ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 : Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz ‘excited’ to prove to critics

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Lahore, May 22 Left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz, who has been named in the Pakistan squad for the upcoming World Cup, is raring to go and prove coach Mickey Arthur wrong in the showpiece event beginning May 30 in England and Wales.

Wahab’s last ODI was in the Champions Trophy 2017 against India in Birmingham, while he last represented Pakistan in the Dubai Test against Australia in October 2018.

Back in April 2018, Arthur had criticised Wahab’s “work ethic” and brought up the fact that he had not “won us a game in two years”.

“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,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Wahab as saying at a press conference before leaving for England on Tuesday.

“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,” he added.

The left-arm pacer has taken 102 wickets in 79 ODIs, including 24 wickets in 12 World Cup matches in 2011 and 2015.

Wahab said he even had dreams about meeting skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad and Arthur.

“I kept myself fully prepared for this World Cup even knowing that I am nowhere near the team. I even had dreams I was meeting Mickey Arthur and Sarfaraz Ahmad, and sometimes they would pick me, and reject me at other times,” said Wahab.

“Around 10 days ago, I had a dream that Inzi bhai (Inzamam-ul-Haq, the chief selector) gave me a call and told me that I have been selected and this is my last chance. It was exactly how it happened when I was called and told about the decision. It is nothing less than make or break for a player who gets an opportunity to play in the World Cup,” he added.

Talking about his game plan for the showpiece event, the 33-year-old said he will try to keep it simple on batting-friendly wickets in England.

“It is important to keep things simple on batting wickets. Variations and reverse swing are key in the death overs. With the conditions dry and wickets hard in England, there will be reverse swing and the team that does it better will have the advantage. I have expertise in reverse swing so I will try to restrict the flow of runs in the final few overs,” he said.

Along with Wahab, Pakistan have included Mohammad Amir in order to strengthen their bowling attack which seemed to be in total disarray in their recent drubbing against England in the five-match ODI series.

Pakistan will begin their World Cup campaign against the West Indies on May 31.

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