Veteran left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz has decided to withdrawal from upcoming Quaid e Azam Trophy and taken an indefinite break from ‘red-ball cricket’. There have been persistent rumours about his impending test retirement post World Cup. However, the announcement leaves room for a comeback.
“After reviewing my past couple of years’ performances in red-ball cricket and the upcoming limited-overs cricket, I have decided to take time off from first-class cricket. During this period, I will like to focus on 50-over and 20-over cricket and continue to access my fitness for the longer version of the game. At a stage I feel I cannot only return but also perform with the red-ball, I would make myself available, Wahab said.
Riaz is the second Pakistan pacer to shift focus on white-ball cricket post World Cup. Mohammad Amir in July had announced in retirement and faced censured from the cricketing fraternity. There also have been reports that Amir might take back him test retirement. On the other hand, PCB also tried to persuade Wahab Riaz to play the longest format, however, it eventually did not make much of a difference. “The PCB had been trying to convince me to pursue my career with red-ball, but today I met them to convey my decision. I am grateful for their understanding and support,” Wahab said.
It will be interesting to see how the new Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younus views this decision. The former great has been an advocate of Wahab, and many of his memorable performances did come under Waqar’s coaching tenure. Pakistan is slated to play two test matches each against Sri Lanka (home) and Australia (away) in the next few months.