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Wahab Riaz wants to prove Mickey Arthur wrong in World Cup 2019

Pakistan made more than a few changes in the final 15-man squad for the World Cup.

Wahab Riaz
Wahab Riaz of Pakistan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Of all the players who will take part in the ICC World Cup starting May 30, Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz’s story is perhaps the most unique. Almost left forgotten and not even invited to the fitness camp ahead of the selection of Pakistan’s World Cup squad in April, the 33-year-old suddenly found himself back into the centre stage, thanks to the battering Pakistani bowlers received in the recent ODI series in England.

The selectors and team management gave an SoS call to Wahab and Mohammad Amir, another experienced but out-of-form bowler, and they are now set to play in the upcoming World Cup. The comeback of Riaz, who hasn’t played in an ODI since June 2017, has revived the memory of his give-it-all performance in the quarter-final of the 2015 World Cup that Pakistan lost.

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Wahab, who has 102 wickets in ODIs, had a productive outing in the 2015 edition as he grabbed 16 wickets in seven matches with the best of 4 for 45 against Zimbabwe in Brisbane.Wahab, whose last appearance for Pakistan was in a Test against Australia last October, replaced another left-arm pacer Junaid Khan in the squad.

He now has, in fact, got an opportunity to, among others, prove coach Mickey Arthur wrong at the World Cup. The South African-born coach had criticised the bowler’s “work ethic” in April last year and even alleged that the latter had not won Pakistan a game in two years. In his last ODI played against India in the Champions Trophy in 2017, Riaz had gone for 87 runs in less than nine overs and did not play in the final against the same opponents in the final that Pakistan won.

Can’t explain the pain I have gone through

“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. 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,” Wahab Riaz was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Wahab has played in two World Cups picking a total of 24 wickets with the best of 5 for 46 in Mohali in the semi-final of the 2011 edition.

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