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

Waseem Ahmed 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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India skipper Virat Kohli prepared for most challenging World Cup campaign of his career

Sudhir Gupta 22/05/2019
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Kohli is set to embark on his third 50-over World Cup campaign for India.

India skipper Virat Kohli believes that the upcoming edition of the 50-over World Cup in England will be the most challenging one of his 11-year international career so far.

Set to embark on his third World Cup campaign, the India captain feels that the change in format for the 2019 edition will present a difficult challenge for all of the 10 participating teams.

The 2019 World Cup sees the 10 teams play each other once in a round-robin group-stage before the top four sides move on to the semi-finals. India have a tough start to their campaign with their first four opponents being South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and arch-rivals Pakistan but Kohli believes facing the top sides early on will hold the team in good stead.

“It is probably the most challenging World Cup of all the three that I have been part of because of the format and looking at the strength of the all the sides as well,” Kohli stated ahead of the team’s departure for England on Tuesday.

“If we live up to our skill sets and our standards that we set for ourselves, we’ll be on the right side of the result more often. That is going to be key. Every game you have to play to the best of your potential because it’s not a group stage anymore, it’s playing everyone once.

Kohli is confident of India's chances of landing a third WC title.

Kohli is confident of India’s chances of landing a third WC title.

“The best thing is that we’ll have four tough games straight up and that will set the tone nicely for us. Everyone has to be at their best intensity from the first match onwards and we don’t have any room for complacency.”

Having won the competition previously on home soil in 2011, Kohli feels that handling pressure in England will be key if India are to clinch a third World Cup title.

“A team that does well at the World Cup is a team that can handle pressure well and secondly try and be as normal as possible. Looking at the magnitude of those games, the team that stays more focused and more balanced can go on to win the tournament,” the 30-year-old said.

India will play two warm-up games in England before starting their 2019 World Cup campaign with the first of them coming against New Zealand on May 25. They will then take on Bangladesh three days later before locking horns with South Africa in their World Cup campaign opener on June 5.

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England v Pakistan fourth ODI LIVE: Jos Buttler captains hosts who look to wrap up series

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England and Pakistan lock horns once again in the fourth ODI of the five-match series at Nottingham on Friday.

The hosts hold a 2-0 lead in the series and are led into this encounter by Jos Buttler after Eoin Morgan was suspended for two games and fined 40 per cent of his match fee for a slow over rate in the third ODI.

Having won the toss, England elected to field at Trent Bridge.

Follow our live ball-by-ball updates below …

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