Wahab Riaz determined to represent Pakistan in 2019 World Cup in England

Waseem Ahmed 29/08/2018
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Wahab Riaz has not given up hopes on representing Pakistan again.

Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz has not featured for the ODI side since 2017 but the pacer remains determined to force his way back into contention for the 2019 World Cup to be held in England.

The 33-year-old last appeared for the men in green in a Test against Sri Lanka in October last year but has not been picked in any format ever since.

“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,” Wahab said in an interview with Pak Passion.

“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.

“At the moment, being selected for the 2019 World Cup for Pakistan and performing well is my main, and only, priority at this time. 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.”

The pacer has not featured for his country since October, 2017.

The pacer has not featured for his country since October, 2017.

The left-armed pacer has played 26 Tests, 79 ODIs and 27 T20s for Pakistan ever since he made his debut in 2008. However, his long term future with Pakistan remains bleak, especially after coach Mickey Arthur’s comments on him after the pacer was not picked in the 25-man probables for the tour of England and Ireland earlier this summer.

“He (Wahab) has not won us a game in two years. I expect players that have been around for a long time to be winning us games and setting standards,” Arthur had told ESPNCricinfo then.

Wahab though, has not given up hopes on pulling on the Pakistan jersey once again.

“It is my only desire as a professional cricketer and as a Pakistani to continue playing for my country,” he said.

“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.”

Having not been picked in the Pakistan’s squad for the upcoming Asia Cup, the pacer is currently representing the Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

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Sudhir Gupta 29/08/2018
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Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up 3-33 in India A's 124 run win.

India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar completed his return from an injury lay-off with a three-wicket haul against South Africa ‘A’ team on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old has had to undergo a lengthy spell on the sidelines after aggravating a lower-back injury during the third ODI between England and India in July.

In his first competitive match since the injury, the pacer shone in a 124-run win for India A over their South African counterparts in the third-place play-off match of the quadrangular series in Alur.

Bhuvneshwar bowled nine overs on his return and picked up 3-33 with the help of one maiden.

Batting first, India A put up 275-7 on the board in their 50 overs with skipper Shreyas Iyer top-scoring with 67.

In reply, the South Africans were bundled out for just 151 with Deepak Chahar and Mayank Markande picking up two wickets apiece.

That Bhuvneshwar was able to bowl nine overs on his competitive return bodes well for the Indian team management who could be tempted to call up the pacer for the fifth and final Test against England which gets underway on September 7.

Following his injury in the ODI series, Bhuvneshwar was ruled out of the first three Tests though the team management had kept the door open for his return in the final two matches.

The seamer had returned to India to continue his injury rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. However, his progress was not enough to warrant a selection in the squad for the final two Tests which saw young Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari being handed their maiden India call-ups.

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