ISLAMABAD: At the moment, being selected for the 2019 World Cup for Pakistan and performing well is my main and only priority, Left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz has said. It has been over a year since left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz last played an ODI for Pakistan. A dip in form and the emergence of new crop of fast bowlers has pushed him off the radar.
Currently, he is plying his trade in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and more recently, he represented Derbyshire in the Vitality T20 Blast in England. He may have fallen out of favour in national selection but continues to be in high demands across T20 leagues. And through his performances in such tournaments, Riaz is hoping to catch the eye of national selectors again with the ultimate aim to play in the ICC World Cup 2019 in England.
“It’s never easy to try and find a permanent place in a strong team like Pakistan which is doing so well at the moment,” Riaz said. “This is especially true when you are talking about Pakistan’s very effective bowling line-up but I know that I made my debut for Pakistan when our bowling was very strong and it happened due to my hard work. I was able to convince the selection committee then and I believe I can do it again,” Cricket Country News reported.
“There is also the 2020 World T20 on the horizon but I am firmly focused on playing in the 2019 World Cup at the moment,”he said. “It is my only desire as a professional cricketer and as a Pakistani to continue playing for my country. Playing for your country gives one great satisfaction. Moreover, being selected to play for a strong team like Pakistan means that you have to be one of the best fast-bowlers in the world, so it’s a matter of honour and pride to see your name on the Pakistan team list and something I will never give up on. I am 33 but my fitness and ambition has never been stronger. I used to think that the fascination of playing for Pakistan would fade with time. But, if anything, my passion to represent Pakistan has only grown and become stronger than ever before,” Wahab said.
Wahab Riaz’s next goal will be to continue putting in excellent performances for his CPL team, Barbados Tridents. This is a challenge he has accepted with enthusiasm and gusto as participation in such tournaments is something he considers crucial for any cricketer’s development, “T20 tournaments such as the Vitality T20 Blast and CPL keep me focused on, and busy with cricket. Every time I play for another team or franchise, I learn more about myself and what others are doing, and it’s also a great opportunity to make new friends. Being on the field is important to me as that experience gets me closer to doing what I live my life for, which is to play for Pakistan,” he concluded.