Islamabad, Express Tribune (November 13): “Mujhe khelna hai. Team ke saath rehna hai” (I want to play and be with the team). These were words of Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan to his doctor, an Indian national, a day before the all-important semi-final clash against Australia.
Prior to the match, there were reports circulating that Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik were both suffering from flu. However, it was later revealed that the wicketkeeper-batsman had been admitted to the ICU days before the game due to a lung problem and severe chest infection.
Rizwan, however, showed great resilience and regained match fitness ahead of the crucial encounter. The Pakistan opener overcame all odds to score 67 off 52 balls in the knockout game the Green Shirts lost to Australia by five wickets.
Rizwan’s recovery also left his doctor astonished who commended the batter’s indomitable spirit and courage as he battled a severe chest infection on an ICU bed.
“Mujhe khelna hai. Team ke saath rehna hai, (I want to play and be with the team),” Rizwan said to his doctors despite being in the ICU.
“Rizwan had a strong desire to play for his nation in the crucial knockout match. He was strong, determined, and confident. I am astonished at the pace he had recovered,” Times of India quoted Specialist Pulmonologist at Medeor Hospital Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen as saying.
The report stated that Rizwan had been suffering from intermittent fever, persistent cough, and chest tightness for 3-5 days before being hospitalised.
Saheer said that the medical team immediately stabilised him and gave him symptomatic medications to ease his pain. “His pain at the time of admission was 10/10. So, we subjected him for a detailed evaluation to diagnose the condition.”
The results confirmed that the player had severe laryngeal infection leading to an esophageal spasm and bronchospasm. It is painful contraction of muscles within the esophagus. “Esophageal spasms can feel like sudden and severe chest pain that lasts for a few minutes to hours,” Saheer added.
According to TOI, the medical team shifted the 29-year-old cricketer to the ICU and monitored his condition continuously. Rizwan had to manage severe pain and other issues induced by the medical condition.
“Rizwan had a severe infection. Recovery and gaining fitness before the semifinal seemed unrealistic. It would have normally taken 5-7 days for anybody to recover,” Saheer added.
However, the cricketer was confident and displayed tremendous willpower. “He seemed very focused and believed in God. His only thoughts were about the semi-final,” the doctor added.
Two nights in the ICU, Rizwan responded well to symptomatic medications and showed significant improvement. The doctor believed various factors might have contributed to his faster recovery.
“Rizwan was firm, courageous, and confident. His physical fitness and endurance level as a sportsman had been key in his recovery. He had been in the ICU for 35 hours” said Saheer.
After being evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, Rizwan was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday around noon.
The team officials were in constant touch with the medical team. “During sporting events, we have seen players coming up with injuries. But this is the first time a player with a severe infection of this scale had recovered so quickly.
“When Rizwan hit the big sixes, we were all happy. The power he has regained after the illness has been amazing. His dedication, commitment, and courage are truly commendable,” Saheer added.
A grateful Rizwan thanked the doctor and the medical team for their support and care. He also gifted a signed jersey to Saheer as a token of gratitude.
Medeor Hospital Dubai is a unit of VPS Healthcare, the group that guards the bio bubble and provides medical services for the ongoing T20 World Cup.
Captain Babar Azam, who made 39 to lead the tournament’s batting chart with 303 runs, also praised his opening partner’s “exceptional” attitude.
“Definitely he’s a team man. The way he played today, it was exceptional,” Babar said.
“When I saw him, he was a little bit down, but when I asked him about his health he said, no, I will play. And the way he played today, he showed that he’s a team man. And I am very confident about his attitude and his performance.”