a strike rate of 127.96 – led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the 2020 title.