2019 World Cup: Wahab Riaz itching to prove Mickey Arthur wrong after shock Pakistan recall

Waseem Ahmed 08:49 22/05/2019
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Wahab Riaz was a surprise inclusion in Pakistan's World Cup squad.

Having become a shock inclusion in Pakistan’s squad for the 2019 ICC World Cup in England, pacer Wahab Riaz is now determined to prove coach Mickey Arthur wrong during the global showpiece.

The 33-year-old has not played an ODI for almost two years now with his last appearance coming in June, 2017 and was not expected to be picked for the World Cup after being ignored in the 23-man initial probable squad.

The left-armed pacer’s international career seemed to be fading after Arthur’s scathing comments about him last year with the South African publicly questioning Wahab’s ability to win games for Pakistan.

“He (Wahab) has not won us a game in two years,” Arthur had then told ESPNcricinfo.

“I expect players that have been around for a long time to be winning us games and setting standards. Otherwise we will invest in younger players who have long futures.”

Having earned the most unlikeliest of recalls, Wahab is now hoping to prove Arthur wrong when the 2019 World Cup gets underway later this month.

Wahab last played an ODI  for Pakistan in June, 2017.

Wahab last played an ODI for Pakistan in June, 2017.

“I can’t explain in words the pain I have gone through, but I don’t want to live in the past. That’s history now,” Wahab stated ahead of his departure for England.

“Now it’s about what we are going to do in the World Cup. Obviously, it’s the coach’s duty to get the best results from the players, and he wants players that can win matches for the team.

“I also wanted to be in the team, the only difference is I missed two years of (international) cricket. Now I am in and want to prove him (Arthur) wrong and justify my opportunity.”

Eyebrows were raised over Wahab’s inclusion in the World Cup squad despite the pacer not featuring in Pakistan’s recently concluded ODI series against hosts England. The biggest casualty of Wahab’s recall to the ODI setup was fellow left-armed pacer Junaid Khan who failed to find a place in the final World Cup squad despite being named in the preliminary team.

Junaid had later made his disappointment clear with a cryptic tweet following his World Cup snub and Wahab has empathised with the 29-year-old’s plight.

“Every player wishes to play for Pakistan and the World Cup is the biggest challenge in your career,” said Wahab.

“Obviously, he will be saddened and very frustrated, and must be thinking he had been treated unfairly. But when I was out for two years, I was thinking the same.

“At the end, this is the Pakistan team and its selectors, coaches and captains make the decision. I am sure this wasn’t meant to hurt someone but it’s for the country, and whatever they think is good for Pakistan.”

Wahab had been Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker in the 2015 World Cup edition with 16 scalps in seven games at an average of 23.

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