Wahab Riaz wanting to pay back via Test comeback: The Pakistani fast bowler is ready to come out of Test retirement during England tour.
Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz, who called time on his 27-match Test career last career last year, has expressed readiness to come out of retirement during the forthcoming tour of England.
Riaz, 34, is part of the 29-member Pakistani squad which will travel to England in the first week of July. Pakistan, who are scheduled to play three Tests and as many T20Is, have named a joint squad which will be segregated upon reaching England.
Having made his Test debut in England in 2010, Riaz cemented his Test spot in 2015-16 before sporadic chances changing his mind with respect to cricket’s ancestral format.
“Between 2016 and 2019, I had played only in patches [four Tests]. I played one Test in [against] Sri Lanka and performed well. Next tour, I wasn’t picked and next, I played against Australia [last Test]. During the tour only I had to return. That was a management decision.
A massive congratulations to both @Mushy_online bhai and @YounusK75 bhai for the roles they have been given. Two great servants of Pakistan cricket who have already done so much for the sport in our country 🇵🇰
— Wahab Riaz (@WahabViki) June 9, 2020
“I thought maybe I’m not capable or good enough to play Test match cricket for Pakistan anymore. I took the decision then. Before Misbah [ul-Haq] and Waqar [Younus] joined the management, I had communicated to the management, because I’m not part of the squad, I’ll give up Test cricket and concentrate on my white-ball cricket,” Riaz was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
Wahab Riaz wanting to pay back via Test comeback
Riaz, who last played a Test in October 2018, will make a comeback into the format after almost two years if he gets a chance. Considering the talks around him, there seem to be clear signs of the same happening during the course of the three-match series.
“I got a call from PCB asking if I’ll be available to play Test cricket if required on replacement basis or if the team needs it. And I straight away said yes because my priority is to play for Pakistan,” Riaz revealed his conversation with Pakistan Cricket Board regarding the tour.
The left-arm bowler further opened up on how he was advised to take time off by the selectors rather than retire from Test cricket. Riaz also laid emphasis on his intention of paying back to the country by once again donning the whites.
“To their credit, they told me not to totally retire and take time off. Now because of the time off, I’m getting a chance to come back for Pakistan. I didn’t take any decision in haste. Priority has always been to play and perform for Pakistan.
“Now when I’ve been asked, I didn’t think twice before saying yes. Because that’s an opportunity to represent Pakistan. Pakistan has given us a lot, now it is time to pay back for Pakistan. These are such unusual circumstances, Pakistan needed me and I’m there,” Riaz added.
Riaz, who will be on his sixth tour to England, was also vocal about supporting the youngsters during what won’t be an “easy tour” for them. “As for the youngsters, it’s a great opportunity for them. As a group, we have to support them. It won’t be an easy tour for them, we’ll have to back them.
“Even if they don’t perform, we have to support them because they are the future. I’ve also set an example with a decision, it could even be an example for others that Pakistan is the priority. I can share my experience with the youngsters, I have played a lot of cricket in England,” Riaz further added.
In the five Tests that he has played in England, Riaz has picked 17 wickets at an average of 32.64, an economy rate of 3.90 and a strike rate of 50.1.