T20 World Cup: Indian doctor who treated Pakistan batsman Rizwan says his comeback was a miracle

Top Stories

Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan (right) in the hospital. (Left) Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen, who treated Rizwan, holds the signed jersey. — Supplied photo
Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan (right) in the hospital. (Left) Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen, who treated Rizwan, holds the signed jersey. — Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi - The wicketkeeper, who had a severe chest infection and spent two nights in the ICU, recovered and top-scored in the semifinal against Australia


Ashwani Kumar

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 6:47 PM

Last updated: Sat 13 Nov 2021, 12:06 PM

The Indian doctor, who treated Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan in the ICU, is astonished at the quick recovery made by the seriously ailing but gritty wicketkeeper-batsman, to be match-fit for the ICC T20 World Cup semis against Australia.

Mujhe khelna hain. Team ke saath rehna hain” (I want to play. I want to be with the team), Mohammad Rizwan used to tell doctors, who treated him in the ICU. The Pakistani opener, who smashed a fifty (52-ball 67) and top-scored to steer Pakistan to 176 against Australia in the semis, had joined the team after fighting a severe chest infection and more than 30 hours 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,” said Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen, specialist pulmonologist at Medeor Hospital, Dubai, who treated the cricketer.

On November 9 at 12.30 am, Rizwan landed at the emergency department of the hospital with severe retrosternal chest pain mimicking cardiac pain and breathing difficulty. He had been suffering from intermittent fever, persistent cough and chest tightness for three-five days by then.

The medical team stabilised him and gave him symptomatic medications to ease his pain.

“His pain score at the time of admission was 10/10 (worst pain). So, we subjected him for a detailed evaluation to diagnose the condition,” Dr Sainalabdeen said.

The results confirmed that the player had severe laryngeal infection leading to an esophageal spasm and bronchospasm. It is a painful contraction of muscles within the esophagus.

Talking about the condition, he said: “Esophageal spasms can feel like sudden and severe chest pain that lasts for a few minutes to hours.”

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 five-seven seven days for anybody to recover,” maintained Dr Sainalabdeen.

However, the cricketer was confident and displayed tremendous willpower.

“He seemed very focused and believed in God. His only thoughts were about the semifinal.”


Two nights in the ICU, Rizwan responded well to symptomatic medications and showed significant improvement. His pain score had come to 2/10. 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,” the doctor explained.

After being evaluated by a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, Rizwan was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday around noon.

The recovery made everybody happy. 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,” said Dr Sainalabdeen.

A grateful Rizwan thanked the doctor and the medical team for their support and care. He also gifted a signed jersey to Dr Sainalabdeen 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.


More news from